Author Topic: How would you handle this?  (Read 1605 times)

How would you handle this?
« on: March 28, 2017, 11:55:21 AM »
My male BC is doing very well with agility but he is so intense when running a course or just a few elements of a course he jumps up and grabs my shirt. He is also a massive "screamer" on the course or when we are working another dog and he is kenneled. His drive is great but he has become "over the top!"  My attempt to stop it is an abrupt stop of whatever we are doing, command lie down, and a firm verbal Agh-Agh!  If he does it second time it's game over and no more agility for an hour or so. It's not working tho. And should I insist the yipping/screaming stop?  I was told that indicatesvs dog that is frustrated but I've seen some amazingly efficient dogs do this and I've never seen their handlers try to stop it. Help! 
Suzanne Milleson

BeckyAH

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Re: How would you handle this?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2017, 06:49:11 AM »
My baby dog used to do the grabbing thing.  MY response was that every time she made even an attempt to grab me, I acted as though she were requesting a time out in her crate.  No harshness, no emotion, just 'OK!' and into the (portable) crate I brought along for that purpose, and 15 minutes of ignoring her.

Took about 2 days for her to get it.

The screaming thing, I would absolutely try to stop - frustration isn't really useful to you and it is burning energy and stressing him out. How you stop it, on the other hand, I don't know.  More distance, covered crate, crating in the car (this is my solution), sitting with him - whatever.  There are a lot of variables there but I would not just be saying 'dog is high drive so it does this'.   I'd at least try to find a way to help the dog rest, relax, and chill out.

And not drive OTHER dogs and people insane.

dogrsqr

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Re: How would you handle this?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2017, 07:09:35 AM »
I don't think the screaming itself means the dog is frustrated, but the grabbing either indicates the dog is frustrated or unclear on what it needs to do.  The screaming/barking can mean frustration if it's directed at you.  Some dogs just yell because they enjoy it.  You need to stop the grabbing/nipping at you or you'll be eliminated at a minimum.  Not sure where you live or who you're training with but you might need to focus on being more clear with your handling or may need to use reward away from you to change the dogs focus (mark buckets/targets).  I think it's pretty hard to make specific suggestions without being able to watch what is happening.

My first agility dog was not very forgiving and got frustrated with me a lot.  Sharon helped to work us thru it.  I would look for someone in your area that has a really good understanding of dogs, behavior, and agility handling to help you thru it. 

Gina Pizzo
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Edraith

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Re: How would you handle this?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2017, 07:32:51 AM »
Frozen PB filled kong bones and such help the quiet in crate.
Id also cover the crate. Mine gets amped up if other dogs are working, but only if she can see them.
Maybe try to make a routine of being in crate means its covered and get pb kong or such to chew on, as if mouh is busy its hard to scream or bark!
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TheQuestKnight

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Re: How would you handle this?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2017, 12:42:53 PM »
Hi Suzanne!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Do I ever feel your pain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My wife and I both worked with HIGH DRIVE, AMPED and EASILY FRUSTRATED Border Collies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Even though our BCs have been rescues, they ALL have had "over-the-top" herding instinct and VERY HIGH DRIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We tried EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

.....................and I will NOT lie to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  NOTHING made a huge difference; but the combination of some small things, made things "tolerable"............................

There are many, many BCs that excel at agility because their handlers have been able to teach them that agility is their JOB, as well as teaching them to have an "on" and an "off" switch.

................and then there are BCs like ours.....................ALL of ours would have been far happier working sheep on a farm; but we live in northeast Ohio, so they learned about agility as a substitute herding job.  We did put all of them on sheep to test their instinct and such; but we simply could NOT get them on sheep often enough to satisfy them.............................and I sincerely believe that is what is happening with your boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FWIW, and only based on your post, I'm pretty sure that your boy LOVES agility!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm also positive that he would like nothing better than to please "his girl", aka YOU.......................and do NOT discount the boy-girl interaction thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

...................but I do sense that he is frustrated that while on course, he's NOT getting information from you as fast as he can accept and process it.  DO NOT feel bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It's DAMN HARD to keep up with a BC brain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll admit to be being a combination hard-arse and softie-at-heart.  OK...................jumping at me and nipping when the dog is frustrated, for whatever reason, is UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  On sheep, we would just smack the ground in front of the dog with our crook........................or smack him on the muzzle with our hand, if he was close enough.

