January 13, 2022

Episode 298: Managing Your Dog During Class

In this episode (25:28)

In this episode, Jennifer, Sarah, and Esteban discuss the evolution of how people manage their dogs during classes—when it’s NOT their turn.

You Will Learn

  • Different strategies for managing your dog, including a leash, cot/bed, or crate.
  • Pros and cons of each strategy.
  • What the BDA team prefers to use when training alone vs in a class or seminar.


(upbeat music) - Welcome to Bad Dog Agility, A podcast helping you reach all of your dog agility goals. Whether it's competing under the bright lights of the televised finals at Westminster, or successfully navigating a homemade course in your own backyard. We'll bring you training tips, interviews, and news about the great sport of dog agility. Are you ready? - I'm ready. - I'm ready. - I'm ready. - The

show starts with your hosts, Jennifer, Esteban and Sarah. (upbeat music) - I'm Jennifer. - I'm Esteban - And I'm Sarah. And this is episode 298. Today's podcast is brought to you by hititboard.com and the new teeter TeachIt, an easy to use tool that controls the amount of tip on your teeter, so you can introduce motion to your dog in a gradual way. Go to hitit.com for the new

teeter TeachIt and other training tools and toys. Use discount code VBA10 to get 10% off your order. That's hititboard.com. - Today, we're going to talk about what we do with our dogs, or what you guys do with your dogs in between sequences in a class setting, or in between sequences in a private lesson, or even just when you're training on your own. So I'm gonna ask you guys

the question first, before I tell you what I do with my dogs, but you're out training, maybe the two of you are out training together. You're taking turns on a sequence. What do you do when it's not your turn with your dogs? Sarah, you go first. - All right, I will say pretty much 100%, the dog is in a crate. So we do have our crate when we

go to a class, or if we go to a seminar, we bring our crate, we set it up. It's just a space for the dog to be able to relax. There's nothing that the dog is responsible for doing other than being kind of chill, which is something that we have to work on with some of our dogs, but no behavior that they have to do. And it's their

time to be able to just to relax mentally and physically. And then even when we're at home, we don't always put them in a crate at home, but we will put them in like the dog room, which has a door to the backyard. So basically, you know, you'd take one dog out of the house, you know, do the sequence, and then put that dog back in the house

and get a different dog and run the sequence. So that is our routine. - Okay. Now I assume because you guys are probably training together, that Esteban your answer will be similar, but I'll ask you anyway, what do you do when you're in between your turns? - Yeah, that's such an interesting question because I also think back to the past, and it used to be back in the

day that we definitely did not bring crates in, right? You bring your dog in on a leash, and then if your dog is not actively working, right? It's not their turn, they're just on the leash. and they're kind of just sitting there next to you, right? And you're like trying to entertain them or stop them from eating duct tape off the ground. That's a Rottweiler joke. I think,

as we went along, eventually we hit a point where we're just like, just crate all the dogs. Right. But I do recall like on course night week, so we used to train at a place where every other week, you know, one week would be exercises and drills and then the following week you'd do a course. And that would have a walkthrough component, right? So while we're walking, you'd

have like seven or eight people and all their dogs would be in downstate. Right. And there'd always be like the one, two or three people where their dyes are not that good. And you look away and then halfway through the walk you look up and then they're all downing, but they're all like in the ring now, you know, they're downing over there because they left their areas and

all the "good dogs" are still down where their owner originally left them. You'd have them in kind of long stays, but I think that kind of fell out of fashion because, you know, there's always this risk obviously of dog to dog conflict, right? There's the annoyance of having your watch interrupted, having your personal distraction as the handler, having a distraction happen, right? Like how can you focus on

walking the course properly when you always constantly have to look over at your dog? Right. And if they're going to be getting up and then you gotta put them back and then you're like, oh, okay, walk through is done. And now you guys got to get ready, so I think the crate really makes things easier and then you don't have to think about it. And so I really

liked that, especially, I think when we have the Rottweiler. So the Rottweiler would work in this group with like very high, dry Border Collies and a German shepherd like the best German shepherd of that time, all working line dogs. Like these are big, strong, not aggressive dogs, but like they could be territorial, even though they all knew each other, you know, it's just I think there's some like

