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post #11 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-22-2016, 03:55 PM
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Oh yes, I know this problem too!
Our situation was quite similar to yours - took her to the agility hall when she was younger and she was fine watching the other dogs. But as soon as she started training it all went downhill from there...

We started training when she was about 8 months old (in a group with two other dogs).
She was fine when it was her turn, but she had problems watching the other dogs work. It started with whining but she went to barking pretty soon.

That's when I took a bottle of water with me for the next few trainings and every time she "went crazy" she got a shower. It really impressed her - she tried again for two or three times, got a shower each time and that was it.
She's still pretty amped watching the other dogs in her group or at trials, but at least she's not barking anymore.
I have to add that she has a ball to chew one while the other dogs run, so she has an alternative to the barking (she had one before the waterbottle thing as well, but didn't take it because she'd rather bark ).

But it's ok the way she behaves now. She can be amped and excited watching other dogs on the course, but she watches quietly (sometimes with some whining, but I'm fine with that) while chewing the toy. I can live with that! ;o)
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post #12 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-22-2016, 04:39 PM
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I sympathize. Ohhhh how I sympathize! We're going through this with agility and herding right now, she's almost 8 months old.

We've been intentionally getting to our classes/lessons 45 minutes early so we can practice entrance behavior. If she makes crazy anticipation noises, we go back into the car and try again. Like your dog, she was totally silent until a few lessons in, now she loves both activities SO MUCH her excitement is intense. When she is actually running a course, or working sheep, she's silent. Not a peep. It's the waiting that gets us.

Besides entrance practice (over - and over), she has to lie down while other dogs are running. If she's sitting or standing, she has a harder time staying composed. We also practice the "watch me" eye contact command, with increasing difficulty.... Asking her to watch my eyes while I swing her "crack ball" (on a rope) around, or maintain eye contact while I bob up and down, etc. We probably look odd to spectators, but it helps her focus on me and not worry about the other dog in her beloved tunnel. All of the other dogs/breeds in our current agility class are lower drive, more mellow individuals that let their attention wander/snoop around for food when they're waiting (instead of quivering with excitement). At herding, where there are generally higher drive, focused, intense workers, lots of people crate out of sight in their vehicles until it's time for their turn. I don't want my dog to be the only screamer.... So, we do our weird little dance moves at agility, and get there plenty early.

I also keep reminding myself that she's still a puppy, she loves (LOVES!) doing these things, and we have time to phase out the anticipatory whistles.
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post #13 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-22-2016, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by WIBackpacker View Post
I sympathize. Ohhhh how I sympathize! We're going through this with agility and herding right now, she's almost 8 months old.

We've been intentionally getting to our classes/lessons 45 minutes early so we can practice entrance behavior. If she makes crazy anticipation noises, we go back into the car and try again. Like your dog, she was totally silent until a few lessons in, now she loves both activities SO MUCH her excitement is intense. When she is actually running a course, or working sheep, she's silent. Not a peep. It's the waiting that gets us.

Besides entrance practice (over - and over), she has to lie down while other dogs are running. If she's sitting or standing, she has a harder time staying composed. We also practice the "watch me" eye contact command, with increasing difficulty.... Asking her to watch my eyes while I swing her "crack ball" (on a rope) around, or maintain eye contact while I bob up and down, etc. We probably look odd to spectators, but it helps her focus on me and not worry about the other dog in her beloved tunnel. All of the other dogs/breeds in our current agility class are lower drive, more mellow individuals that let their attention wander/snoop around for food when they're waiting (instead of quivering with excitement). At herding, where there are generally higher drive, focused, intense workers, lots of people crate out of sight in their vehicles until it's time for their turn. I don't want my dog to be the only screamer.... So, we do our weird little dance moves at agility, and get there plenty early.

I also keep reminding myself that she's still a puppy, she loves (LOVES!) doing these things, and we have time to phase out the anticipatory whistles.

We used the "truck" method with Paisley as well (also for herding). In fact, we still use that method when someone decides herding is a single dog vs a "team" sport

We practiced many times having her platz at the gate before going in. We did obedience in an empty arena. We did all that with stock in the arena. I also used to take her out for a quick game of fetch at the facility before even trying to get near the arena to drain the surface energy off.

