Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our agility training

After our year and a half hiatus, I once again signed Skye up for classes, this was at a new facility which looked fantastic, rubber mats on the floors, climate controlled, full size courses.

We took 12wks of beginners obstacles class, went through contacts and some jump work (learning front crosses), Things were going great until our introduction to the building teeter, it was a metal teeter and it was LOUD, Skye was used to a boom board and went up and SMASHED it down like she always has, but this time it scared her to DEATH. Things just went downhill from there, we tried counter conditioning by giving her lots of treats when others banged the teeter but her anxiety only escalated. Then I thought she needed desensitization so we taped the teeter noise with my instructors dog, played it at home and Skye never even blinked, she would play ball, tug, all her tricks while it was playing full blast, Things at the building only got worse, she got to the point that she was shutting down when we pulled into the parking lot. During that time, I made a teeter at home and had no problems at all with her going over it, it was only the teeter at the indoor building she was afraid of.

After the 12wks of beginning obstacles we decided to take a break on group classes (sequences classes were next) and just work the building alone and make it all fun and no stress. This worked out fantastic. We would go to the building 2-3 times a week in the mornings when no one else was there and work on stuff and just play ball and frisbee. I decided to sign her up for the group sequencing class since she seemed over her issues with the building, I informed the instructor of Skye's teeter fears and she said no problem that I can take Skye out when they are working the teeter if needed.

For the first 3wks things went fantastic, on the 4th week we used the teeter, the instructor wanted to see what Skye's reaction to the teeter was exactly so she could help me with it. Of course Skye blazes over the teeter right away (not realizing it was the "scary" teeter) I caught it before it banged but she was a little freaked out. The instructor said to take her to the far side of the building and click and treat her when others went over the teeter, I was thinking to myself that I should just take her out of the building...but she seemed to be handling it okay at the time, she was still taking treats, and while she seemed a little stressed did not seem shut down.

After that night she refused to do agility for the next two weeks, I tried three times to take her to the building to play and each time she made it through the door then laid down and wouldn't get back up.

I decided at that point that we needed a break, and to start over at the beginning, I got the book Control Unleashed and we are going to work on that program for the next couple months and do some fun shaping exercises and just not even think about agility for a while, I may do some rally obedience when I think she is ready to go back to the building for group classes but that may be a while.

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