Friday, November 06, 2009

Barky Boy

Ryan is starting to bark a lot in agility and I'm not sure what to do about it. Abby barks through most of the run and especially at the start line. She is still always listening though so the only downfall to it is that I can't concentrate as well with her barking. I've decided that it's too late to "fix" it though so I live with it (even though it's at an extremely high pitch).

With Ryan though I started out with the rule of absolutely no barking. He isn't allowed to bark when we play ball or tug, etc. He used to do a few enthusiastic "woo woo woo"s on the way to his first run in class and I was ok with that. Now, though, he has decided that agility is very fun and he barks as he's running and especially if I do a cross or make him turn. I'm not sure if this is because I've gone into complicated sequencing before he was ready for it or if it's just...something he does. It is very hard to make myself take him off the course whenever he barks in class because...well..that isn't very reinforcing for me. I like running him in class and I like that's he is having a blast and is so enthusiastic. It's hard though since I know I'm not being consistent with him right now (I will suddenly decide that it's too much barking and make him lie down). He seems to get confused when I tell him to be quiet and will try to do the jump a different way, usually slower. I don't want to take away his enthusiasm! I think maybe I should work on more foundation stuff at home (one jump basics mostly since it's jumping that causes the most barking) and then figure out whether I want to stop the barking completely or whether I want to just let him be. It would be *so* nice to actually have a dog who ran quietly! Abby just isn't that dog though and Ryan might not be either. He sure does love agility though!
Right now I'm working on teaching Ryan to limp and teaching Abby to "mark it" (lift her hind leg like she's peeing on something). I'll add videos when they get it. Ryan needs to go forward with his limping...he'll step backwards while holding his leg up but not forward.

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