safety there with the crates. And now I'm trying to think of like unintended consequences, but I kind of feel like Jennifer's leading us down a path. So I've not explored that quite just yet. So I'm gonna say that, I'm gonna say that there's a time we started with our first dogs and we did not use a crate. And then you started to use it a little bit and

then it just reached a point where it somehow became, I think, acceptable across agility to use mostly a crate for your dog. And I think that's where we're at. Like pretty much everywhere we go, we make sure that we have a crate and we can keep them apart from other dogs, mostly cause I don't trust other dogs. - Yeah. I was gonna say it only takes one dog

to cause a problem and you don't have control over any of them except for, you know, ideally yours, if you have control over your dog. So I think, yeah, I think it's as much for protecting our dogs from other dogs as it is vice versa. - I know for me, the situation affects what means I do with my dog between runs. So if I'm out training at my

building and I'm just training with Abby or I'm even training alone, I will send them over to a station or a cot, but that might be different than like a seminar where I'm going and I'm one of 10 and the breaks are longer. And maybe I'm at a facility with more dogs and people in less comfortable, I tend to put them in a crate. But the reason I

asked the question is actually because of a funny situation that happened recently at my facility here in Ohio. So we have 31 classes a week and we've talked on past podcasts how classes will have tendencies. You know, you kind of develop the trends of those around you. Well, my Tuesday morning classes all bring crates, right? So they come on in, they bring their crate in almost every single

person brings their dog in with a crate. Now, I will say that many of the people in those classes are doing back-to-back classes, so they're bringing in two dogs. So, of course, they're gonna have a crate, but I was recently down at the building. I had to stop in and drop something else, something off a couple of times last week. And I walk in and nobody had a

crate. Like everybody was just standing there with their dog on the end of a leash. And it like struck me as soon as I went in and I thought to myself, well, I guess the crate procedure isn't a standard thing. It's not something that we even tell the students that they need to do, but it's just interesting to see the transition of different classes. And I'm kind of

with you a 100% Esteban, and that it's changed over time. Like I have photos of dogs being put in down stays as handlers walk a sequence. And it's not that people don't do that now, they just don't do it as much. Like it used to be, you just walked your dog in on a leash. You had your little training bag with some treats and a toy. And, you

know, you sat in a chair and you waited until it was your turn. You would even maybe walk a sequence with your dog on leash, as you're all out there walking with your dog. And then I felt like from there, people would get slightly annoyed that their dog was sniffing while they were walking a sequence or wanting to visit. So they would tie the dog up on the

side, like we actually have facilities around here that have hooks on the side of the wall purposely so you can like loop your dog's leash on while you're walking into a sequence to kind of encourage, like I don't want to say encourage, but it doesn't lend itself to bringing in crates. Cause it's like, oh, I'll just put my dog on the hook and then it went from like

tying that all up to putting them in the stay and then it went from, oh, that'd be annoying. Cause they'd get up to putting them on a cot. And then it was like, well, forget it. I'm just gonna put them in a crate. And I will say that I see a pretty strong group of people that will do just like stationing onto a cot and I know that's

what I do with my dogs. And that's come through from a lot of the foundation and the training that I've done over the last two or three years. You know, it used to be it was the crate or it was out on the floor. And then there was this kind of idea of separating when the dog should be actively working versus when they can, you know, turn their

brain off. And the cot was just kind of a more convenient way to do it. Right? You can haul it out onto the floor, it's easier to haul in than a crate. So we do have some students that will use the cot, but it just got me thinking about what other people are doing and why they're doing it. You know, I'm seeing a small sample size of my

facility in Columbus, Ohio, not other places. And I suspect that outdoors, maybe there's a little less crate work cause you have more space. Like if you're at an outdoor facility in a field where inside is you worry about like other dogs and trusting other dogs, maybe class dynamics, right? If you have a class of all eight inch dogs, people probably feel pretty safe. But if you have a

class with, you know, two eight inch dogs and then a larger dog, and then maybe there's one really young dog that tends to get the zoomies that plays a factor in things. But I just thought it pose an interesting question of what are people doing when the dog is not on the floor. - Yeah. That's super impressive whenever I see that, you know, dogs that can station, hang

