November 30, 2020

Episode 269: Frustration Barking in Agility

In this episode (35:12)

In this episode, Jennifer, Sarah, and Esteban talk about frustration barking in dog agility.

You Will Learn

  • How frustration barking is different from other kinds of barking.
  • What the common triggers for barking are.
  • How people unintentionally reward frustration barking.
  • How incompatible behaviors might help ease your dog’s frustration.


- Listening to "Bad Dog Agility", bringing you training tips, interviews and news about the great sport of dog agility. (lively piano music) - I'm Jennifer. - I'm Esteban. - And I'm Sarah, and this is Episode 269. Today's podcast is brought to you by has the innovative training tools you need for agility. Having problems with a dog walker A frame? The "Hit It!" Board can fix that.

Your dog doesn't like tugging? They'll love the "Tug It!". Can't move your A-frame around by yourself? The "Move It!" can. Go to and use discount code BDA10 to get 10% off your order. That's - Today we're gonna be talking about frustration barking and agility. And the starting point is gonna be the dog that is doing great in all their training and foundation work and introduction to

obstacles, and now you start sequencing. You get out there, and suddenly the dog really turns on. There's clearly an enthusiasm and love for doing agility, and suddenly a dog that maybe it's never done this to you before, or did it very rarely, will be frustrated. Perhaps a mistake is made. Perhaps you want them to redo an obstacle, or have them do it differently. Perhaps they dropped a bar,

and instead of maybe patiently waiting or getting set up for a second attempt, they suddenly turn on you and bark at you very clearly. It's like they're yelling at you, right? Some dogs, it looks like they're screaming at their handler. Some dogs also get nippy. They might bite or mouth at the handler. These are dogs you typically see jump up. They might nip at your arms, especially after

a mistake has been made on course. And so you can see a constellation of symptoms, of things that are happening with this kind of dog in this kind of relationship with this kind of handler. And so I wanna talk about that, because we see a lot if it, certainly. We see it amongst our VIP members, and we get lots of questions about this. And we have plenty of

experience with dogs like that, both you and I, Sarah, and Jennifer, who's joining us from Ohio. - Yep, I'm here. - And let me start with Jennifer. So what are the thoughts that you have? When I describe this kind of dog to you, what do you think? - Well, upon looking at the title, "Frustration Barking", I think a lot of people are immediately gonna turn to me because

I have Shelties, and I feel like that is kind of just code for saying "barking dog" - I would never. I would never. - Barking dog Sheltie! Odd that it starts with sh. But, you know, people looking like, "Oh, you deal with barking all the time. You have Shelties." But, you know, when we're talking about barking, we're talking about different types of barking. There certainly is barking that

is just being happy and vocal, right? That's not what we're referring to in that podcast. But when barking, as long as the dog is doing his job, I don't have a problem if you bark or you make a lot of squealing noises. Shelties will do it very commonly, Pink is, for those that have seen her run, she kind of makes noise and screams all the way around. We're

not talking about that. We're talking about true frustration barking as a way of communicating with us a frustration. You know, demanding something from us, whether it be lack of information or lack of clarity. And that's not as common in Shelties, of, kind of like you said, they turn on you and looking at you and kind of jumping at you. I think we see a lot more in other

breeds. But, certainly, any breed, any dog, is capable of communicating with you the lack of clarity. Some dogs will run off and sniff, and you'll have a disconnect that way. But I think the dogs that turn and bark at you, it can sometimes be a bit more obvious, because their way of feeling pressure, it involves you. It's barking at you, versus a dog who turns away and moves

away to go sniff, or shuts down in that manner. So what we're really talking about is looking for very, very early cues that the dog is not getting the information they need, whether it be handling or dog training, and starting to be smart about looking for those cues, seeing those cues, and then trying to prevent those situations and prevent those scenarios. - That's beautifully put. And I think

if we take a step back and we think, "Okay, give me the bullet points, give me the step-by-steps. What are the things that I need to be thinking about?" Especially if you're a handler, maybe you've a couple of agility dogs, maybe this is your first agility dog, and now you've got this dog, and you've never really seen it before, right? You've seen your friends have it, but you

