Trying to relax reactive dog in agility

Discussion in 'Agility and Dog Sports' started by cinnamon, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. cinnamon

    cinnamon New Member

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    Quick background :)

    Sheltie is 20 mths and quite reactive to surroundings. She's doing well in obedience and we are starting to work off-leash at agility. As long as she's working on A-frame, contacts, weaves, she's great because she has a focus.

    When it's not our turn and she is just beside me, she's very in tune to the other dogs and the people running. I usually try and keep her focus on me by asking for a sit, down, watch me etc. I can't have her running off and barking at a dog that came to close or ran by too fast.

    If we are just waiting, I will move a few feet away so the distractions aren't too close. She did quite well last night and when she was losing focus and not quite listening to me I just happily told her we were all done and put her back in her crate for down time. I always end on a good note and we had a good lesson.

    Is there anything else I can work on so she isn't distracted by her surroundings? Before class starts, everyone just walks around warming up the dogs' obedience skills and she does okay with that. She'll sit and wait and I'll walk 4-6 feet away and she'll come when called.

    She does great as long as she has something to do :) But I don't think she can handle just sitting and watching--she'll start barking and moving toward the person/dog.
     
  2. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    Meg's the same way. I'd recommend reading "Control Unleashed" if you haven't already; it's basically all about working with reactive dogs in stimulating environments.

    For now, I basically take the easy way out and just make sure Meg has something to do. She can now stay quiet when dogs she knows are running in class (we have a pretty consistant group of us) as long as they aren't big barkers. When it is a new/loud dog coming up, out come the treats and we start doing something...anything. Lately I've been teaching her to hold her leash in her mouth. I'm hoping I can make it a default behavior for when she is wound up, and it is starting to work. She will often grab her leash now when other dogs are running.
     
  3. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    Milo's the same. I'd get the book "click to calm" off of cleanrun.com. SO GOOD. it's helped milo soo much.

    Also, i suggest when it's not your turn, not only back away a bit so the other dogs aren't in her face, but keep her busy with little tricks. Teach her to hold an object in her mouth, which will prevent her from barking and snapping. Just go through sit, down, stay, etc.

    Also, i might suggest bringing a portable crate to let her relax and chill, and even putting a blanket over part of it so it makes it cool and quiet.
     

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