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Violet and I have been attending an outdoor/open barn/masked humans Nosework class since July, and had our first odor session this week. Very exciting for us.

For those of you who don’t do Nosework, odor (birch, anise, clove) is often introduced earlier. The trainer I have been working with is trying a new foundation approach to reduce problems that tend to crop up in higher levels of competition.

Also, in agility class Violet is doing great at finding her weave pole entrance (2x2 training), and offset tunnel entrances. This week she was introduced to the A-frame which she thought was lots of fun.

Our struggles are self-control/listening to commands when aroused and being whiney in her crate while waiting for her turn. I am a little stumped on the crate whining. She is put in the crate area after her turn with nice chewies. As soon as she whines she is told “quiet.” When she whines again she is without fuss taken to the car and put in her crate there. She stays there until it is her turn again, and we repeat the whole thing. (She is pottied before class and halfway through; she almost always goes before and almost never goes at halftime). Next week I’m going to try a licki mat inside the class crate. Any other thoughts on managing crate noise? I really want to have a quiet dog in the crate while walking trial courses someday.
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I am far from an expert, but have been working to keep Annie quiet in her crate for Rally class. Especially challenging as it's NOT a quiet class, the other dogs do a lot of whining and barking.

I put a sheet over her to block her view, as she gets overarroused by watching. Then, every 5 s or so, I dropped a treat in for the couple min of the first class while everyone else was setting up. Too busy eating tiny snacks to worry about whining. Then, as the class settles, if she isn't already, I tell her settle, and she lies down. We normally stand with the crates for the first introduction/talking, then move into the ring, then return to get our dogs. Treats every 10s, 30s, 1 min, etc... obviously I can't reward while I am actually away from her. I also add me moving away from the crate, like to chat with one of the other students or the instructor (or at least shifting out of the tiny space she can view), coming back, treat, away again. All is silent, I am not actually talking to her other than maybe to tell her to settle (our cue for lie down and relax) once or twice during class if she is standing.

She has whined a couple times while I am in the ring without her (especially the first class) , and joined in barking a few times , but she is by far the quietest dog. I had expected, based on her experience at agility, and her history of seperation anxiety, for her to be the loudest. As of her third class (last class), I think she only joined the whining once while I was walking through, and that was when the other two dogs were already making a big racket for a while. At first I was annoyed at how loud the other dogs are, but I figure if she can focus and settle and be quiet through that, it will prepare her well for an actual competition.

I do hope to reduce rate of reinforcement by a lot, as it means by the end of class she isn't as treat motivated, so I have to switch to her ball as a reward in the ring. It's already a lot lower than the first class. But happy with her for now.
 

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Thanks for your insights, FWP. I have tried “feeding the crate” but perhaps not at such frequent intervals. Violet is only 11 lbs and it’s easy to fill her up. You mention a settle command, and that has me thinking perhaps I should be working on that at home as an adjuvant to my class crate work.
I’ve tried to teach settle to a couple drivey dogs in my life, without great success. So perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that Violet’s not so good at it either. Time to double down on my efforts though.
 
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