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waggytail
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30-05-2012, 12:20 PM

Aggressive behaviour at Agility classes?

I have often seen dogs barking and lunging at the sidelines of the agility ring and recently I actually witnessed a dog fight that broke out during an Agility lesson. In my experience I have always found the Agility environment to be quite intense and wondered whether sensitive or reactive dogs should be better managed? I would like to hear views on this from other handlers or indeed from anyone who actually teaches a class on how they deal with this issue? Are handlers uncomfortable with dogs like this in their class? Do instructors have a structure in place to keep their classes safe? if aggressive dogs (or their handlers) cannot be safely managed should they be in the class at all?
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Ben Mcfuzzylugs
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30-05-2012, 12:28 PM
I guess it depends
Quite often the dogs barking and lunging are not aggressive but hyped up and want to run
although that is not to say they wont fight if another dog accidently gets in their way - cos they are so high

Personally I dont like the dogs hyped like this and would work on more handler focus and totaly wouldnt reward this behaviour by letting the dog run agility after behaving like this

Of course sometimes people with reactive/aggressive dogs do come to agility - it really can help
but imo even more important that they dont carry on like this, if they are barking and lunging then they need LOTS more space

and yes of course if they cannot be safley managed then no way should they be in a class - one to one training for a while would be better
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Collie Convert
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30-05-2012, 01:20 PM
Originally Posted by waggytail View Post
I have often seen dogs barking and lunging at the sidelines of the agility ring and recently I actually witnessed a dog fight that broke out during an Agility lesson. In my experience I have always found the Agility environment to be quite intense and wondered whether sensitive or reactive dogs should be better managed? I would like to hear views on this from other handlers or indeed from anyone who actually teaches a class on how they deal with this issue? Are handlers uncomfortable with dogs like this in their class? Do instructors have a structure in place to keep their classes safe? if aggressive dogs (or their handlers) cannot be safely managed should they be in the class at all?
My bitch does this if allowed, worse when queing for our class. Seeing the other dogs run she works herself into a heightened state, full of adrenalin and basically a bit nuts, she would also lunge at other dogs playing or doing the same in the queue next to her.

However, I dont allow lunging or excessive barking and I manage it to the best of my abilities and I can get her focus away by playing tuggy with her or doing bits of training. Once in the ring or having her go at training she has absolutely no interest in other dogs and only has eyes for the equipment.

It should be properly managed at training and at shows, if you have an aggressive dog (should add my girl isnt aggressive so to speak but just works herself up but would never fight) then precautions should be taken to keep your distance etc. If the dog cant stay on course or with its handler whilst training then it should not be training in a group environment imo.
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Kyllobernese
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03-06-2012, 12:44 PM
At a recent Agility trial, I was sitting with Remmy, well back from the ring and a Fox Terrier came racing out of the ring when he had finished the course and attacked Remmy. I managed to mostly fend him off with my foot till the owner could get hold of him. He had grabbed Remmy a couple of times and left red marks but did not break the skin. All Remmy wanted to do was get away, he did not even try and fight back. After that she was more careful of getting hold of him before he left the ring as he could have been barred if I had put in a complaint.

The rule is that the dog does not leave the ring till you have his leash on but many people let their dogs run out of the ring when they are finished the course.
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Jet&Copper
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03-06-2012, 12:54 PM
Slightly off topic but equally related to this thread - I have finally gotten around to starting Control Unleashed, after Ben McF reminded me of it - it's a great read so far and lots of advice regarding reactive dogs and how to gain focus in agility
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Krusewalker
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03-06-2012, 01:20 PM
im often surprised when the instructors dont regard "instruction" (AKA supervision) as those that are waiting their turns as well.
]
often i experienced all of us left to stand around having a chat and no one making sure the hyped up dogs are segregated accordingly. or doing something constructive whilst waiting?

Lesley mcdivett talks a lot about this problem in her control unleashed book
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Wozzy
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03-06-2012, 01:30 PM
I have seen a few reactive dogs in agility classes i've been to, have to say they have exclusively been border collies! I'm fine with them until it comes to the point where they put my dog off and potentially make it nervous of/give it a bad association with the class. I've had them rush at my dogs whilst we've been standing out of the way and minding our own business. One such collie put Jessie off a certain class, and another collie had a pop at Jed when it should've been running the course, which made him very wary.

Like I say, I dont have a problem with them provided they are managed correctly.
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