Clean Run - November 2012 - (Page 50)

© DIANE LEWIS PHOTOGRAPHY Solutions for the Dog That Is Worried or Afraid By Tracy Sklenar Not every canine is enthusiastic about new situations and places; in fact, many of them can be worried or downright afraid. Worried dogs are far more common in agility than we would like to admit, and these dogs need a different approach to their training. Never force a worrier to face his worries if he is displaying signs of stress, fear, or anxiety. Also, never use punishment in these situations—force and punishment will only make matters far worse. Instead, set aside your short-term competitive goals and desires and give the dog the help he is asking for. Be ready to embrace a training plan that might be a different journey than you expected, but the outcome can still be terrific! treatment; this can range from physical problems, such as injury or chronic problems, to diseases or illnesses where an increase in anxiety and worry is a symptom. However, even if there is no obvious medical reason, it is good to have a medical baseline from a veterinary professional before you begin your training. answers to these questions, but most of the time it’s just conjecture. You can identify triggers based on the dog’s reaction to them. Some of these reactions are very obvious—avoidance, tucked tail, pinned ears, growling—while some of the reactions are less obvious—sniffing, zooming, slowing down. Not all of these less obvious behaviors are based in worry, however, so be a keen observer of your dog’s behavior in different environments. Keep a written list of the triggers you have identified, as well as how close the trigger has to be in order for the dog to be worried about it. For example, strange men in hats are a common trigger for fear in agility dogs. We encounter this trigger a lot in the ring, as many judges are male and wear hats when outdoors. How close does the male judge have to be before the dog displays signs of fear or anxiety? Knowing if it is 10', 20', or 50' will play a role in your training plan. Clean Run | November 12 The Worrier Identify the Triggers To help the worrier enjoy his time in training and competition, we must try to figure out what is worrying him but we don’t need to spend time trying to get into his deep, innermost thoughts and feelings. For example, some dogs show fear or anxiety around loud noises or strange men. In this case we should tailor our training to address these specific issues, but we shouldn’t spend time wondering why the fear exists or what might have caused it in the first place. Sometimes there are easy Vet Check Modifying any behavior problem should always start with a thorough check-up and blood work from your veterinarian. Sometimes you will be able to find an underlying medical cause that can be easily cleared up with 50

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

Clean Run - November 2012
Editorializing: Sportsmanship Is Not Just About Being Nice
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility...
Backyard Dogs
The Four Agreements
Power Paws Drills: Working Opposites
Training with the Stars: Jeannette Hutchison
What’s in Your Toolbox?
Being a Good Student, Part 1
Analyze This!
Tips for Weave Pole Entries
Not a Practice Dog Anymore
The 2-Minute Warm-up
The Worrier: Solutions for the Dog That Is Worried or Afraid
What Is a Ketschker Turn?
Agility Mind Gym: Persistence and Determination
Building Blocks: Building a Better Lead-out

Clean Run - November 2012