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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone, Our Bond has completed his foundations Agility class and did vey well. We both loved the class.
We decided to enrol him into Basic Agility this would add more challenges and he was doing pretty good. Loves the dogwalk, tunnel oh my , ( crazy dog ). A frame slow it down bud. Hes got lots of drive and wants to go. However and heres the problem Im having. When ever the other dogs in our class take their turn on the tunnel, dogwalk, jump. Bond wants to leap in the air , bark and I have to be firm and get him to calm down, which he will do until the next dog takes their turn. Then he starts his nutzy , zoomy thing. Barking, lunging out and I can barely hold him. Until the trainer takes over for me to get him to calm down and regain focus. It was getting embarrassing for me , people in the class would say whats the matter with him ? or maybe you need to take him out hes , too distracted . All I could say this is new for me, and my dog and Im very sorry. So Im at a loss , what should I do. Should I wait, he will be 2 in Oct. I will work more on proofing him. The trainer said hes great for Agility but I dont know what to do with his over reactive nature. Anyone have any suggestions would be appreciates. I would love to enrol him again and retry Basic Agility. Just to keep him calm when other dogs are active in the ring would be something I need help with.
Looking forward to your advise.馃惄
 

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I would really work on teaching him to focus on you no matter what the level of distractions is. Only if you master this will you have any kind of fun or success. Lily was a wild child in early agility classes. She had many of the reactive and over excited behaviors you describe. It wasn't much fun and certainly was terribly embarrassing. My club is restarting classes in a week or so and one of the specialty things my teaching partner and I do is a focus and attention workshop. I wish you could come. I think you and Bond would get a lot out of it.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you, Lilly cd re, That would be a perfect class for Bond. Focus and attention. I will contact our training center See if I can speak with a trainer about it. This has been so frustrating. Great advise. Wish I could go . Darn it ! 馃槉
 

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My boy was similar and my trainer also said he would be good at agility. He is, and he鈥檚 settled somewhat, but it took a while. He鈥檚 4 years old. I spent a lot of time on impulse control in environments outside of agility. I also took many other classes with other dogs in order to deal with general distraction. I continued with the basic manners class even after he passed the CGC, because he needed the extra work. We also took obedience classes and he earned the CD last fall.

My instructor wishes that her lab had the drive of my spoo. I wish that I was a better handler!

Agility training is a long-term process. Patience is needed while you both learn. Try to be calm in the midst of that wild excitement because your mental state can amp your dog up more.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hello Scooterscout99, Thank you also for your great advise. All the above I agree. Bond has had his advanced obedience. No issue with other dogs in that class. He has also completed his nose work class, he performed well, no reaction issues. The training club that we attend is about 6000 sq ft. Plenty of room, but its a tad small when you have 13 dogs all participating in different obsticles at different times. They split us up into groups, which is fine. I believe it maybe the noise, bangs, dogs barking doing their fronts and he just sees that and he wants to go. He is socialized both taking classes, walks , meeting people before the pandemic. The trainer was excellent and she did say this will take time indeed. I do know this is also me, I need to relax and watch him better and connect with him more since taking this class. I know Bond gets bored so I have to learn to keep him engaged and focused. Waiting for his turn to run the tunnel. He get so charged up.Thats his high drive. I need to learn how we can control it and yes it gonna take some time. Congrats on getting your titles. Lots of hard work.
Thanks again.
 