I do NOT condone physical abuse; but I'm totally in favor of a well-placed "slap" on the offending part of the dog's body, along with a STERN "What the hell do you think you're doing???", accompanied by a Frankenstein-like "hover-over" of the dog that basically puts the dog into a submissive posture.................................

Once the dog has regained it's composure, I'm TOTALLY WILLING, judge/instructor permitting, to continue on the course....................and to let my dog have fun...................................and to repeat the correction, if and when it becomes neccessary.

If you want your dog to enjoy agility, I simply do not see the logic in withholding agility from him when he's trying to learn how to please you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It's a two-way street........................it can't be "all on him"
 to acclimate to you...........................you MUST meet him half-way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Screaming in the crate...........................covering the crate helps........................so does crating in your vehicle with the A/C and radio on to "mask" the trial noise.......................

From a nutritional aspect, the ADRENALINE RUSH from the run, crate screaming, et al. just play hell with many of the body's systems........................so giving your boy some carbohydrates before and after his run can help A LOT............................all that needed is one Lorna Doone shortbread cookie, or equivalent, before and after his run.  The calories will be burned off in no time at all; but the sugar and fats will help to balance his BRAIN.  If he likes fruit, add a chunk or apple, pear, kiwi, strawberry, a few blueberries, etc........................

We also found that some of the Tellington T-Touch calming therapies helped quite a bit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One thing that was absent from your post.......................does your boy have any girls that you leave at home??????????????????

If your boy is their alpha male, if the girls stay at home, that puts your boy under TREMENDOUS STRESS because he can't be sure that his girls/pack-mates are protected!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know that many others on this list will disagree with me; but everything that you are experiencing has precious little to do with agility, agility training or that kind of stuff.  IMHO, it has EVERYTHING to do with putting your dog in a relaxed environment......................and that may start 2 or 3 days in advance of the trial!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Lastly.........................and as much as I HATE to write this, not all BCs are "cut-out" to be agility dogs....................sure, they have the athletic ability and the intelligence; but are they willing to subject their own desires to yours???  This is a VERY IMPORTANT question to answer if there are other dogs in the house, aka his pack...........................and IF he is alpha.....................either by default (the only male in the house) or if he's earned it..........................is he willing to take orders/direction from you????????????????????

I don't know.....................we started playing the agility game way back in the agility "dark ages" with Bud Kramer and NDAC................................and agility has gone through many changes since then, some good..................some, well....................not so much...........................

FWIW, I've gotten old and philosophical now................................"Don't sweat the small stuff.............because it's all small stuff".............................

We've had and lived with BCs for most of our lives......................and whenever they're barking, nipping, running circles around you or whatever, they are doing their very best to communicate something to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  When they bite or nip, that means that you really have NOT been paying attention to THEIR NEEDS, so while you need to inhibit the bite behavior quickly, you also need to take a few steps back and analyze what your dog has been trying to tell you.........................

Sometimes, what is needed is a 6-12 month break from training and agility to let you and your dog grow together, bond, remember how to play without artificial restrictions and just have a "reset"...........................

We do NOT have any "answers".........................just experiences........................and the knowledge gained to realize that on any given run on any given day, if you and your dog do the BEST THAT YOU CAN DO......................even when it sucks to every one else......................you and your dog could have done NO BETTER THAN YOUR COLLECTIVE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It's simply not logical to ask for more than that from either of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There was a great line from Chief Dan George in "The Outlaw Josey Wales"......................"Endeavor to persevere!"..............................so very true with BCs that frustrate you and push you to your limits...........................because NO dog or human will ever teach you more...........................you just have to be willing to learn from them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All our best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Castle Camelot.................Al & Barb Ceranko, Pelli, Katie & Lily
Castle Camelot: Al, Barb, Dred, Gael & Pellinore . . . and from The Bridge Grill & Pub,  Kali, Flurry, Promise, Chico, Romulus, Trix and Tony.

