Clean Run - November 2012 - 54

ing plan in the new environment and he will quickly work through it. Proceed slowly through acclimation to the trial site and entering matches—rushing the dog into competition could do more damage than good. When you do start to compete, choose the trial site wisely to minimize triggers and set the dog up for success. Start with small, fun bits of courses. Don’t try to run full courses and definitely don’t think about a Q or a win yet. Building the dog’s confidence and eliminating worry will lead to many more opportunities for Qs and wins. You might still have to manage triggers and use counterconditioning in the close quarters of a trial, and some dogs will need that behavioral support for the rest of their lives. Create an environment rich in good associations and positive reinforcement, and the dog will blossom.

the teeter that he would create when he was on the obstacle. I used a chair to hold up one end of the teeter so the other end was less than an inch off the ground. I raised his arousal with tugging, then brought him close to the teeter. When he touched it with one foot and caused it to bang, I presented him with a bowl of peanut butter. And that was our entire training session. We spend many months counterconditioning noises in a variety of different places—patience is the key to this; you simply cannot rush the dog and there is no timeline for success. Separately from the noise worry, I taught Export a variety of fun, simple behaviors as well as tons of self-control games. When he looked more relaxed around the noise and the worry appeared to have dissipated, I was able to meld these games into his training for a smooth transition into operant conditioning. als, I kept him far from the ring with the buzzers, except for specific counterconditioning sessions. In these sessions, I would hang out 10' or 20' from the ring. Whenever the buzzer sounded, I would either hand Export his favorite treats or get him tugging on his favorite toy. As soon as the buzzer was done, I withdrew the treats and toy. Export was also extremely fearful of the noise made by the teeter banging. I broke down his teeter training to first deal with the fear of the noise by “opening the bar” whenever he heard a teeter bang, at trials or at classes. I had to start him 30' away at first in order to get him to eat the treats or play with his toy. Thanks to counterconditioning, he was quickly able to move closer to the loud banging. Also, I shaped him to play tug on a wobble board that banged a little when it moved, and then I took that wobble board to a variety of different situations so it could make noise on a variety of different floors. When Export was showing more confidence, I started working on the bang of Over time, I was able to build up his training to eliminate the noise worry and build up his trial and teeter skills. He can now successfully compete in even the loudest, craziest trial environments as well as live a normal life without being worried by noises.

Case Study: Noise Worry
As a puppy, my BC/JRT mix Export was extremely worried about noises. Any loud noise (door slamming, raised voices, x-pens being put away, teeter banging, gamble buzzers, whistles, even the electronic timing system “ready” voice at trials) would cause him to tuck his tail and try to flee. I recognized this very early in his life since his body language was very clear, so my training plan specifically dealt with the noise worry rather than trying to force agility skills. I never left the puppy unsupervised in situations where he would experience loud noises without me around to work on counterconditioning. When Export was any place that could potentially have the loud noises that worried him, I did my best to always be prepared by having treats and his favorite toys with me. I also identified his triggers and made sure he was never really close to them until he was ready. For example, I knew that a gamble buzzer was very scary for him, so when we were at tri-

In Conclusion
Again, be sure to get complete veterinary check-ups for any dog experiencing worry or fear. Export had a major setback at approximately 18 months of age, where the teeter noise was suddenly terrifying all over again and other noises were provoking fear responses as well. There was nothing in his training that would have caused it, so I took him for a complete veterinary checkup. It turned out that he had a massive bladder infection. We stopped all training (so there would be no association of pain with the noises) and treated the infection. When the infection cleared up, he resumed training with confidence and without worry. D

Tracy Sklenar is the training director at Leader of the Pack (www.lotp.com) in Smyrna, New York, and on the faculty of Agility University (www.agility-u.com). Tracy specializes in positive, motivational techniques for all dogs. Competing throughout North America and in Europe, both with her own dogs and as a coach, she has had multiple placements and wins at Regional and National events, as well as medals at international events with teams she has managed/coached. Tracy shares her life with six dogs: Pierce and Samson (Dalmatians), Rebound (Rat Terrier), Export (BC/JRT mix), Matrix (BC/SBT mix), and Crusher (Papillon). Contact her at agilitydals@yahoo.com.

54

Clean Run | November 12


http://www.lotp.com http://www.agility-u.com

Clean Run - November 2012

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

Clean Run - November 2012
Contents
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 - Clean Run - November 2012
Clean Run - November 2012 - 2
Clean Run - November 2012 - Contents
Clean Run - November 2012 - 4
Clean Run - November 2012 - Editorializing: Sportsmanship Is Not Just About Being Nice
Clean Run - November 2012 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run - November 2012 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility...
Clean Run - November 2012 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run - November 2012 - 9
Clean Run - November 2012 - 10
Clean Run - November 2012 - 11
Clean Run - November 2012 - The Four Agreements
Clean Run - November 2012 - 13
Clean Run - November 2012 - 14
Clean Run - November 2012 - 15
Clean Run - November 2012 - Power Paws Drills: Working Opposites
Clean Run - November 2012 - 17
Clean Run - November 2012 - 18
Clean Run - November 2012 - Training with the Stars: Jeannette Hutchison
Clean Run - November 2012 - 20
Clean Run - November 2012 - 21
Clean Run - November 2012 - 22
Clean Run - November 2012 - 23
Clean Run - November 2012 - What’s in Your Toolbox?
Clean Run - November 2012 - 25
Clean Run - November 2012 - 26
Clean Run - November 2012 - 27
Clean Run - November 2012 - 28
Clean Run - November 2012 - 29
Clean Run - November 2012 - Being a Good Student, Part 1
Clean Run - November 2012 - 31
Clean Run - November 2012 - Analyze This!
Clean Run - November 2012 - 33
Clean Run - November 2012 - 34
Clean Run - November 2012 - 35
Clean Run - November 2012 - 36
Clean Run - November 2012 - 37
Clean Run - November 2012 - Tips for Weave Pole Entries
Clean Run - November 2012 - 39
Clean Run - November 2012 - 40
Clean Run - November 2012 - 41
Clean Run - November 2012 - 42
Clean Run - November 2012 - 43
Clean Run - November 2012 - Not a Practice Dog Anymore
Clean Run - November 2012 - 45
Clean Run - November 2012 - The 2-Minute Warm-up
Clean Run - November 2012 - 47
Clean Run - November 2012 - 48
Clean Run - November 2012 - 49
Clean Run - November 2012 - The Worrier: Solutions for the Dog That Is Worried or Afraid
Clean Run - November 2012 - 51
Clean Run - November 2012 - 52
Clean Run - November 2012 - 53
Clean Run - November 2012 - 54
Clean Run - November 2012 - What Is a Ketschker Turn?
Clean Run - November 2012 - 56
Clean Run - November 2012 - 57
Clean Run - November 2012 - 58
Clean Run - November 2012 - 59
Clean Run - November 2012 - Agility Mind Gym: Persistence and Determination
Clean Run - November 2012 - 61
Clean Run - November 2012 - Building Blocks: Building a Better Lead-out
Clean Run - November 2012 - 63
Clean Run - November 2012 - 64
Clean Run - November 2012 - 65
Clean Run - November 2012 - 66
Clean Run - November 2012 - 67
Clean Run - November 2012 - 68
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