out on a cot. I remember being very impressed when I'd go to seminars and then you'd see the seminar presenter be talking and then their dog would just be chilling on the table behind them or underneath the A-frame. And then they'd call them out to do some demo and they'd let him go and the dog would just go back and then all these other dogs would be working

and they just didn't seem to care. They'd just hang out there and, you know, these were top dogs who were doing very well at big events. And so I was like, wow, but, you know, coming up as Rottweiler people and having been around like we never competed in like those dogs sports, like IPO shits and kind of stuff, but we've done like a little bit of training there

and we've been in those kinds of groups. And I think just those kind of people we're just very careful with our dogs, you know. And so I think that kind of bleeds over, even though I get these other dogs, maybe with small dogs, I would also approach it a little bit differently. Like if you could literally hold them and it was just like eight pounds and it just

didn't matter, you know, or even an 18 pound dog, but like you're not gonna pick up a 45 pound golden and like hold them. And then the other thing is like I feel like dogs have changed over the last 20 years to be perfectly honest. And then as a sport, you know, I think we maybe don't weed out dogs, I can't think of a better phrase, but there

are in my view across, and this is like pure opinion based on, I don't know very many. - Observation. - But I think, I feel, I have this feeling that there are more dogs with more like problems as far as like interacting with other dogs and people like I'm not saying like attack pure aggression, but just like little things whereas back in the day, like if you had

that kind of dog, like you were either super careful about it or you didn't bring that dog to, you know, a trial situation, but here, you know, like kinda everybody does everything with every dog. And so I think there's more potential for problems and so I think maybe that's also like maybe I don't know, that's a real chicken or egg question to me. Right? Like does the ability

to create every kind of dog and kind of keep them from getting into stuff, create dogs that then don't know how to interact with other dogs and people in close quarters without crates and you've got five or six people lined up for a run in a shoot, like at a big national event. And you're not used to that because at your local trial, you guys can always maintain

your space, but now you're at AKC Nationals and they're jamming you all up in the shoot to get ready for your run. And you're like, whoa, how's my dog gonna react? So I don't know, like what do you think, do you think there are like big pros or cons here? - I think that building on what you said, it's not just dogs that are necessarily reactive, or whatever

term you want to use, but it's also dogs that were building all the speed and drive and it's the chase factor. So like one of my crate partners I'll leave her name was, but if she listens, she'll know, her dog likes to chase after mine. So she puts her dog in a crate because it's a young, like, really excited wants to join in the fun. So when I

go to run, her dog would chase me if it was just on a sit stay or on a cot. So she has to put it in a crate and it's like sheer excitement. I think, you know, we've read like more drive and more excitement and drive that way that it's not just the like reactiveness. It's the like, well, I gotta control them cause they're gonna wanna go out

there and they're gonna wanna chase. We see that a lot in the hurting grades. I will say that for me, spoiler alert for the Sheltie people, my dogs will bark if they're in a crate, but if I put them on a cot, they won't. So I get the cot over the crate because I don't wanna deal with the barking and even surprised, I mean, I tease about the

Shelties, but it's surprises in a crate. She will scream and bark and wanna get out. But if I put her on a cot and she can watch, she's fine. She just stands there. She looks, she watches and she's fine. So I've kind of gone that route to alleviate some of the extreme barking, you know, she just wants out too. So I think there's a lot of reasons people

would do certain things that I laugh when you talk about the little dogs carrying because they do the little dog people will carry the dogs. I have a student who would want to walk a sequence and she'd be like, can you hold my puppy on while I walk? And I was like, sure, you know, cause she didn't have a crate or a cot. And it's just what she

did. She just pick her dog up as her means of waiting her turn. So there's a lot of different reasons. - Oh, yeah. That was a thing too. People would hold each other's dogs. I remember I would call it someone else's door and you would hold your dog and their dog while they would go and talk to the instructor or get whatever, or they forgot something out of

the car or they're going to do the walkthrough again. Yeah, very interesting. Yeah. So now I wanna go and try and throw a cot out there and see if that helps. And it's interesting that you mentioned the Border Collie, because I feel like our Border Collie is like that. Like she will not even take treats in a crate. She would just be like, I have got to get

out there and like rip up her paws, like trying to get out of there. Like we had to teach her and I don't know how successful we actually were to get her to calm down in a crate. And it really never occurred to me that it would be better to try and get her out on a cot. Because I think the other thing we came up and at

a time in Texas where the majority of dogs in our class were not Border collies. Right? It would be like one dog, two dogs, maybe that are Border Collies. And everyone's basically a non Border Collie. So we really didn't have that dynamic. And then agility suddenly became very much about the Border Collie. Maybe it always was, but not in our area. And as you added these Border Collies,

