Boy can I relate
to trying to work with a reactive dog in agility! My Farley (BC) is
the king of reactivity... but we're making tons of progress by doing
exactly what you've described.
in your second post that you need more opportunities to work around
other dogs. I thought I'd share a few ideas that have worked for me:
- Large chain
pet stores will let you bring your dog inside to train. You will often
meet lots of untrained dogs in these stores, but they are always on-leash.
I've found that certain times of the day have more dogs than others,
so experiment to find the right density of dogs for Eartha. I will
often go to a quiet back corner to work, or I'll work outside the
entrance so that I can control the distance from the other dogs.
- Fenced dog
parks can be useful. I never (rarely) actually go inside, but I can
work around the outside of the fence. It gives me an opportunity to
work around hyped up, loose dogs. The big drawback I've found to these
places is that most people let their dogs out of the car off-leash.
The dogs then run up to my dog and since the owner has no recall it
turns into a training problem. I tend to park near-by and leave the
back of my truck open. My dog has a great crate cue, so if I see a
car pull into the parking lot I crate him before they even get out.
- We have two
local obedience clubs that hold lessons in public places. I've started
going on their lesson nights and just working around the edges of
their classes. So far no one has had a problem with me. They are both
in dog dense areas, so I tend to blend in as part of the general public.
- I've found
that most instructors are really understanding about this kind of
problem. They usually are thrilled that you want to train through
it. I've spoken with a few instructors and they've allowed me to work
around the fringes of their more advanced classes for free. I do my
own thing and provide a sort of built-in distraction for their class.
Be very careful not to disrupt class if you get this priviledge. Always
keep your dog on-leash and be aware of how the other dogs in the class
are being affected by your presence.
Paying for another
obedience class for Eartha will work, but I thought I'd offer some free
options as well. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!
copyright 2002 Michele Stone
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