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LuvourGSDs 01-22-2016 10:55 AM

Aroual/Impulse Control
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Hi all, It's been awhile since I've been here. I wondered if anyone has been in my shoes cause I feel I'm not alone. We know agility amps our dogs but seeking suggestions on teaching good impulse control in this setting, esp when our dogs are asked to work among others in a class setting. Keeping their focus & control on you, no whining, barking, etc. Sure you get good responses at home but our dogs lose it at class.

In my years of owning GSDs, I find you're always hit with something. You try your best but at times feel lost & like you have no control. I currently now have an 9 month old puppy with high drive & losing his focus in a agility class but fairly good in obed class. He's a whiner. 8/ The more he amps, the more he whines & I'm seeking ways to deal with this? 8/////

I practice constantly impulse control at home. If he's amped to get out of his crate, loading in & out of car, etc with whines, I wait him out to release. I find this has become a hard one in a agility setting, even getting in & out of class with other dogs excitement. Mainly whining but will on occasion blurt out a bark. I know I need the control & focus, but overwhelmed at the moment. 8/

He's only my 2nd GSD training as a pup to do show type stuff.

So, while I know young, I'm hoping to get him where he can be balanced & not so jacked all the time if possible.

Thanks for any suggestions, help, links, ect!

PS. Crating is not always an option & imo, they need to learn control working & watching others. It's been a real hard one for me with my older girl too!

Thank ya......

dogma13 01-22-2016 11:28 AM

What do you think about going to a class just to sit on the sidelines and observe?Do whatever it takes to get your dog to relax for a few minutes,then a short walk outside,back ringside to relax,repeat.

LuvourGSDs 01-22-2016 11:52 AM

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I started this with him some before putting him in agility class. He was great, laid right out on the course, clicked & treated for watching me, not 1 whine from him. It seems we hit this age thing maybe? Maybe the arousal of all dogs moving in class, their energy? We're into only class 4 of his own classes & found this super amps him. 8(
Even getting into the building. Trying to work his attention, etc but....... that's why I decided to post. 8/ Thanks

gaia_bear 01-22-2016 12:02 PM

I have the same problem but in a different venue.

IF he doesn't give me what I'm asking I've put him back in the car before and tried again. It's been a long long battle with lots and lots of patience but it's paying off.

He's learned he doesn't get to work until he's quiet.

dogma13 01-22-2016 12:09 PM

Well hopefully someone will chime in with a solution that worked for them.None of my dogs are super high drive so I'm no help at all:)

LuvourGSDs 01-22-2016 01:57 PM

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Yeah, in agility class I don't have that option to put him away. I found also in obed class when in a down beside me & he would whine, a few times I popped & released with a correction sayin, no quite (he knows speak & quiet difference) but found he would whine & as I looked down to correct, he would be looking up so I now feel this was giving him attention. 8/ So been mixed on correcting vs ignoring in obed class?

With agility he so amped that I try to keep him engaged with moving, focus work, play, tricks, but he still whines, gets a tad better as class goes on but does. I totally feel like a big class distraction plus an ass of an out out control GSD. 8/

You like the drive but ya *need* that balance!

TwoBigEars 01-22-2016 02:04 PM

I've been there! Still sort of there! :P

For some dogs, just laying there watching might work. For others, this will just make it worse as they get more and more frustrated watching the other dogs. With a dog that tends to over-arouse in the agility environment, you also don't want to teach them to stare at other dogs doing agility.

Regarding crating not being an option, it really needs to be an option. Dogs need downtime to relax and decompress, rather than always being "on" during the whole class. With a dog like this (and I have one) it is must easier to manage if you can do your turn, then put the dog back in his crate to relax. Preferably the crate will be covered will be covered, or in a car or quiet room away from the action.

Second option would be bringing a small bed or mat for the dog to lay on, but this won't allow their mind to really have a break as much as a crate.

Also working on the dog's entrance behavior. i.e. he needs to be calm and not pulling to get into the training space. This can be frustrating and take a long time, but once it starts to click it will become much easier as the dog knows the expectation. You can also break it up into accepting small steps of walking quietly, bust out the tug and tug him the rest of the way in there. Same thing on the way to starting an exercise. No pulling or barking to the startline. And this is where a crate really helps again, because if the pulling/barking is just out of control, sorry dog you lost your turn, back in the crate. This really helped my crazy guy.

You'll also need your instructor on board with this. As well as understanding that for a while, you might be paying for agility classes but not getting the opportunity to actually do much agility if you're not getting the calm behavior that you want. I had to do that for a while too. Sucks to feel like wasting money like that, but it does pay off in the long run.

Sorry for the long response, but that is really what it takes with this issue. No quick fix, just lots of patience and consistency that being a nutcase does not earn the opportunity to do agility.

Your other option is to be like Silvia Trkman and not care at all and just let the dog be a nutcase. Haha.

TwoBigEars 01-22-2016 02:10 PM

Another thing since you're doing obedience-

With my crazy nutcase we took a break from agility and went to competition obedience for a while. This was actually a great thing and has increased his control. Lots of work with focus, control, and eye contact for what he wants. These behaviors also need to be worked under arousal, teaching the dog how to think while super-aroused. Easy enough for us to practice since all it really takes to send him through the roof is a toy. He can now do a focused heel into an agility space, which was one of my goals.

I will say that Shade Whitesel's drives & control online classes at Fenzi Academy were a huge part of this. She does a lot of work with crazy-type GSDs and I got more good out of her than anybody else.

LuvourGSDs 01-22-2016 02:49 PM

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Hey there, thank you & NO problem with your reply, I would rather a long reply, than NO reply! 8)

Good points! He is not allowed to pull me! I just would like the whining & excitement under control, you feel overwhelmed with an unruly dog. 8/ I thought about no agility for him but also feel, how's he to learn if I do not do with him? 8/

LuvourGSDs 01-22-2016 03:12 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/

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