Rosemary

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Re: How would you handle this?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2017, 07:51:05 AM »
 "Thequestknight" that was a really great response.  Lots of good insight, no judgement and very supportive.

 I have a high drive sheltie that is going to make me the best handler ever.   :)  He has challenged me in nearly every way possible and once we overcome one thing, he comes up with another.  When on course he has only an on switch.  No off until the course is "conquored".  He grunts as he completes the obstacles and gets very annoyed if I slow him down.  He jumps at me if I get in his space so I am working on distance handling.  I have found that giving him more space also allows me to give information quicker.  This is a benefit for both of us.

He has nipped at me and learned very quickly that if he does that all the fun stops.  I do have to be careful with his drive.  Once he is over the top, we stop.  He is unable to process directions and I don't want him to fail.  We go for a walk and chill.  It is very important to understand that we need to accommodate their needs as much as we expect them to meet ours.

As far as crating, sometimes the energy at a trial is too much for a dog and they relax better in the car.  Many handlers do this.  I run multiple dogs and keep them together in a pen that is completely covered.  This seems to help keep my boys quiet. 

Keep things in perspective.  Any small accomplishment really isn't small and it should be celebrated.  Our dogs are never with us long enough and their main goal is to make their human proud of them.

Good luck and enjoy the journey.

Amy McGovern

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Re: How would you handle this?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2017, 08:27:10 AM »
Thanks for the frozen kong idea!  I have a schnauzer who can be a bit loud in her crate especially when her sisters are having a turn (agility makes her more frantic than other sports but she still gets jealous).  We are going to a rally show this weekend and I've been worried about how to handle her since I'm essentially the entire Novice A class so I'll be frantically switching out dogs.  I've just stuffed my first frozen kong and will hope it helps her settle when it isn't her turn!  If that works, hopefully it helps at agility too!   I already keep her crate covered but that doesn't help much. It always helped her sisters but she just doesn't seem to care about the cover.  Her sisters (all older!) have learned to settle and someday she will too but I bet this helps :)

-Amy
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TheQuestKnight

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Re: How would you handle this?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2017, 09:35:18 AM »
Hi once more, Suzanne!!!!!!!!!!

Just some other random thoughts in no particular order that you may or may not find helpful.............

Very few dogs will learn all of the various performance aspects of agility at the same time, nor will they enjoy all of the various classes equally.  For some, as in all of ours, stopping on a contact was a request that was NOT going to happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  They even found slowing down "distasteful".........................and thankfully, Sharon removed the teeter from NADAC because our kids thought that the purpose for the teeter was to serve as a "launch assist obstacle" and that the teeter performance was judged on the height and distance achieved on the dismount!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Many BCs have wicked senses of humor....................some are even borderline "evil". <G>  It doesn't take them all that long, especially if they have chutzpah and ring presence to know that the spotlight is on THEM.................and not you..........................and you will often be the "set up" for the "prime time performer/comedian" to WOW his fans!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ......................... and if "fans" laugh at his antics, it only makes it harder for you..................and easier for him, so sometimes you just have know when to go along for the ride..................and let you boy get his "fix"........................