never really paid attention to what was working and what really wasn't working for them. And I think there's a couple of steps that we need to take, and we're gonna explore each of these. What Jennifer was just talking about was identifying triggers. So one thing that could definitely be happening is your dog is becoming over-aroused. Now this is not a podcast about over-arousal per se. We've had podcasts

about over-arousal. We've had special guests on to talk about it, including Sarah Stremming of the Cognitive Canine. And what Sarah's going to do, our Sarah is going to do, is link to those episodes in the show notes page. So you should go back, listen to them and see if that's your dog, get the ideas and helpful tips that we talked about in those specific episodes. But it may

be that your dog was doing very well, and so now they are being presented with more difficult challenges, right? It's easy, relatively speaking, to teach a dog to wrap or take a single jump. It becomes more difficult when you add two and then three and then four, and now your adding front crosses, rear crosses, wraps, back, sides, et cetera, et cetera, the potential for mistakes goes way up,

right? It's the difference between multiplying five and five, and 254 and 112, there's more potential for error, the dog it going to make mistakes. And then in your mind you're thinking, "Hey, we've never run into this problem before." Well, actually, you've just never pushed the dog or taught at a level, or required the kind of work where the dog is more likely to make mistakes. You've been doing

all the easy, fun stuff. Now you're getting into it, now you're starting the sequencing, now mistakes are being made, right? And so I think that's important to realize, that this may not be a change in the dog per se, because a lot of what people are gonna tell you is, "My dog suddenly turned on and became very different." The clues were probably there all along, maybe even from

puppyhood. You know, we've got some young dogs ourselves. My current Golden Retriever is like this. And I feel comfortable saying that because I'm an observer of our dogs, and I feel like she very much like Gitchi's mother, Gree, who's a dog who could really lay into you with the barking and the frustration on mistakes. She wanted to go fast, she wanted to get everywhere quickly, and she did

not tolerate mistakes very well. And having worked with several dogs like that, it was easy for me to see this in this dog, even when she was very young, just several months old, and confirmed to me by other litter mate owners. And they say, "Hey, watch out for the barking." I say, "Hey, I'm way ahead of you. Yeah, I noticed that as well." And so I think kind

of understanding right there is very helpful, that maybe there's not some new problem that you created, maybe it's kinda in the personality of the dog, and it's kinda been there all this time, and just the situation is kinda uncovering it. And so the next part of that is I get the support from the litter mates, you're getting support from us, so it turns out lots of people have

this problem, lots of dogs are like this, right? And if you go to your next trial you can probably pick out a couple of dogs who are probably dealing with this kinda stuff. And so don't feel bad about it. Very common problem. It's not necessarily some monster you created. A lotta people feel that way. "I've created a monster!" "I have done this," "I've done that," and Jolie has

turned them into this. So, you know, you can get away with some of that. So I liked that about finding the triggers. And Jennifer talked about basically modifying the environment. So Jennifer, people, they have a lot of success in their introductory class. Then they get out and their first sequencing class at your facility, they're excited, they finally get a class, and it's with the Jennifer Crank, and they

know they've got a great dog, and everybody tells them they have a great dog, and everybody's excited about the drive that their dog has, and this is the fastest, best dog they've ever had. And then they make a mistake, they knock a bar, and you're going to redo it, and then suddenly this dog just turns and starts barking. And then they feel really bad about themselves. What are

you telling them about, basically, the class environment and expectations there? - Yeah, I think keeping an eye on the environment that the dog is put in is super-key in identifying frustration and potentially preventing it. So in a perfect world we would have, you know, a 12 by 12 ring and there would only be one jump, and then we'd go to a bigger ring and there'd be two, and

then three, and we'd build as the dog is appropriate. But this is real life, and we know that sometimes, you know, at a lot of facilities they might have a puppy class, there are beginner classes en masse in a smaller area, with a tunnel and a contact trainer, and then all of a sudden their next class is in a 100 x 100 space, wide open, lots of equipment,

all this running, and the dog is instantly going from the playground down the street where there's three swings and a slide to the middle of Disney World, and it's like, "Whoa! Where do I even start? Which part of the park do I go to first? How are we gonna get this all in in one day?" So, you know, in a perfect world, we'd build up to that. And

