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Old 07-23-2011, 04:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Agility and Aggression?

So, I think Loki is definitely ready to try out some new activities. He's 16 months old. I'd like to try out a few sports and then compete in probably one.

I've been considering agility I think he would love it, I'm just worried that he can be very difficult to get comfortable around new things (equipment), also I've heard that starting agility training too late can bring out aggression? Is that true? I would already consider him mouthy..
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Mouthy is not aggression, or are you saying he barks at other dog? Agility can bring out prey drive that can lead to DA. What you have to do is correct him at the slightest interest to other dogs running and then praise him when he looks at you. I do not tolerate my dogs staring at other dogs when they are running, prey drive kicks in and you don't want that. Try him out he may love it!
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I know many many agility people and have never heard of it causing aggression.

The dogs may get excited about going and redirect onto another dog, but just keep them separated. And if you're in a situation where you can't work on training them to focus on you.

Last edited by Celestial88; 07-23-2011 at 05:49 AM. Reason: Edited after rereading.
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Mouthy is not aggression, or are you saying he barks at other dog? Agility can bring out prey drive that can lead to DA. What you have to do is correct him at the slightest interest to other dogs running and then praise him when he looks at you. I do not tolerate my dogs staring at other dogs when they are running, prey drive kicks in and you don't want that. Try him out he may love it!
Both actually I meant that he can get mouthy while playing, which is good that won't get in the way, but yeah working with distractions and around other dogs is definitely his biggest hurdle.

So far the most distraction he can handle is in my backyard, with maybe one or two people he knows standing out there, should I wait until he gets better with distractions in general before I start correcting him around other dogs?
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Old 07-23-2011, 04:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I know many many agility people and have never heard of it causing aggression.

The dogs may get excited about going and redirect onto another dog, but just keep them separated. And if you're in a situation where you can't work on training them to focus on you.
This is where inexperience comes in. I have taught agility at all levels for over 13 years and yet it can cause DA. Not that it ill make a non DA dog DA but that is will bring out the aggression if it is already there. When dogs go into prey drive that can lead to a dog fight if the dog gets off leash and chases another dog. Prey drive is to catch prey and kill, then there is chase drive, to chase. Either one can lead to a fight and aggression in that instances. does it mean the dog will always be DA, no it doesn't but this is a serious problem we see all the time when start agility prep classes. Turning the dog away who is excited and separating them does nothing to correct the behavior and the dog will continue to be reactive when other dogs run. They need to be neutral when another dog runs. Now this is an APBT forum so a lot of my response is for an APBT not an Aussie or another breed. An Aussie make sit there and bark it's head off with no real aggression behind it. Most APBT's will go into high prey drive and that can lead to disaster. My rules is if you are going to do Agility with a strong breed like the APBT you do not tolerate even watching the other dogs at first. They should not be allowed to bark or get excited when another dog is running. If you allow this behavior to go what happens when your dog is off leash and another dog is off leash running at the same time? What happens if all you do is turn your dog away when they get excited, now what are you going to do off leash? When I was going through my judges apprenticeship and was judging under supervision we talked about this all the time. If your dog goes after another dog at a show there are no second chances your gone for the weekend. If it happens again you will be barred from playing at all. If you dog is barking at a dog running outside the ring with or without aggression you can get written up and you will be asked to remove your dog. These behaviors are not tolerated at a show and should not be tolerated at training. Yes fast moving dogs can bring out aggression, will it always? no not for all dogs but to say it "never causes aggression" is not true and misguided.

Right now at our training center we have a schnauzer that keeps going after dogs in prey drive and the problem has gotten worse. The trainers approach is to do what you advised, turn the dog away and separate them and try to get them to focus on you. The behavior was never corrected and so the dog thinks it is still ok. I am working Barca in this class and the trainer has Aussies and is not use to working with DA or reactive dogs. She is a no correction type trainer. Last week it got so bad I talked to the director of agility and that do no longer can take classes. It is running off leash at other dogs and getting worse. A simple correction is all it would take to stop it but some trainers lack the experience to deal with a difficult dog. This is a perfect example of how separating them or turning them away does not stop the behavior just reinforced it.

APBT's can be great at agility but there is a reason you do not see many compete at top levels and this is one reason why. Many get to untrustworthy off leash, if that never becomes a problem they can take down even the border collies
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Old 07-23-2011, 04:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Both actually I meant that he can get mouthy while playing, which is good that won't get in the way, but yeah working with distractions and around other dogs is definitely his biggest hurdle.

So far the most distraction he can handle is in my backyard, with maybe one or two people he knows standing out there, should I wait until he gets better with distractions in general before I start correcting him around other dogs?
When he gets distracted or gets excited about another dog pop the leash (this is not ahead correction just an attention getter) and when he looks at you praise and treat. I start with my little puppies and pretty soon they ignore everything around them. Start at home then when he is good go to the pet store and work at it. Don't let him go play with people or dogs. We know he loves people but if you let everyone pet him he can learn other people are more fun than you and run off and visit the judge or bar setters. When he is on leash he is working with you. My dogs find I am much more interesting than other people or dogs and pretty much ignore everyone unless I tell them to go visit. Get him in an Agility prep class as soon as you can, has he had a regular obed class? if not get him in one then after that go to agility. Agility is off leash later on so you need a dog who listens to your commands.

When I raise a puppy I let them meet other dog and people till about 5 months old then their job is to focus on me and nothing else. Good luck I am sure he will think it is great fun!!
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Thanks! I had him in an obed class, but it ended up not working out with my schedule so I'm signed up ahead for their next one, I think it starts in September. We'll keep working with distractions and such until then.

He just got his WP harness so we'll probably start on that first. I think he would really like agility though, he's fast and people are always commenting on how much he jumps around while he's playing haha.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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When he gets distracted or gets excited about another dog pop the leash (this is not ahead correction just an attention getter) and when he looks at you praise and treat. I start with my little puppies and pretty soon they ignore everything around them. Start at home then when he is good go to the pet store and work at it. Don't let him go play with people or dogs. We know he loves people but if you let everyone pet him he can learn other people are more fun than you and run off and visit the judge or bar setters. When he is on leash he is working with you. My dogs find I am much more interesting than other people or dogs and pretty much ignore everyone unless I tell them to go visit. Get him in an Agility prep class as soon as you can, has he had a regular obed class? if not get him in one then after that go to agility. Agility is off leash later on so you need a dog who listens to your commands.

When I raise a puppy I let them meet other dog and people till about 5 months old then their job is to focus on me and nothing else. Good luck I am sure he will think it is great fun!!
Wish I had done that w/ indie! Lil thinks everyone is more interesting than I am sometimes. I will have to start having her focus more on me.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Yeah I learned that the hard way, Vixen spent the first 4 years of her agility career running out of the ring at other dogs and people. It almost got her banned but when I retrained her and learned from my mistakes she quickly became #1 and stayed there for several years. Now I never let my pups past a certain age visit with everyone instead they focus on me and nothing else. It takes work but over time they should focus on you and not on everything around them.

One trainer I worked with at a seminar said you need to be more interesting then dirt. We all know how interesting the ground can smell sometimes and you just have to be more interesting. So fine the motivator whether it's food or toys and use that to keep attention and little pops when they try and focus on something else, as soon as that pop bring the focus back on you then play or treat. Dogs are incredibly smart and learn quickly what gives them what they want.
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