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Old 09-13-2012, 08:39 PM
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Laurelin Laurelin is offline
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Help? Please! My dog is driving me a little insane... and it's not the dog that is jumping to your mind.

I swear Summer's brain has fallen out lately.

I need to preface this with some background info. As you know, Summer is an 8 year old papillon. She and I are no strangers to classes. We've done a lot together. 1 1/2 years of agility training and some fun tricks and obedience classes, some rally. She's therapy dog certified (by her old owner). She has always loved training classes, always done well. She is a dream around the house. We go off leash walking ALL the time. She does fine.

I decided to start her up in agility just for grins. We're starting over, just finished her pre agility class. Her old classes before were with trainers that lacked experience so they were basically obstacles only. No real foundation work. We're going back and re-doing foundation work.

Tonight's class... oy. on the one hand we introduced jumps to the dogs and she did great. Flew over them all well. Held her stays well. She didn't miss a beat.

On the other hand... my dog has turned into a crazy dog at agility. This is a sudden change, she did NOT act like this at rally a few months ago. She didn't even act like this at the first few classes in pre-agility. Each class we take in agility she gets more and more and more amped up.

What I mean... We get to class and first thing she does is start jumping up and down as high and fast as possible. She continues on doing the pogo stick the entire class. She is lunging on the end of her leash when other dogs work. She is lunging to try to grab the reward when it's not her turn (Of course I am holding her on the leash all the time). If someone praises another dog, her brain melts and she must try to go over and see them. Recall? What's that? She's never heard of it before. If she and I are doing shaping exercises (we were going around a stool today) and she doesn't get it right away, she's starting to try to go to other people to see if they're more exciting. Off leash? Yeah it ain't happening. She worked perfectly for the trainer tonight once she stopped on me.

It's like her brain just went poof. At 8 years old.

I think there are a few things going on and my next step is what do I do this week to counter it?

1. Summer loooooooves people. Always has. Strangers are da bomb. We must meet them all. If a person talks to her or looks at her or smiles at her she wants to leave me. If someone WORKS with her then they're the best thing ever. My trainer has demoed with her a couple times. Afterwards, I notice she tries harder to leave me.

2. She had bad foundation work that we're trying to correct. So now we're doing drive building and I'm seeing a level of energy/intensity I did not know she had. But bad foundation work is there....

In many ways Mia is so much easier to work with because Mia hates everyone except me. She's not going to LEAVE me. So now I find myself trying to figure out how to be way more fun for Summer than everyone else in the room

What should I do to work on it? We're going to do basic recall work and some attention on me exercises. Following me around, etc. But the problem is we do that all the time at home and she's fine. We do that at the park and she's fine.

On the plus side, my little old dog is having a ball and is most definitely still spunky.
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Summer TG3 TIAD - (10 year old Papillon)
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:24 PM
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Oh and she has had a history of loving people too much for a while. But it's usually a blip on the radar like in rally one time she left the ring we were practicing in to go say hi to the instructor. But she usually comes back to her senses pretty quickly. Out and about lately we've run into more and more people that want to pet the dogs. I know each one of these meet and greets she gets the more it reinforces how awesome people are. But I don't want to ban her from getting to be petted by people while we're out at the store or on walks.

My dogs are polar opposites in this one aspect. I like the 'I hate people' attitude much better.
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Hank - (approx. 10 month old Spotty Dog)
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:44 PM
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Could you try upping her recall training? I know doing that made Kimma's focus like a thousand times better with everything. And maybe don't let her say hi to people while you're out walking/at stores? I know that can be difficult, but I noticed that letting Pentti say hi to people and other dogs while out on walks messed his training up badly. All he wanted to do then in class was say hi LOL. So I just don't let him any more. People have to come up to him, if that makes sense, and I release him by telling him to, "Go say hi." Other dogs are just not an option for on leash greetings any more at all. You can even just make it so she has to do some tricks for you or something before getting to say hi.

