This post is part of a series wherein struggling pet owners submit pleas for help to the expertise of blogland. Everyone’s experiences are unique. If you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to share them in the comments. What you think common sense may be revolutionary for someone else. You never know what may resonate. My hope is that together we can help good pet people feel a little less alone.
I received an email a few days ago with a problem that stumped me. While it is related to dog agility, I think the potential cause of the dog’s reaction is fear-based and may not have anything to do with the activity the dog was performing at the time. Since I know a lot of you have worked very hard with your dogs in alleviating similar fears, I have hope you will be able to offer some support.
Here is the question:
Help! My dog, usually overflowing with confidence, knocked a bar last week. Now I can’t get her to even go in the back yard, much less take a jump at a lower height to get her confidence up.
I use only positive reinforcement training, so when she knocked the bar, I think I said “oops, try again!” in a happy voice. Now, she cowers when I try to take her outside, cowers when I try to touch her, etc. The weird thing is that she is just fine with the jumps in class and at an expo we attended over the weekend.
Tonight I took the bar off the jump and had her just walk through it inside, and she was obviously uncomfortable and wanted to leave (but I had the treats, so she wouldn’t). Any suggestions? Thanks!
If you have any tokens of advice, please share them below. Words of encouragement or commiseration are also very welcome!
If you have a question you would like answered, fill out the contact form and I will post it up as soon as I can. All submissions will remain anonymous.