Dismiss Notice
Hello Guest, Welcome to the new version of Sheltieforums.com. If you have any questions regarding the new software, please post in the following section: Forum Upgrade

Agility Barking Issues

Discussion in 'Agility' started by lekendra, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. lekendra

    lekendra Forums Novice

    Nov 24, 2014

    I have a three year old boy. He is a vocal one! He barks at other dogs and absolutely goes crazy during agility class. He barks when he hears other dogs running and barks when he’s in the ring. It’s non stop during class. We have completed our intro series and was three classes in to our intermediate tonight. He did great in the intro class. He was barky but he absolutely shined in the ring. He absolutely loves agility and I really love the bonding experience. However, I am having issues with the classes and was wondering if anybody had advice. Our class tonight was very full and I wasn’t expecting that. Unfortunately my pup got over excited and was going crazy barking. The other owners were not pleased and were making comments to me about it. I tried to play with him in our seating area while we waited to keep him engaged and tried my best to calm him. Another dog running the course got out of the ring and entered our seating area/barrier and lunged and bit my leashed dog. I ended up just feeling overwhelmed and defeated that I just carried him out of class and left. Does anybody else have a barky dog in agility? How do you handle your dog when you are waiting? What about the other owners who are not happy with a vocal dog? I really wanted to continue to do agility with him, but I just don’t know if that’s an option with his excitement and lack of impulse control to contain his excitement. And unfortunately I just don’t have enough experience to teach him on my own.
  2. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

    Aug 28, 2011
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    I am not in agility but many in this forum are and I am sure they will give you tips on how to help.

    As I do obedience training I train my dogs the 'no bark' or 'quiet' command!

    Granted, your pup is amplified in his excitement with agility course and his enthusiasm! That's great! He is telling you how much he loves it.

    However, I would make sure you have him understand that is not acceptable to do it all the time! Try short sessions with rewards each time you ask him to 'no bark'. Increase the duration of time while still treating.
    Eventually he will catch on!

    I would have left too if my dog was attacked!

    Good luck! As I said, others who do agility will help too with direction! Let us know how it goes!
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  3. take4roll10

    take4roll10 Moderator

    Aug 31, 2009
    New York
    Hi Lekendra. Like you, my sheltie gets very excited during agility class and barks because she can't wait for her turn. It's a good thing and a bad thing. You want your dog to be excited for agility, but you also don't want to disturb your classmates or competitors at an agility trial. Personally, I don't like to do any negative corrections because I don't want to demotivate my dog or lose that enthusiasm.

    At ring side, I play games to distract and warm up my dog. I ask for sits, lay downs, spins, anything to keep her brain moving, body active and focus off of the dog in the ring.

    In the winter (indoor class), we keep the dogs in crates in the seating area, but if a dog barks too much, we crate them in a different room. When we train outside, the dogs usually stay in their cars, until it's their turn.

    Can you crate your dog in a different room or even crate in the seating area? Or in your car? And of course train and work with your dog on the sidelines, while you wait your turn.

    Is your dog okay? Is there a fence between the ring and seating area? Sounds like the dogs are still very green and excited, so the trainer should make sure the dog in the ring can't run off the dogs in the seating area and vice versa.

    Good luck and don't give up. Your dog clearly loves agility and there are ways to manage it.
    corbinam and ghggp like this.
  4. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

    Aug 28, 2011
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    I knew someone would have the answers for you!
    Thanks, take4roll10!
  5. Shelby's mom

    Shelby's mom Forums Enthusiast

    Jan 4, 2012
    I don’t do agility but I do nose work. Shelby is a big barker. We keep the dogs in crates when they are not working. And Shelby would bark the entire time in class, non stop. She would never bark in her crate at home.

    I was fortunate that my classmates were very understanding and allowed me to work on keeping her quite. And my trainer also was great in giving me suggestions.

    I would tell her to be quiet and then treat her when she was. I also would give her a Kong filled with frozen yogurt (didn’t take long for her to eat it and start barking again). What ended up working best was if everyone just ignored her. It did take quite some time. But she no longer barks constantly in her crate. She will bark at me when I close the door, but I just turn my back to her and she stops. We also have gates with blankets over them so they can’t see the other dogs working. We also have blankets on the sides of the crates for the same reason. One dog in class goes crazy if we walk by so the owner will put a blanket on the front of the crate so she can’t see us.

    I don’t know if this helps in agility but just thought I would share what worked for me.
    ghggp likes this.
  6. Calliesmom

    Calliesmom Moderator

    Mar 29, 2008
    near Mobile, AL
    you have gotten some good suggestions already for help with the barking.
    I am interested in what the instructor did when the other dog left the course and came into the waiting area. that is a far more serious issue than a dog barking while waiting.
    Crates are a very good idea for novice dogs and handlers- the dog can still bark while in the crate but most dogs learn to be quiet in the crate. my issue with barking is I have multiple shelties and whoever is not getting run is barking because the other dog is getting to have all the fun.
    tell the other owners that they are fortunate to not have to deal with this issue with their dog but if they stay in agility, they'll end up dealing with it at some point so they need to learn some understanding and compassion at the beginning.
    if you are in an area where there are multiple classes/trainers- you might look into a different class......

    Honestly, those people don't know about barking- visit a flyball tournament sometime and no one will ever complain about your one little sheltie barking:winkgrin:
    Hanne likes this.
  7. CJ_Canuck

    CJ_Canuck Forums Novice

    Mar 15, 2018
    Hi Lekendra,
    I'm a future sheltie owner, but I have been in your shoes with my barky Aussie at agility! Definitely teaching quiet in the crate is great to have. My favorite solution is the It's Yer Choice game - my dog can't think and bark at the same time. For variety my coach taught me to do It's Yer Choice with the cookie in a closed hand next to an open palm, and when my dog nose targeted the open palm then the cookie hand opens and puts the cookie in the target hand, with random switches between target hands. My Aussie had barked for a solid hour at our first lesson at age 2 - my coach is also a big fan of the Control Unleashed Puppy Edition for other exercises (my dog has been the poster child for lacking in impulse control, ha)
    Whenever it was too exciting for her (other dogs barking, dogs in tunnels, etc), we'd move farther away or sometimes out of the ring to where it was quieter. She's 9 now, and has improved enormously so it gets better.
    Hang in there, it's great that you're looking for good solutions right away and there are plenty of us out there who've had the same dilemma.
  8. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

    Oct 14, 2008
    I want to echo both what Take4Roll10 and CJ_Canuck recommended. The only other thing I would add is that several people around here also use a Manners Minder. It's a remote controlled treat dispenser so they can remotely reward their dog for being quiet if they're walking in the ring, or in the other room, etc.

Share This Page