I think now that you say that, now that you talk about the chase, I do remember those conversations because there would be training group and then the owner would be like, they would have their dog loose. Right. And theY'd be like, oh, my dog's not gonna do anything. And you see this Border Collie just like running back and forth, like not coming into the field, but like moving

or looking outside. Okay. Like your dog's not gonna run in the field, but my Rottweiler doesn't know that, and my Rottweiler is about to go and kill your Border Collie. Like can you kindly get your Border Collie out of here before there is an incident? You know, and so Border Collies can do that. Right? And I guess I'm too shaped by the eight years of competing with the

Rottweiler being at these big events with these very nervous handlers and their nervous Border Collies who like to give strong eye to dogs. And then my Rottweiler would be like, Ah, I've had it about enough of that. Like, don't look at me. And then the Border Collie just can't help themselves. Right, and then they do something dumb like come in and try and snap at my dog or

something, right? So, you know, those are the situations where I would be like, hey, crating like it makes a lot of sense, crate your Border Collie and get it out of my dog's face. So I think maybe I was a little too influenced by that, but I'm very interested in this cot idea. You know, obviously we've got the young dogs now and I wonder about that. That's the

other thing. And I've seen it in some of your videos too, like the throwaway videos that we don't use for stuff where you're training one dog, but the other dog is like, just wandering around in the background or people who have cats, their cats are right next to the jump while their dog is running around the course, I've always thought that's pretty cool because it's such a great

distraction too. Right, and I thought, could I really have two days on there? but I'm always very nervous about injuries, right? The potential for injury. So I think as a (indistinct) people, you know, you worry about injury, you worry about conflict, you are worried about harm, and then you throw on convenience. And, you know, I think that makes the case for the crate. But I'm really intrigued by

the cot idea. - Yeah. I think there is a good way to differentiate it between class setting and training by yourself. So I could totally see a cot training by yourself. I just can't ever see being comfortable doing that with a group of people, for exactly the reasons that you were saying, Esteban. And I remember, I mean, I think we basically, in our training groups, we were like

everybody will have a crate. Like I don't care what you think your dog is capable of. I'm not going to trust... - Well, cause we tried it and people would be like, oh my dog XYZ, my dog never or they always, you know what? Their dog would do it. And I'd be like, okay, that's it. That was your shot. You said your dog never did it, but they

did it. Sorry. Your chance is done. - That's basically where I was going with that is like back in the day when people weren't using crates, like, I definitely remember that the majority of classes, at least want one of those, you know, 15 dogs that were all trying to do a down stay, one of them would get up and you would hear somebody go ah, because their dog

has their head in like a treat bag and ate all the treats and nobody noticed, right? - That's right. - Like every single class, it was one of those dogs. Like even if a lot of them were capable of it, it only takes one to then do something like that or to cause a bigger problem like, you know, getting in the face of a dog that doesn't appreciate

it. And so, yeah. That's why I'm totally with you with, Esteban. We're like, no, just put your dog in a crate. But for training on your own with your own dog, I think, (indistinct) - Well, yeah, so that I will check out. But so Jen, from an instructor standpoint though, like if you're running, you know, a small facility, not necessarily 31 classes, but you want your students to

have a good experience, but you have to be worried about liability, right? Like what happens when one dog does like attack another dog because they misunderstood resource guarding or whatever? And there's some incident and some dog gets hurt, right? Like that's a big deal. And if you can solve that by just be like, okay, everybody has to bring in crate, you know, only one dog out working at

a time, like that's a hard and fast rule. And I feel like it protects you, it protects yourself like legally and all your students and really reduces that. And so then I'm like, you know, like cot, ideal world, sure. But like this (indistinct), what do you think? - Well, at our facility on the working floor, there's only ever one dog on the floor at a time. So we

