>We were primarily discussing what P- really is and whether taking a>dog off the startline is P- or not.
OK, this seems to be where people need the most help.On a personal level, I find "taking a dog off the start-line" too long aprocess to really be linked to any particular behaviour. Which part is theP? Picking the dog up? Dragging it by it's collar? How does the dog linkyour actions with movement, which is otherwise heavily rewarded in agility?Lets face it if you don't go for the high-drive herding dogs - which iswhere most advice of this nature comes from - if you have to work formotivation, then you spend a lot of time rewarding motion, encouraging adesire to move. Why you'd want to punish it (reduce it) in an agilityenvironment escapes me. It's really only handlers who can take their dog's"want" or "drive" to do agility for granted that can get away with thatsort of behaviour.If you use a NRM (non reward marker) you're really saying that there is noreward available for that behaviour and in the usual form that is just asignal to try something different. What would make sense in this case is touse a conditioned punisher. You often hear people using them "no", "excuseme", "I don't think so". If your timing's good, you should be able to linkthe punishment that will follow with the action. But again, this is movingback in time to the days before we knew how to properly build behaviourwith reward. Punishment has a lot of fallout and if you use it on a regularbasis you'll find that a lot of behaviour reduces, not just your targetbehaviour. The dogs that are trained successfully this way are the oneswho's drive to do over-rides any fall-out from the punishment, for the restit's disastrous.So what to do?My first advice is for the people who have yet to step foot in the ring.Take your start-line stay and generalise it. I know shows in the USA aren'tas big as they are here, but the principle still applies. The dog that canstay at the start-line at his nice small class, in a familiar environmentwith people he knows and dogs he knows is in all probability going to haveproblems when he arrives at a 12 ring agility show with all the chaos thatthat entails if that's the only training you do. So take your dog out andabout. Again I know life is different there, but think a little and ifyou're going shopping, take your dog with you and see if he can hold hissit AND explode out of it in the car park. Where else could your dog go andtrain that will take him and you out of your comfort zone? Football match?Can you train somewhere you can hear the crowds cheering? Fun fair? Outsidea train station? At the beach? It's easy to make excuses, better to get outand do some training! :)Next if you have a hypy dog, do you ask everyone to be still and quiet whenyou train? Why not get your class mates to clap and cheer? Ask your dog tosit when another dog is working. Do you stand and chat at class, or use thetime to your advantage? What situations get your dog excited? USE them totrain, don't avoid them. At home ramp it up a little, ask your dog to sitwith food on his paws, a toy between his legs. Can he sit whilst a toy isthrown past him, if you put a bowl of just cooked sausages 2 ft away?(That's REALLY tough for a Lurcher BTW