Clean Run - June 2012 - (Page 62)

© DIANE LEWIS PHOTOGRAPHY Solutions and Answers – Shy & Overwhelmed By Leslie McDevitt MLA, CPDT, CDBC, photos by Lynne Brubaker ® My new puppy is very shy. I think that doing agility will ultimately help her gain confidence, but I think she’s too shy to start agility classes. Are there things I can do to prepare my dog for what she will encounter in class? When people describe their dog as “shy” they generally mean the dog is on the shut-down end of the spectrum when under stress, and tends to hide or avoid a stressful situation. Some of these dogs just need a little time to acclimate and they come out of their shell, but others are chronically shy and need some extra help. Control Unleashed is full of ways to encourage a dog to feel comfortable and confident about work, but the first thing that comes to my mind when asked about helping a shy dog is target training. friends, you can take them—and those nice feelings associated with them—anywhere. It’s like a kid taking her teddy bear to the first day of kindergarten. What are some targets I can use to make the environment more reasonable for my dog? Any object that your dog interacts with is a target. For example I always use crates in Control Unleashed (CU) classes, and a crate becomes an important target for the dogs in my classes. Many of these dogs beginning CU classes are there because they are worried, excitable, distracted, or stressed so they are met with a series of targets immediately upon entering the training space. The Challenge of a New Environment Whether it’s the first night of class in a new space, or the first night of class in an old space but with new dogs and handlers and a new instructor, a shy dog may feel overwhelmed and not ready for work until he gets comfortable with the newness factor. And, of course, a trial is even more challenging than class. Nothing helps take the edge off the newness factor like target training. Why? Because targets give the dog something familiar and easily transportable that “reframes” a new space as “just another place to move from target to target.” When targets feel familiar and reliable like old 62 Reorienting The first target is you. CU dogs learn to turn around and face the handler upon entering a training space (this exercise is called “reorienting”). Rather than walking with the handler straight into the classroom and getting sucked into whatever is happening in the room, I have dogs learn to immediately whip around and make contact with their handler first as a sort of “anchor.” Once the dog has done this, the handler takes the dog straight to his station. Clean Run | June 12

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - June 2012

Clean Run - June 2012
Editorializing: The Other Bank Account
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility
Backyard Dogs
Awesome Paws Drills: Skills Checklist, Part 3
On the Road Again: Safety Measures for Driving with Your Dog
Challenges for Rising Stars
Proofing Your Dog’s Weave Pole Performance
Knowledge Equals Speed! Positive Training Routines
Analyze This!
Perfecting Nutrition for Performance Dogs
Why Dogs Sniff and What to Do About It
Building Blocks: Building Skills Around the Tunnel
From Hoof to Woof: What Riders Can Teach Handlers
New & Common Therapies for Treating Injuries in the Canine Athlete
Agility Mind Gym: Visualization
Control Unleashed Solutions and Answers: Shy & Overwhelmed

Clean Run - June 2012