Beginner Agility

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kkee

Boxer Booster
Lillie is starting her first agility class on April 30th which I am SUPER excited about. In the past few months, Lillie has become quite the jumper, though I attempt to make her take it easy (which is clearly easy...). My trainer and I brought out the tunnel and we discovered that Lillie is absolutely terrified of it. If it's still, she'll come up and sniff it, but the practice tunnel I have moves and she'll run. I've tried luring her through and she'll walk around - if I block her so that she can't, then she'll just stand at the other end and stare at me. We did have a successful session for a few minutes on Sunday, but when I tried today, she was back to her old ways. I don't want her to be terrified of the tunnel, obviously, but I've tried toys, food, praise, happy voices, etc. and nothing is working. I have been clicking & treating for even sniffing and/or sticking her head in the tunnel. Has anyone dealt with this?
 

johann

Boxer Insane
Went thru this with Johann.

Can you scrunch the tunnel up so it is really short? Mine is really long when extended, but can be shortened to about 3 inches wide for storage.

I kept it like that and click/treat for every time Johann looked at it. Then I put a treat right in front of it (click/treat) for a few nights. Then the treat was inside the fabric (click/treat) for a few nights. Then I put the cookie on the other side so he had to stick his head thru (click/treat). Then gradually moved the treat so his front legs were thru the tunnel, then half his body, and finally his back legs. We spent a lot of nights with DH holding the tunnel and me throwing treats through it for Johann (blocked off around it so he had to go thru to get the treat). This whole process took about 2 weeks, don't move up until your dog is 100% comfortable with the previous step.

Then I borrowed a very short tunnel (2-3 ft?) long tunnel from my trainer. Repeated the entire process above, although it took much less time (was running thru it the first night).

Once he would go thru the short tunnel with no lure, I set up the full length one again.
He was more comfortable, but I had to crawl thru it first and he followed me. lolicon After the first time (I think he thought he'd get in there and never get out again), Johann has been a tunnel loving fool. Literally tries to run thru it as I'm setting it up each spring. He incorporates it into his backyard boxer burns on a regular basis now.

The training takes a long time, but you definitely don't want to force her thru it (tried it, didn't work). Keep working on it.
 

kkee

Boxer Booster
I just wanted to update and say that we have significant improvement! On Sunday, we were taking care of Lillie's best friend Caleb (lab/golden) while his parents were out of town. Well, I broke the tunnel out because Caleb is very, very active. He ran through it once and what did miss Lillie do? Zoom right through! Now she's going through it like a champ - no luring, just praise. She's even getting to the point where I can stand & send and meet her at the other end to treat her. I can't even begin to explain how happy and how proud of her I am appicon She's making me an extremely proud mama over and over again. Now we'll just have to wait & see how she'll handle the rest of the obstacles once class starts.
 
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