Jump to content

Pre-Agility Class Socialization


Recommended Posts

So we want to start both Zaphod and Kavik in agility this spring, both are very athletic and I think will enjoy it, although Zaphod takes a little time to warm up to new things. However, I would still like to improve their socialization.
Here is where we are now:
So we have Zaphod to the point where he will play with dogs he knows and not be a jerk - except when on leash - I think it makes him nervouse. Kavik will also play with dogs both those he knows and new dogs if there are no toys. If there are toys he ignores other dogs. Kavik will still get snippy with adult unnuetered males taller than himself or dogs that behave aggressively or very dominent with him. (We have spoken with his breeder and are going to nueter him in March - finally.)
Here is what we tried:
We took them to the dog park - surest place to meet new dogs with owners who will allow them to interact. We decided to do a quick 5 min visit just to warm them up. Kavik was fine but got a bit over excited and snippy towards the end of the 5 min when dogs zipped past him - he was on lead, other dogs were not. Zaphod took 5 min in the car to lower his hackles and calm down enough to be let out of the car. We then gave him 2 min in the parking lot, not in close contact with other dogs but easily able to see them, no more than 30 feet away. He did not throw a fit and bark but was not calm. We praised him up and down anyway, gave him a treat and took them both out to a quieter park for some excercise.
What we are thinking:
Zaphod might not be ready to start agility by spring.
Kavik should be ok.
To help things we are thinking of repeating the above process but only taking one dog at a time. Each dog would get to the dogpark a min. of 3x a week and we'd slowly increase time and proximity. I'm thinking Kavik will [i]probably[/i] be fine off lead eventually, we have been practicing his recall with distractions but not with this sort of distraction.

Any suggestions?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds to me like you are doing everything right. Introducing Zaphod and Kavik slowly is a good idea. You don't want to do too much too fast. I would play it by ear and see how they progress, especially Zaphod.

I guess the only idea I have is maybe going to the park with another dog that they know and who is reliable in the dog park. It might relax them seeing their buddy so at ease around the other dogs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More important than socialization is OBEDIENCE. The dog must have 100% recall for agility and good focus and attention.

Agility classes are for training, not for playing with other dogs.

If you are working off leash, and there are 5 other dogs working off leash in another area of the course, will your dogs stay with you and not run to the other dogs? I mean stay with you 100% of the time with their focus and attention on you and nothing else?

If so, then you are ready. If not, then you're not ready.

Many many students use toys are rewards during agility practice. Your dog has to have a reliable down/stay and sit/stay even with toys and treat bags being tossed around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good suggestion Kendalyn.

Judy - Kavik's obedience is pretty good, we tested his recall of lead today with other dogs around for distraction - good success but he still has this a tendency to want to stop on his way back to mark a bush or something. He does not seem to be distracted by the other dogs as well but toys are a problem. He is distracted by thrown toys unless I have his throw toy as well - then no problem. We can work on these issues in the park as well. Zaphod will probably take another year. He learns slowly but once he has something he is very good about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks. We are off to the park with Kavik again today. Sadly Zaphod is making very slow progress, oh well at least it is progress. Both of their recalls are coming along exellently, Kavik's down (no matter what distractions there are) is 100% but it is sometimes he still delays a bit or creeps forward. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

OK, update. Zaphod's recall is wonderful, better than Kavik's now I think. Kavik will recall but needs to be told "down" to stay after recall. The both run up to be leashed at the end of play time so that is no problem. Kavik can now be told to leave it for a whole loop of the park and will obey - this is hard for him because he is an obsessive fetcher. Zaphod is doing very well with other dogs I just have a few behaviour interpretation questions.

Here is how he behaves:

Lots of barking, seems like excitement barking to me.

Hackles up often, sometimes when he is playing happily, this happens sometimes around the house too when he is tearing about with Pik or I.

He has once turned tail (tucked) and run when a new dog he ran up to greet barked/growled/charged.

He will sometimes run around the action, keeping his side to the other dogs, barking.

He is very eager to play and chase with the other dogs, he is more gentle with them than with Kavik, whos neck gets fairly damp from Zaphod.

He has sometimes moved away from other dogs barking again with his side towards them.

He has shown his teeth to other dogs that chase him and go for the back of his neck, he makes no noise when he does this and then often plays with a different dog after this.

He has been mounted and seemed to ignore it.

He only gets a bit riled (barking, bouncing about, bouncing into the other dog, not biting, showing teeth) when Kavik and another dog have an exhuberant tug competition on some stick.

Do you think he is afraid, excited, posturing?
Do you think, he thinks he is protecting Kavik?
Do you think he is ok out there?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Raising the hackels is a function that the body uses to let out heat, you can see this a lot hen the dogs are playing, it is connected to adrenalin. A lot of people think that because the dog raises the hackles that he is angry, wich is some times true but not always, he is just letting out heat :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had thought his hackles going up was no big thing with him, thanks for the info that helps. Of course, other people seeing my yappy, 60lb, [b]black[/b] dog, with his hackles up are not so understanding. Guess I can't blame them though, eveyone has got to use their own best judgement to keep their dogs and themselves safe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...