When this behavior is relatively consistent, as it is/was with ours, we FINALLY came to the realization that our dogs KNEW what do, how to do it.....................and more often than not, had timely enough information from us to do it............................they simply CHOSE "instant gratification" for themselves instead of pleasing us!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As for class selection, as you are working your way through negotiations to come to some sort of agreement with your boy when you're in the ring, choose only the classes that he REALLY LOVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!  For us it was ALWAYS Tunnelers......................and sometimes Jumpers.......................my late BC Kali LOVED jumpers; but she could knock a bar if it was laying on the ground!!!!!!!!!!!!! <LOL>  These classes permit dogs to run "full out"................and even when they go off course, they do NOT care!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.....................and if you're quick enough to direct them on a path to get them back on course, they get a few more obstacle performances, you still have sequences to be successful on........................and much to CELEBRATE when your TEAM run is over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMHO, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many instructors and handlers put waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much importance on qualifying.......................and placing as high as possible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It seems to me that a "team" goal for dog & handler should be to improve a little......................no matter how miniscule "a little" is, each time in the ring...........................or to succeed at a 2 or more obstacle sequence...........................or to get a good contact performance..............................anything after that should be considered "icing on the cake"!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't care how many "O-fer" days you have at trials.....................that is NOT the measure of your success!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Just being at the start line with a partner of another species who is willing to work with you........................and you with him...........................in spite of all of the faults and idiosyncracies that you both have, is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Just think of how many of the general public are impressed, even your run is a technical disaster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  OK, they're usually impressed because it was ENTERTAINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Perfect runs are just soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If we only had a penny for every time we heard how entertaining our dogs were!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We could have retired earlier!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <LOL>

All of that said, there will come days where there is a course that flows in a manner that your boy likes..............................that suits the way that he wants you to handle him........................and if there is a really accurate BC running ahead of you.........................let him watch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  BCs learn so much from other BCs.........................and by the time you get to the start line, don't be the least bit surprised if he has the course "memorized"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Seen it happen way too many times for it to be mere coincidence!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..........................and then EVERYONE will be in "awe" with jaws on the ground.....................wanting to know your "secret" for "turning your dog around"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Trust me, they will NOT believe you if you tell them that "we just caught *our course*".........................they'll know that you discovered a secret and don't want to share it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <G>

My first agility dog, Kali, originally named Ceiledh....................or something like that and pronounce Kalee.......................TOTALLY fit her moniker of Kali........................or Kali-maa from Indiana Jones.....................the Goddess of Death, Destruction and Rebirth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Kali could easily accumulate more faults on a course than she spent seconds running it.........................and she could destroy jumps like nobody's business...........................and she could complain LOUDLY about my crappy handling......................garning more than our share of "cautions" regarding her almost being out-of-control and what NADAC would consider to be "aggressive".  I made and bought a lot of agility equipment so we could work on handling, sequences and stuff to the extent that our 4,500 square foot agility yard would permit...........................and over time, I really learned that she was a DEAD "counter-clockwise" runner, which made right turns and right curves difficult for her....................and that she would ONLY do weave poles if I was "off-side".........................and she preferred that I give her LARGE, cross-body signals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So trying to work with Kali with a "traditionalist" instructor only frustrated Kali and me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So we did it all on our own...........................and we eventually figured it out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   While Kali excelled with ribbons and awards in another registry, it was NADAC that we both REALLY LOVED, because in NADAC, we truly learned how to work as a team because of the demands for complete accuracy combined with speed!  Kali also earned some titles and extended titles in NADAC; but the biggest benefit was that we became closer as "Dad & Daughter"...........................

My wife's first dog, Flurry, aka "Shining Moment" was Kali's older half-brother by two years.........................and ATTITUDE had very strong genes in that line!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Flurry was DEAD clockwise, an on-side weaver; but like his younger sister, he liked getting his body language signals the "wrong way"........................OK, both Kali and Flurry were alpha dogs.........................alpha female and alpha male........................so "wrong signals", being larger and more demonstrative, were more in keeping with what the alpha dog needs in order to know that "Yes, that's what I meant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  I guess one of the best things about Flurry was his "formal name", Shining Moment, a reference to the closing scene in Lerner & Loewe's Camelot when Arthur refers to some of the droplets in the ocean that really do sparkle, Pelli, they do sparkle............................that one brief shining moment that was known as Cam-el-lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It really all comes down to "Is your glass half-empty or half-full?"  Focus on the negative, and negative things will continue to happen.  Focus on the positives, no matter how small, and CELEBRATE them RAUCOUSLY with your boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He'll soon understand that even though he's been a bit of a brat, he IS a BC after all, that you still love him, that you'll still feed him; and that he still has a safe, secure home and a medical plan!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Given all of the success that Kali and I enjoyed in another registry, it took us over a year to earn our first 10 qualifying points in NADAC..................................and those 10 points meant............and mean..............more to me than all of her other "award stuff" combined.  NADAC "forced" us to learn how to work and live as a true team!!!