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Reading through the further excellent discussion one thing you can do as an attention game is Susan' Garrett's "It's Yer Choice" which you can Google and find lots of videos to show it. You can also do Look At That (LAT). I also do a silly thing with Javelin where I toss a treat and tell him to get it. Since I am still solidifying the new version of it (I used to just say his name as he picked up the treat and gave another one right away if he returned quickly) I am still saying a fair amount of orders. Now as he picks up the treat I tell him "Javvy, GET CLOSE! (very cheerful)." He has to sit at heel and look up. Sometimes I have to tell him up to look up and I still always have to tell him to come sit (the get close order). I am going to be fading using his name and later telling him to get close as well as getting the heads up to be default as well and replace all of the words with one signal to get close. The big difference is in the "puppy" version he only had to return close enough for me to touch him without moving my feet if I wanted to. Now he will be required to set up properly at heel. The thinking behind all of this is to get him closely attending even in the face of heavy distractions. He can be very excitable between exercises in obedience so I want his default behavior is to set up at heel whenever I see a bit of wanting to take off in his affect. You can apply the same idea to agility. It may take a while to see the benefits. Be patient.
 
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Don鈥檛 feel bad, there鈥檚 plenty of dogs in agility class who have the same behavior problem; it is annoying and takes time to resolve. He鈥檚 triggered by the movement and excitement of the other dogs. In Obedience, except for the recall in the lower levels, there isn鈥檛 that speedy movement and high excitement which is why he did well there.

Playing the games that Lily CD RE mentioned and others is important. Asking for sits, down and stay for a treat is another tool you can use. Give yourself more distance away from the other dogs and consider moving behind something if you need to thereby reducing the stimulation. I had one dog that was so bad, handler and dog needed to be behind a tunnel or A-frame or in the far corner of the ring at the beginning to lessen that drive so the dog could learn to focus. My dog had a milder version that probably most people didn鈥檛 recognize in class because I did stand back from the source. I did a lot of focus work while waiting our turn.

Before Covid-19 I would suggest people with dogs that react come in early or stay late and work focus games with their dogs outside the ring of another class for short while. Unfortunately with my clubs current guidelines to limit people this is not allowed. Maybe that鈥檚 an option for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you Lilly cd re and Skylar very good advise And noted. We are working on his focus and recall. We also work on his get close and healing position. He works great in the back yard. He knows his stuff the big Nut ,but he doesnt want to do it in class. Some how he disconnects with us. We had one of our trainers help us with his Obedience training. She had him in the ring, we of course had to hide so he wouldnt see us lol and worked him through his program and she was amazed. Of course there is no emotional attactment between them. But he worked well with her. As Skylar noted, I had to do the same thing with Bond, remove him off to the side away from the activity and get him to refocus on me , come around in heeling position, then front ,with him focusing . Getting him to settle. We would also arrive early too and have him in the ring ,then work on his focus and get him acclimated to his environment. Most of all, for me patience, patience and relax. Thanks again to everyone, as I know you all are very experienced and well informed than myself. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post. 鉂ゐ煇
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oh forgot to mention, Lilly cd re, I will check out Susan Garrets video 鈥 Its Yer Choice 鈥 thanks again. 馃槉
 

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You've been given some ideas for working on focus, control, etc. above. However, training issues aside, and yes, you do have some work to do, it sounds like your dog is not crated when he is not running and if that is the case, I am surprised. At any group agility class I've been to (and I've worked with several different trainers over the years), dogs that are not working on the floor are supposed to be crated. It is not uncommon for really motivated dogs that love agility to get over-stimulated watching other dogs running, especially if they have high prey drive. It's a safety issue - if a dog was working and another dog got free of the handler holding it and went out onto the floor after the other dog, there could be an altercation between them, which besides being a problem in the instant, could cause future issues with ring stress, for example, if a dog was attacked by another. Some dogs would totally shrug it off, some could be set back for a long time or even permanently. I would start crating your dog. I always bring my own, but many facilities also have crates for use by students. If your dog gets over the top you can put a sheet over the front of the crate so he can't see the working dog, I've done that with mine if they occasionally get too hopped up when waiting their turn. It also enforces the security of a cave/den that a crate creates. Often when I go to agility trials and I want my dogs to relax in the crate between runs I drop a towel down over the front every now and then to give them a break from the hustle-bustle going on with dogs running in front of them, people walking by, etc.
 