have like gates, right? So it's more like the waiting area. Right. So in the waiting area, that would be where they're like with their dog, right? Their dog is on a cot or their dogs on a station. And they're sitting there with a chair and then they walk in through the gate to like take them off leash, run their sequence, put their leash on, leave. And then they're

back out in the waiting area with five or six other people. In which case, I don't worry as much because the dog should be on leash, right? So whether or not the dog stays on the cot, the hammer is at the other end of the leash, So if they hop off, they're not gonna go anywhere, but the crate I think makes it easier. - Oh, so you are

not saying like the is free in the cot, like unleashed? - Correct, no. - Oh, okay. So maybe I was misunderstanding a little bit. - Well, I mean, no, we never advise in a group setting that they are on a cot, unleashed, on the working floor while another dog is working. That is the situation we avoid. - Okay, got you. - So they're either on a leash on

the cot, in a corner, if they're on the floor or they're in the waiting area. So it's more just the like coming out to class, getting out of class, you know, what are you doing? Type of routine. And the convenience of, you pull up, you park, you grab your dog, your bag and you walk in. - No doubt. - Like they're never actually on the floor while another

dog is working on leash. There's way too much liability in that scenario. And I can actually recall situations where, not just for the safety and the liability, but I've encouraged people to bring their crates to class, to help them get ready for their show, right? They're getting ready to debut and they've never had their dog in a crate while Agility's been going on because the lower levels, you

know, you're so busy working, doing so much working. There's not a lot of downtime in a crate, or a lot of downtime in like a lower level. It's like, okay, do this. And then we're going here and you're doing all these stations. So they get ready to trial and the dogs never had to sit in a crate. So I'll say, hey, bring your crate. We're gonna practice putting

them in a crate, making a wait while you guys walk of course, bring them out, putting them back up. So, you know, there's pros and cons to everything. And maybe that's what people can think about as they're listening. Maybe they wanna try a cot. Maybe they want to go from a cot to a crate. Maybe they've never brought anything in and they're realizing, oh, I can bring a

crate to class? That's an option? Yeah, sure. Why not? I think, it's very class specific at our place. Like I'll go in and either, nobody in the class has a crate or everybody does. And I think if one person just walked in with the crate and set it up and people realized like they looked around, they're like, we can do that and it'd be that much easier? And

that more relaxing. - And the next week everyone would do it. - Then everybody would do it. - Yeah, yeah. - So it's just very interesting, the dynamics. - Yeah. I know that when we were going to class, the facility that let us leave a crate, like all the time. Oh, I love that place - So nice, I know. - Because the (indistinct) there waiting for you. Right.

So that's always super, duper nice rather than having to bring it all. Cause I remember it's such a pain with the Rottweiler because she had a very big, very heavy crate. - Yeah. And it had to be wire like metal eventually because we tried every version of soft crate we tried. And I can't tell you how many of those she destroyed, but, yeah, this crating discussion. I mean,

it's how we keep the creating industry in business. Right? Cause like the newest, best easiest to set up soft crates. And then do you get like a dolly? Do you get one with handles? Like we've tried everything. It's very interesting. It's really honestly, it's the rite of passage being a dog person. You have like maybe three or four dogs and you have 20 different crates, half of which

are in some kind of brokenness and require repair. Yeah. - Right, right. Yeah, absolutely. All right. Well in closing, just a little tidbit for our listeners, episode one of the Bad Dog Agility podcast is using a crate during training, episode one from let's see May 3rd, 2012 and we did not go back and listen to this podcast before we taped this one. So I will put a link

in the show notes and let the listeners tell us how different our opinions are from. Oh, my gosh. That's 10 years ago. 10 years ago that we did. - 10 years? Wow. - Yeah. Nine and a half years, yeah. 2012, we are in 2022 now. And that was before Jennifer joined the podcast, so a little blast from the past for everybody and that's it for this week's podcast.

We'd like to thank our sponsor, hititboard.com. Happy training. (upbeat music) - Thank you for listening to Bad Dog Agility. We hope you enjoyed today's episode for more information, updates and links to all our socials. Just check out our website www.baddogagility.com. If you haven't already signed up for our email subscription, we would love to have you join the BDA community. Until next time, take care.

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