ETA - And I feel you on liking the "I hate you" attitude... I definitely like Kimma's aloof nature better when it comes to this stuff LOL. I'm totally glad she's not scared of people any more, but I'm happy with her not wanting to illicit attention from them. Though she does try to steal cookies if she knows you have some.... Little brat.......
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:50 PM
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I like those ideas. Hopefully I can get other people to follow them. I know me being pretty lax about who she meets and how she acts when she meets them is contributing to this. I'm definitely going to do some serious recall work with her. But generally I practice recalls at the park several times a week. I always have treats on me. She NEVER misses a recall at the park. She spends most her time glued to my leg waiting for the next cookie. She comes back to me much quicker than Mia does.

I think the main issue is that I have nothing of higher value to Summer than her getting to go see those people across the room. I don't really know how to make myself a higher value.
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:04 AM
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Okay so we've done one training session with her on stays and releases indoors this morning and she did very well. We're still having the issue where if I step too close to her, she pops up out of her stay and moves and sits somewhere else. She has an intense awareness of peoples' feet and does not want to accidentally be stepped on. But that's something we've been working on for a while now (decreasing my distance from her while she stays). But focus was good, she had a brain, and wasn't all distracted like last night.

We'll be working some more at the park hopefully this evening if it's not raining. I am just not sure how to recreate her level of excitement at agility class.
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:17 AM
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Can you bring a crate to class, and start giving her "time outs" for ditching you? The ideal set up would be if people in class will cooperate, and if you're comfortable with this, having the people she approaches say nothing to her and just walk her calmly to her crate. Then you go get her out, relieve her boredom, and she can go back to work. I realize that's a lot to ask of your classmates and I don't know how you feel about them handling her. So that said, the other option is for you to walk up to her her, saying nothing, and crate her. I just would rather you not make yourself part of the time-out equation unless necessary.

The other thing you can do is just ask everyone if they would freeze when Summer approaches, and turn into living statues. Make themselves as boring as possible. When she comes back to you, it's party and treat time.

I'd also ask that the trainer not demo her anymore. I'm sure she'll understand and agree if you explain why!
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:34 AM
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I agree with a lot of what's been said her. Kim and Web were both big distractodogs for a long time and there was no reward in the world better than saying hi to that person or dog or whatever. So I just stopped trying to compete and worked with it. You can only go say hi on cue (and at first they always got that permission) but you have to do what I want first. Starting as easy as needing to look at me to earn the okay...then sitting...then a longer sit...then doing a jump...then doing a jump heading straight AWAY from whoever you want to see...etc.

Takes a little time and you need cooperation from the folks there to totally ignore her or even say NO if she blows you off and goes for them...other than that it's like anything else, just start small and raise criteria.

Real world is the same thing...kids especially seem to "get it" and be great spontaneous helpers lol...stand there for me then when the puppy behaves they both get rewarded for acting appropriately since they get to interact
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:52 AM
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Thanks! I will definitely talk to the trainer and the other classmates too. I think they'd be willing to help if I explain it thoroughly to them. We do bring crates to class but not yesterday because I forgot about class till last minute so just was lucky to get the dog and treats.

I think I've been letting her reward herself by seeing people all the time just in real life and it's translating to people being more and more and more exciting in class. Even if my sister comes over to visit, Summer flat out ignores me to get attention from her. I'll be honest in that I didn't ever really think of letting her do this being a problem in training classes.

She works so well for other people. She does work well for me too but she bores if she doesn't know what to do and will just up and leave. So for the stay and the jumps she did well but the circling work she got confused and just shut down. I ended up leashing her and quitting after a bit because she was obviously not going to get anywhere with it.

We've been doing some race to reward stuff in class and Summer almost every time races past the food and to the trainer (who ignores her). She will then circle around and go to the food but only after the trainer is obviously going to be no fun.
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:04 AM
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Now I feel bad because I assumed this thread was going to be about Mia! LOL sorry Mia!
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:18 AM
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It's probably not anything you did per se, people are just really reinforcing for her. Which is great, any time a dog has a huge WANT then you can use that...just a matter of channeling that desire so it works for you instead of against you. No different then getting Mia to work for her tennis ball then even when she knows you don't have a tennis ball...or getting Kim to work when a her <3Malinois Boyfriend<3 (or any other Malinois that MIGHT be him) is present lol.
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MACH ARCHX U-CD Webster MXB MJB RL3/2X/1X-COE CGC -- Flying Houdini, b. ~Jun'07
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