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There is a dog in my agility class. She is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and I forget what. This dog is SO hyper its unbelievable. She races round the course, knocking the jumps over, going her own way and barking!!
Last week the trainer suggested that the owner should try what the Aussie owners do -- their dogs bark a lot and so they don't give them any verbal commands; they say NOTHING. Instead they use hand signals ONLY which means the dog haS to really pay attention to what the handler is doing.
Boy - what a difference!! That dog was 100 percent better. After a couple of runs, she figured out that she couldn't race all over the place and then listen for the next command - she had to watch closely!!
Just thought I'd mention this in case others had a similarly hyper dog in agility.
Yes, sometimes being quiet is better. My trainer's dog is very high drive and runs around the course squealing with excitement, so she mostly uses her hands and body to direct the dog where to go.
I actually find that when I'm not giving a million verbal commands, my dog pays better attention, too. I think sometimes people's voices when they're running agility can get kind of all squeaky and excited, which, in turn, trickles down to the dog, so it's better to just shut up and run. LOL
Interesting. We're just starting, so I'm not sure I could direct Kit properly without using voice commands yet, but I'll keep that in mind. Lately she has developed a bad habit of excitement barking right before she is released or near the beginning of a course. I've been trying to nip this in the bud: the second she lets out a sound, I say very emphatically "DOWN!" and then we start over. She knows she's done wrong, and she's getting much quieter.
I think this bad habit came from frisbee. She barks the second I release the frisbee - too late to pull it back. It's sort of a self-rewarding behavior.