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Excellent point about the crate Eclipse. I've had many conversations over the years with Louise about how frustrating it is to see people work hard, have dogs that know how to run beautiful courses, but can't do that in trials because they come out of their crates all wound up and they are often people who just rarely put their dogs in crates. Training that behavior (calm in crate) also has to be practiced. Lily used to react to dogs right in front of her crate so I used to cover her. She has since decided she doesn't care about most dogs unless they want to get to her in her crate so I stopped covering her. Javelin on the other hand still needs his crate covered because he still can go over the top if he sees certain dogs. He is very driven to work and will react if he sees lots of movement like for go outs and recalls.
 

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Absolutely agree with using a crate in class, for all the reasons mentioned. And yes, covering it and even removing it from the main traffic area of the class is a good idea.

With a young, high energy dog, I also recommend a wire crate to ensure safety. I tried using a soft sided crate with Gracie when she first started agility classes, and went out to walk the course.... only to look over and see she was rolling it over, and over, and over, like a tumbleweed! It was quite the scene. The instructor and the rest of the class thought it was very funny...me, not so much. Needless to say, she is in wire crate now.

I would also offer that the very traits that make him a good candidate for agility (and
probably a very fun, interesting dog) are also traits that may need some extra management, as Eclipse mentioned.

The excitement when other dogs run is normal, and you can look at it as a positive trait. I used to get frustrated with one of my older dogs with this behavior and my trainer framed it by saying that 鈥渟he just is very excited to be here, and can鈥檛 wait to get out there and run the course. That鈥檚 what she鈥檚 saying to you.鈥 These were the words of someone who won Westminster master鈥檚 agility, breeds and handles multiple agility champions- she knows what she鈥檚 talking about. That helped me relax and work on managing the behavior instead of thinking it was 鈥渂ad鈥 behavior.

One thing we did do was use a squirt bottle when she wouldn鈥檛 settle down. I only had to do this a few times for it to work, and we only used it after the positive reinforcement wasn鈥檛 working.

If you are serious about competing in agility, make sure you find a facility that employs trainers that actually compete in dog sports so they can help you move forward.

Good luck, agility is a blast and it sounds like your boy could really enjoy it!
 

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I鈥檝e also been willing to remove my dog from the ring after unacceptable behavior. My instructor started to help with this. I鈥檇 take him out, someone else would practice, and we could try again later. When practicing solo with my 2 dogs, if my spoo acts up, he goes out and my beagle gets to run. It is incredibly motivating to establish playing in the ring as the reward. You have to be ultra calm when doing this. 鈥淭oo bad, we鈥檒l try again later.鈥
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hello everyone, and thank for your expert advise. Your posts are a wealth of advise. I can say , yes they had crates at the club. Nothing was mentioned about crate training at the time when I attended the class. Hmmm, most of the crates and there was a long row of them were privately owned and the students were not allowed to use them. You all have me thinking as to why this form of training was not mentioned. Hmm, this all makes sense. They had 13 dogs , separated by size and divided by groups. Each taking turns on different equipment and others ,while waiting would work on the the assigned piece of equipment. Waiting for their turn. Some dogs would have difficulties and take a bit longer and of course we are all just learning. I would keep working with Bond and try to maintain his focus while we waited for his turn. This is where he would start to act out .Hes getting bored and restless. I would then remove him from the group, take him outside and get him to refocus and come back. Then we would run through his assigned piece of equipment. Fast and driven he would complete it with no issues until another dog would take their turn and then he thinks he has to go too. I see your point and it makes sense. Certainly, by placing him in a crate would get him to calm down. This of course would only be fair to other students and their dogs and maintain control in the class room. I dont want to have any confrontations with other dogs, Bond is not aggressive in fact hes too friendly. I of course would want his experience and others too safe in a controlled environment. Crate training will be on our next agenda.
Thank you all 馃檹
 
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