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Discussion Starter #1
I just published this article today. I am curious to know, what are you "feeding" your dog in the agility/flyball/rally/obedience or whatever ring? This is a topic that is brushed upon but rarely fully fleshed out when it comes to dog sports.

Is What You Are Feeding in the Agility Ring Hurting Your Team?

What I am trying to feed my dogs is listed in the article, but I'm most interested in what you think your dog needs emotionally from you.
 
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Wow, really loved this article! Food for thought, for sure.

I currently run three dogs. Well, to be more accurate, I trial with two and have one in training. Muttilda is my very first agility dog and I originally got into the sport with her as a confidence builder. I didn't really plan to trail at all, but as she progressed in her training, my timid, insecure little dog started to show some great focus and athletic ability. We are now running Masters in AKC. In training Muttilda is very excited about agility and will work through sequences with speed and accuracy. What she needs from me in practice is clear handling, and approval. She is VERY sensitive to criticism, and it took me a while to figure out that using any kind of negative marker really damps her spirit. In trials she still struggles with confidence, but she does best when we stay calm and business-like with very clear cues, me being careful not to make a mistake and get in her space, and with calm encouragement throughout the run. Too much energy shuts her down, even if it's happy energy.
My second dog, Rudy, is more confident by nature. He is not super motivated, and has to be "in the mood" to give me a good run. With him I have to cheerlead a lot, so needs more upbeat energy and verbal praise from me. Running him is sometimes exhausting, because I have to feed him so much energy! We are also running Master level.
BookIt is my 12 month old smooth BC puppy. He is a completely different ballgame. He is your typical border collie in his desire to work. He has great focus already and SO MUCH drive! It is very different running him, as I have to consciously tone down my body language (I'm so used to cheerleading). He is also so much more independent, works happily from a distance and really just wants me to tell him where to go next. He'll take care of the rest. He just needs me to be clear and focused. And fast....it's going to be a huge learning curve for me to run him once we start trailing...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Going from moderate or slower paced dogs to fast paced dogs is a huge learning curve, but I'm sure you are up to the challenge!!

Thanks for your input. As this article is a "living document," I am considering doing a minor rewrite and adding in a fourth emotion category of "approval." I'm hearing a lot of people say their dogs need approval of some sport, and it really doesn't quite fall into Peaceful, Happy or Energy.

It's fun to hear everyone (here, on FB and on the article itself) thinking about what emotions their dogs need on course. It's been a fun day reading about everyone's teams!!
 

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Your article is truly refreshing!! It’s a MUST read for all agility trainers!
Funny story:
One of my dogs isn't into agility AT ALL! We went to an introduction class and it was so funny; me trying to motivate my dog, trainers trying to.. And my dog looking back at me: "I'm not doing this woman! You crazy?!"
She is an easy going Greek stray dog, she takes naps in the sun and slow walks in the yard!
Love xx
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Schnauzergirl - Thank you, and good luck with your agility journey!!

desmetval - No doubt. Agility isn't for all dogs. Your dog sounds like a very calm, peaceful spirit. I'm glad you liked the article.
 
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