Q: My labrador is too excited during dog agility trials. How can I control my dog to calm down his excitement? I recently went to an agility trial and my dog went through a few tunnels than ran, i couldn’t get him back!! Can you help me with ideas on my dog agility training? I want him to do well at least in one course!
Photo Credit: Stonnie Dennis Dog Photography
Answers and Views:
Answer by More Bored Collie
Sounds like he has a good amount of energy in him.
You may want to get out and do a quick jog/run with him prior to expel some of the pent up energy. Assuming you have a high energy breed – a light jog shouldn’t deprive him of energy later on in the day.
Also, it does take practice. It will take time for the both of you to get comfortable in the ring with people watching.
Answer by Marna O
I know exactly what you are describing…seen it dozens and dozens of times at trials.
You may be trialing too soon, more training including "come". How is your dog, outside of agility, in a stimulating environment with lots of dog and people distractions? How is your dog in class? Talk to your trainer.
When you are agility training, if he doesn't pay attention and work "with" you…time out in x-pen.
You need to work on your bond, your working partnership. Your motivation and reward in training may need to be raised. What do you use? Treats? A toy?
Find matches, or a different training class to drop in to work him in a different atmosphere with new people and dogs that are more exciting.
Not too many runs at this point. My opinion is that every run at a trial he goes off, ignoring you and self-rewards, he is learning that at trials he CAN go off and you can do nothing about it.
Before your runs get there early and wear him out running and playing to take the edge off. Then allow him recuperation time.
The issue is not that your dog is over excited, it is that he needs more dog agility training including impulse control.
Photo Credit: andreaarden
Answer by WyrDachsie
Are you sure your dog is ready to be trialing? I suggest, instead of doing trials right now, do agility matches. In a match, you can train. It's a trial setting, but you’re able to train. Your dog doesn't know the difference.
Don't worry about being embarrassed, everyone had to start somewhere. Are you training with an instructor? If so, tell your instructor what happened and that's (attention) something to work on. Another good idea is to video yourself, this way, you can see what actually happened. Take the video and show it to your instructor. This will give you more insight on your run.
Also, don't enter too many classes, enter 3 classes instead of 5. Enter only what you and your dog skills are. It just may be too much for him right now. He also may not understand what his job is just yet.
Since your both "green", don't enter a trial with an expectation to qualify. Use it as a test, see where you’re at and what you need to work on. If you qualify, then just think of it has a bonus. If you see that in your next trial, you again loose his attention, go back to training this and don't enter any more trials. Remember, you can't fix a problem at a trial.
Keep on trucking and remember most of all, to have fun because that's what it's all about.
Answer by berner mom
Get and read the book Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt
Also, check around your area for someone that teaches this class. They are wonderful classes that will teach your dog to relax, work next to other dogs and focus on you…
If you are nervous your dog will be…Try to relax and have confidence in your dog that he will do well
Answer by shari_king2002
I have been trialing a young minpin for a year. Only a couple of trials so far. I do train and compete with my older dogs, very successfully. This young minpin, is very distracted at trials. He is great at training, and run throughs, but trials is still a bit much for him. Judge, ring crew, however we train with people playing those roles. This past weekend he completed two courses, only missing a few obstacles, but he stayed with me the whole time. Has he embarrassed me, YES! His first trial when I couldn't catch him, and we had to corner him in a tunnel. Zoomies around the ring.
I do not trial him often, and I only trial him where I train, since he is not ready to be elsewhere at all. I need to get him to trials to get him some experience. When I have him, we are there to have fun. He has no Q's, because that is the least important thing to me. He is having fun, and is improving greatly. There have not been any matches around, so I enter him in just two runs at CPE trials.
You need to have fun with your dog. It does sound like your dog is not quite ready for trialing. However, with my first dog I did it anyway, and had no Q's and a lot of embarrassment for a year. My 2nd and 3rd dogs, started out with lots of Q's, because they were ready to trial. You either need to step back, do some more dog agility training before you trial, or just go and have fun, embarrassed or not.
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Even people with the best trained dogs have moments of embarrassment, it goes along with dogs. I saw someone with her C-ATE dog, jump over a tunnel because he was confused. Talk to others, and you will learn you are not alone.
Answer by Alex D
It's a Lab, good luck. Labradors are incredibly smart dogs, and need to be entertained. If it wants to find that ball near the fence, or see someone, it probably won't stop. They have a relatively short attention span for anything THEY don't want. At work, we have a yellow lab, 1yr old, named Ruby. She's smart as can be, friendly, plays ball, and plays with the other dogs. When it's her turn to leave, we make her sit, wait, and walk away form the leash before letting her see her mom. It takes 4-5-6 tries to get her to sit and STAY without getting side tracked by the other dogs or some noise or anything.
Some basic command training would benefit you greatly
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