You and your boy will figure out the path that best suits your journey...........................and it will be YOUR path and YOUR journey...............................and not one that someone else sets out for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trust me, enjoy ALL of the stuff that frustrates you on your journey, for those WILL become your fondest memories!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hugs & wags,

Al, Barb, Pelli(nore), Katie & Lily     
Castle Camelot: Al, Barb, Dred, Gael & Pellinore . . . and from The Bridge Grill & Pub,  Kali, Flurry, Promise, Chico, Romulus, Trix and Tony.

Amanda Nelson

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Re: How would you handle this?
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2017, 12:24:31 PM »
Hi Suzanne!
    Without seeing him it is hard to say exactly what is happening, he very well could be frustrated or could be an over-arousal issue.  (Impulse control and over arousal are two VERY different things, and require different training approaches.)

I would highly recommend taking a class, or maybe a private lesson (she offers them online also) with Sarah Stremming. Most all of her focus is with "worked up" and dogs who are in a state of over-arousal.  Her website is: https://thecognitivecanine.com/about/

Fenzi Dog Sports Academy also offers quite a few classes that deal with impulse control, over-arousal, and reactivity. So that might be worth looking into as well. :-)  https://fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/schedule-and-syllabus

~Amanda
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My male BC is doing very well with agility but he is so intense when running a course or just a few elements of a course he jumps up and grabs my shirt. He is also a massive "screamer" on the course or when we are working another dog and he is kenneled. His drive is great but he has become "over the top!"  My attempt to stop it is an abrupt stop of whatever we are doing, command lie down, and a firm verbal Agh-Agh!  If he does it second time it's game over and no more agility for an hour or so. It's not working tho. And should I insist the yipping/screaming stop?  I was told that indicatesvs dog that is frustrated but I've seen some amazingly efficient dogs do this and I've never seen their handlers try to stop it. Help! 
Suzanne Milleson
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merinda

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Re: How would you handle this?
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2017, 01:18:38 PM »
I absolutely agree with Amanda. I audited the class she mentioned above and it was eye-opening.

Sarah also has an incredible podcast that I suggest everyone listen to. It's called Cog Dog Radio.

Merinda

Re: How would you handle this?
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2017, 07:53:32 PM »
Thank you ALL for your advice. I so look forward to trying some of the suggestions and will contact Sarah for a consult. I love her podcasts!  I WILL find a way for me and my lil man to work through this.
Suzanne

RobertStewart

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Re: How would you handle this?
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2017, 08:04:06 AM »
OMG I have a couple of students dealing with this exact issue! It's mostly an Over arousal issue because they are so very excited to do agility. What I've found the most effective with dogs that go from 0 to Psycho in .006 secs, is to (using my soft New Age guru voice) Enter into your Zen Handler Brain! Or as one of my students calls it  "Zombie Handler Mode" It's really easy to try to out-intense a high drive border collie, sheltie, JRT, or any other breed or mix! This is usually where we go first! To see how the dog responds. About 90% of the time, this really is effective.
I find some dogs, like some people,  are simply very vocal and like to make a lot of noise when they're running. I personally wonder how they can run fast, make noise and breathe all at once. Sometimes the most important behavior on the part of the Handler, is Non-reactivity.  (my personal biggest challenge)
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How would you handle this?
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2017, 11:42:23 AM »
Can't say enough good things about Sarah Stremming. I did not know of her before this thread started, but I checked out Cog Dog podcast and was hooked. I really like her concept of "behavioral wellness", rather than trying to "fix" individual behaviors.

One of her podcasts is focused on barking during performance, so that may be of interest.

Kim
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 01:34:13 PM by Team Twodog »
Kim