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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 2808
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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MY border collie is 5 years old and I do agility with him

Customer Question

MY border collie is 5 years old and I do agility with him but when I go to competitions with him he is over the top. Won't wait at the beginning and thinks he can do whatever he wants. Have tried a lot of things but needed some assistance please.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Hello,I'm Dr. Jo and I'm a licensed veterinarian with more than twenty years of experience. I'm here to help with your question about your border collie.I'm so sorry you're having this problem, but glad you're looking for the information you need. You may join the conversation at any time by typing in what you want to say then clicking REPLY or SEND. Then we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided. I'll do my best to earn your good rating, because that's the only way I receive any compensation for helping you.In order to help me help you better, I'll need a little more information. To start with, please tell me:What area of Australia are you located in?What trainer are you working with?How long have you been doing agility with him?I'll be standing by and awaiting your reply. Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Kallangur north of Brisbane
Instructors from my agility club and other agility instructors
trainng started at 12months
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Excellent. Please don't lose heart, even though you're having this very common problem right now. You're on the right track and I'm very hopeful you'll have success managing this problem. (typing more)
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Taking advantage of your local trainers is fantastic. I'm glad you're already doing that. Taking things to next level requires becoming your own expert, of sorts. There are some good DVDs and books you can read to help you accomplish that. First however, let's look at some specifics of what's going on with your pup... There could be a couple of reasons why he's behaving this way: --lack of focus --fear/over-stimulation --lots of drive Depending upon which it is, the appropriate answer is different. For lack of focus, check out the Deb Jones books and DVD's "In-focus." Do a lot of shadow handling and flatwork first. Expose him at a distance and work on focus/control. Don't do leadouts. Don't ask him to wait at the start line--walk on up and then GO!!! For fear/over-stimulation, check out Leslie McDevitt's book "Control Unleashed." Do the Karen Overall relaxation protocol. Work on socializing with other dogs. I also wonder if the behavior is the same with the obedience class as it is with agility. Or if you train all 3 classes at the same location (and if not, if behavior is a bit different). The fear/over-stimulation issue, it could be a number of candidates that are pushing his button. And until you know which one, you don't know how to build up his tolerance for it so it no longer sets him off. I'd also video yourself--I found out that my nervous dog was losing it as a novice when my cues were late or confusing. Lots of drive--don't use toys or tugging, rely on food (which tends to relax) during class. Don't try and run a full course--just run 2-3 obstacles, reward and end. Don't run him until he loses focus and control and zooms, run him and reward when he's still under control. Do use leadouts. Do cue early and clearly(a high drive dog can get frustrated and lose it when cues are late). Second, I know you said this over-the-top behavior tends to start before you even make a run. Well, he's associating whatever it is (the chance to do what he loves, exposure to what he fears, something that he loses focus on) with the school or on the grounds. Any chance of doing a private lesson on the grounds when no-one else is there? Take him there on lead and just practice heeling and focus? Third, get the Susan Garrett DVD "Crate Games." Trying taking him to the grounds and just practice crating him, control and focus. Reward for good behavior in the crate, open it up but he has to stay, call him out and reward, send him back in, reward for good behavior.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Also, just checking to make sure you are connected with the ADAA. They're a great resource.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
done all that, have to go sorry
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Please let me know if you'd like to continue this conversation at a later time. My goal is to be as helpful as possible. Thank you for using our website.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No thank you
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
I'm sorry I couldn't be helpful to you.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?


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