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.


Welcome to bad dog agility 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 host, Jennifer Stevan and Sarah I'm Jennifer And I'm Sarah. And this is episode 298. Today's podcast is brought to you by HitItBoard dot com and the new Teeter teach it and 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 HitItBoard dot com for the new Teeter TeachIt and other training tools and toys.

Use discount code BBA tend to get 10% off your order. That's HitItBoard dot 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 going to 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,

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 no, no 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,

run them, or, 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 S on your answer will be similar, but I'll ask you anyway. What do you do when you're in between your turns?

It'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. If you, I think, as we went along, eventually we hit a point where we're just like, ah, you just, just create 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, they left their areas and all the quote, unquote, 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 dotted dot conflict, right? There's the annoyance of having your watch interrupted, having your personal distraction as the handler, having a distraction happened, 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, if they're going to be getting up and then you got to put them back and then you're like,

oh, okay, walk through is done. And now you guys gotta 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 had 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 like dogs. Like these are big, strong, I'm not, 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. I'm not going quite just yet. So I'm going to, I'm going to say that. I'm gonna say that there's a time we started with our first eyes and we did not use it crate. And then you started to use it a little bit and then it just reached the 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 because I don't trust other dogs. It only takes one dog to, 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 than people I'm less comfortable. I tend to put them in a crate. But the reason I ask 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 going to 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 the 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 hundred percent 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, you know,

you wait, 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, encourage it kind of encourage, like, not neces. I don't want to say encourage, but it, it doesn't, it doesn't lend itself to bringing in crate. 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 this day. 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 going to 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 dogs should be actively working versus when they can turn their brain off. And the cop 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 crates. So we do have some students that will use the car,

but it just got me thinking about what other people are doing and why they're doing it. You know, I'm, 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 great work cause you have more space. Like if you're at an outdoor facility in a field where inside,

as 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 scent 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 hanging 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 them 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, like I think, and having been around, like we, we never competed in like those dogs sports, like IPO should send kind of stuff, but we've been to, we've done like a little bit of training there and we've been in those kinds of groups. And I think just those kinds 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 like an 18, even an 18 pound dog, but like,

you're not going to 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, but just, I think, I feel, I feel, 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 you, 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, trials a trial situation, but here, you know, 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, maybe that's,

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, you know, you've got five or six people lined up for a run in a shoot,

like in 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, well how's my dog gonna react. So I don't know, like w 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, but, or, or whatever term you want to use, but it's also dogs that we're, we're building all the speed and drive and it's the chase factor. So like, one of my 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 six day or on a cot. So she has to put it in a crate and it's not,

it's like sheer excitement. I think, you know, we bred like more drive and more, you know, excitement and drive that way that it's not just the like reactiveness. It's the like, well, I got to control them cause they're going to want to go out there and they're going to want to chase. We see that a lot in the,

in the hurting braids. I will say that from 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 Cod over the crate. Cause I don't want to deal with the barking and even surprised. I mean, I tease about the shelter, but it's surprises in a crate.

She will scream and bark and want to get out. But if I put her in a cot 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, the extreme barking, you know, she just wants out too. So I think there's a lot of people would do certain things that I laugh when you talked about the little dogs caring 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 copy on why I walk? And I was like, sure. You know, cause she didn't have a crater, a cotton. It's just what she did. She just pick her dog up as her means of waiting her turn.

So there's, there's a lot of different reasons. Oh yeah. That was the 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 walk through again.

Yeah. Very interesting. Yeah. So now I want to 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 colleague is like that. Like she will not even take treats and a crate. Should this 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 a teacher 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, to try and get her out on a cot because I think the other thing I, 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 color. Maybe I'm 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 dog would be like, the owner would be like, they would have their dog loose. Right. And there'd be like, oh my dad's not going to 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 diet's not going to run in the field. But my Rottweiler doesn't know that am I, I was about to go and kill your border colleague. 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 my, my I'm too shaped by the eight years of competing with the Rottweiler being and at these big events with these very nervous handlers and their nervous border colleagues who like to give strong eye to dogs.

And then my RA would be like, 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 around and be like,

Hey, creating, like, it makes a lot of sense, create your border Collie and get it out of my dog's face. So then 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 the cats, their cats are in the light right next to the jump while their dogs running around the course, I've always thought that's pretty cool because it's such a great distraction to right. And I've thought,

could I really have two dogs on there, but I'm always very nervous about injuries, right? The potential for injury. Right. So I think, I think as a Joni people, you know, you worry about injury, you worry about conflict, you worried about harm and then you throw on convenience. And you know, I think that makes the case for the crate.

But I, I, I really intrigued by the cot idea. There's a, there, there is a good way to, to differentiate it between class setting and training by yourself. So I can totally see a cot training by yourself. I would, I don't, I just can't ever see, being comfortable doing that with a group of people, for exactly the reasons that you were saying.

It's the one. And I remember, I mean, I think we basically, in our training groups, we were like, you know, we were like, no, we, you will, everybody will have a crate. Like I don't care. What, what you think your dog is capable of. I, I'm not going to, 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. I never did it. But they did it. Sorry. That's basically, that's basically where I was going with. That is like back in the day when, when people weren't using crates,

like, I definitely remember that the majority of classes, at least what, one of those, you know, 15 dogs that were all trying to do it downstairs, one of them would get up and you would hear somebody go because their dog has their head in like a treat bag and ate all the treats. And nobody noticed, right. It's like every,

like every single class, it was one of those dogs. Like even if 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 the lot.

We're like, no, just put your dog in a crate For Training on your own with your own dog. Well, yeah, yes. That I will check out. But so Jen, from an instructor standpoint though, like if you're running a, 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. No 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, and really reduces that. And so then I'm like, you know, like caught ideal world. Sure. But like this, oh, 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 there, that would be where they're like with their dog right there, just the dogs on a clock, 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 hamburgers at the other end of the lease. So if they hop off,

they're not going to go anywhere. But the call center And the cot like unleashed. Correct. Oh, okay. So maybe I was misunderstanding Nobody, nobody on that. Well, I mean, in some of the, 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 a situation.

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 your park, you grab your dog, your bag and you walk in.

They're never actually on the floor while another dog is working on leash. There's way too much liability in that scenario. But, 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, in a, 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 going to practice putting them in a crate, making a wait while you guys walk a course, bring them out, putting them back up. So, you know, there's, there's pros and cons to everything. And maybe that's what people can think about as they're listening. Maybe they want to try a cop.

Maybe they want to go from a cut 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 a lot of it's very class specific at our place. Like I'll go in and either there's nobody in the class has a crate or everybody does.

And I think if one person just walked in with a crate and set it up and people realize like they looked around, they're like, we can do that and it'd be that much easier. And Then everybody would do it. So it's just very interesting. The dynamics. Yeah. I know that when we were going to class, the, the facility that let us leave a crate,

like all the time. Oh, I love that place waiting for you. Right. So that's always super duper nice rather than having to bring it all. But it, 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 grade we tried.

And I can't tell you how many of those she destroyed, but yeah. This creating discussion. I mean, it's how we keep the creating industry in business. Right. Because 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? Yep. Absolutely. All right. Well in closing, just a little, 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. Nine and a half years. Yeah, 2012 or 2022 now.

So, 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 dot com. Happy training. 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 dot bad dog, agility.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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