ClickerSolutions Training Articles

Attention in Agility

Boy can I relate to trying to work with a reactive dog in agility! My Farley (BC) is the king of reactivity... but we're making tons of progress by doing exactly what you've described.

You mentioned in your second post that you need more opportunities to work around other dogs. I thought I'd share a few ideas that have worked for me:

  • Large chain pet stores will let you bring your dog inside to train. You will often meet lots of untrained dogs in these stores, but they are always on-leash. I've found that certain times of the day have more dogs than others, so experiment to find the right density of dogs for Eartha. I will often go to a quiet back corner to work, or I'll work outside the entrance so that I can control the distance from the other dogs.
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  • Fenced dog parks can be useful. I never (rarely) actually go inside, but I can work around the outside of the fence. It gives me an opportunity to work around hyped up, loose dogs. The big drawback I've found to these places is that most people let their dogs out of the car off-leash. The dogs then run up to my dog and since the owner has no recall it turns into a training problem. I tend to park near-by and leave the back of my truck open. My dog has a great crate cue, so if I see a car pull into the parking lot I crate him before they even get out.
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  • We have two local obedience clubs that hold lessons in public places. I've started going on their lesson nights and just working around the edges of their classes. So far no one has had a problem with me. They are both in dog dense areas, so I tend to blend in as part of the general public.
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  • I've found that most instructors are really understanding about this kind of problem. They usually are thrilled that you want to train through it. I've spoken with a few instructors and they've allowed me to work around the fringes of their more advanced classes for free. I do my own thing and provide a sort of built-in distraction for their class. Be very careful not to disrupt class if you get this priviledge. Always keep your dog on-leash and be aware of how the other dogs in the class are being affected by your presence.

Paying for another obedience class for Eartha will work, but I thought I'd offer some free options as well. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

Michele Stone
110520.3547@compuserve.com
copyright 2002 Michele Stone

 

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