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post #14 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-22-2016, 07:11 PM
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Btw, at Fenzi what course did you take & did you do, bronze, silver, or gold? Since he's 9 months, was unsure which course to try if I do. Control with the crazy canine sounds fitting. 8/
I did Shade's fundamentals courses, Drives and Control 1 and Drives and Control 2. I've only done Bronze level since I'm okay learning on my own. It would definitely be valuable to do Gold level and get feedback, especially if you don't want to spend the time wading through all the other posts to find advice that might apply to your dog. I just didn't want to pay that much, haha. And I don't think Silver is worth paying for since you don't get feedback on your own dog, and there are lurker groups on Facebook where you can share videos and have other students try to help.

There is also an Impulse Control for Agility Dogs class by Nancy Gagliardi but I haven't taken that one yet. You can always email the instructors to see if they think their class would help you or recommend a different one.

Arousal and agility can be super tough to balance. Because we do want them aroused and excited while doing agility! It can also be tough to battle because we are creating a conditioned emotional response to agility. Essentially the dogs are being classically conditioned to be excited and aroused around agility things. And with classical conditioning, the dog's response is rather involuntary and harder to change. Especially if we actually want them excited in the first place.

Just some brief blah blah about the science of arousal and overexcitement around agility.

For now I think you could just work on being very consistent that quiet = play, whining/barking = back to the crate or waiting area or whatever. Lots of work on focus and eye contact for lots of rewards.

Try to find other areas where you can practice this concept. Like with my dog, swimming gets him to that same over-aroused squealy whiny state so it's just another opportunity to practice quiet and control = swim, being crazy = no swim. Things like that.

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post #15 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-22-2016, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your replies! I know it's going to take time, patience, & being consistent. A part of me says, take the lead, correct, & make him listen & part of me says, set him up for success. It's easier to get to class early but leaving is hard, tight quarters & people/dogs coming (we're the first class) in. I really work his impulse control all the time. Hoping it's a hurdle we can overcome & why I was reaching out for suggestions. The water bottle could be an option but hmmmm, hoping he will get it for being rewarded for the calm in class. Not sure but I guess I'll have to figure out a plan about the whining during class if I chose to keep him in one. 8/

I thank you again......
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post #16 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-23-2016, 12:01 AM
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You trained him how to turn it on, so now you need to train how to dial it down.

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post #17 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 04:44 PM
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He's learned he doesn't get to work until he's quiet.

As in quiet "quiet"....none of that whiny high pitched whistling kind of sound..... but never loud. Kind of like a " I'm trying my best to contain myself but I'm dying here wanting to get into the action" sound?


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post #18 of 44 (permalink) Old 02-01-2016, 10:44 AM
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As in quiet "quiet"....none of that whiny high pitched whistling kind of sound..... but never loud. Kind of like a " I'm trying my best to contain myself but I'm dying here wanting to get into the action" sound?


SuperG
Yeah, that quiet...I can't tolerate any of it because I have a give me an inch and take a mile dog. So we don't allow any leaking at all, it's been a battle but we're finally making strides.

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post #19 of 44 (permalink) Old 02-05-2016, 01:27 AM Thread Starter
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Well.......hmmmm, not sure we will get that quiet but I sure wish he would! 8/ I tried the squirt bottle on him this week. It seemed to work some. Was definitely better than the week before. He amps but I find working him at home he whines slightly when trying to figure something out, he tries, tries, & well some whines. 8/
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post #20 of 44 (permalink) Old 02-05-2016, 10:50 AM
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Well.......hmmmm, not sure we will get that quiet but I sure wish he would! 8/ I tried the squirt bottle on him this week. It seemed to work some. Was definitely better than the week before. He amps but I find working him at home he whines slightly when trying to figure something out, he tries, tries, & well some whines. 8/
I can't remember if I commented on this thread or not. To be honest, I don't really have any meaningful suggestions for you on this. I'm sure it's really challenging and perhaps even frustrating. I can imagine the looks you get at trial from all the little dog people.

I guess more than anything I just wanted to put it out there that I think it's kind of a shame how "quiet" agility trials are. I've taken a break from agility for about a year now and pursued other dog sports. What I find is that in the vast majority of dog sports, dogs are allowed to be... dogs. They amp up. They get excited for the game. They bark. They bark loudly. That's just how it is.

Certainly I agree that getting over aroused on the course is counter productive and needs addressed via training. But high arousal off the field- I have to say- it bothers me WAY less now-a-days having competed in plenty of other sports.

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