I think when you have a dog that is dealing with, you know, maybe so much over the top the handler's struggling to deal with that frustration, because, as you said, it's not teaching the obstacles, it's running and building, is really monitor the environment. Maybe instead of a class where there's six dogs and you're with really high-drive dogs, or you're with other barky dogs, maybe you need to start

with a private lesson. So maybe you would say, "Okay, you're ready to go to a competition class. Let's do some privates with competition-level content. Make sure we can handle that, then put you in the class." Or maybe check with the instructor as to who's in the class. And not because we're testing people's personalities and who's gonna judge you, but maybe a really over-the-top dog would be good in

a class with milder dogs that are less exciting and less stimulating. Although in some cases finding dogs that are like yours in a class can be a good thing, because everybody's in the same boat and they're gonna tolerated and understand when you need to stop and take breaks, or have a shorter session. Same thing with the length of the sequences. I know that's maybe not directly environmental, but

sometimes you'll go from, "Oh, you know all the equipment? All right, let's run this six-obstacle sequence." And it's like, "Well, what happened to two and three and four?" (chuckling) So I think from an environmental perspective, definitely working with a smaller area and building as much as possible, building up to a larger space, but also group versus private lessons. And even within a group, you know, a group where

there's gonna be multiple dogs on the floor, versus a group where it's only one dog at a time, 'cause we have a mix of both. We have some classes where I can take a group of six people, and I can say "All right, everybody, I want you to go to a jump and I want you to warm up your forward sends." And for some dogs that's gonna be

too much. It's gonna put 'em over the top and it's gonna frustrate 'em. So doing some classes where you don't have them. So it's looking for those little things that are keying the dogs up. Sometimes that frustration isn't in something that you did, but it could even be the frustration of they can't get out there and run with the other dogs, so that when you go out on

the course, they carry it over to you with the barking. So there's definitely some factors to test for, and private lessons, I think, can be an option for those dogs that need shorter sessions as well. You know, we didn't talk about time, but that would kinda be almost in my mind in environmental. If you take an hour class, don't feel like you need to do the hour. Watch

your dog. If at 40 minutes, you know your dog, don't go to 41, right? Know what your dog's threshold is, and build and build and build up to that. Maybe you need five minutes and then take a break, and five minutes and then take a break. So, you know, kinda keeping an eye on the length of the training session, and at what time do you feel they go

over the top. And then don't let yourself get to that time. - Okay. We talked about environment, we talked about triggers, we talked about classes, we talked about making things easier, and identifying those triggers. What do we actually do in the moment? And I think there's two strategies. They're basically the opposite sides of a single coin. You should be doing both of these things, okay? Number one, people

mess this up all the time, is do not reinforce the behavior. There are people who are literally teaching their dog to do this, without thinking they are. They think they're shutting it down, but they're actually reinforcing the behavior. We'll get into some examples. The other side of that is ask for a different behavior, cue a different behavior, right? So for those of us, I'm not gonna look at

any Sheltie owners that may or may not be on my screen, you know, if you have a dog that barks all the time, if you ask the dog to do something else that they can't bark during that time, like, I dunno, drink water or something, all right, it's hard for a dog to bark and drink water at the same time, they can only do one or the other,

right? So some kind of incompatible behavior. And so if you have a dog that's jumping up, barking and biting at your arm, if you cue them to, say, roll over two or threes times in a row, they're not gonna be biting your arm. It's an incompatible behavior, right? So I don't wanna reinforce what they're doing that's bad, I want that behavior to be extinguished, I want it to

go away. And I wanna replace it with things that I want them to do or that are okay in that context, preferably things that are legal in an agility ring, competition ring. That would be great, right? And so I think that's what you need to do in the moment. And so now we can start getting into the details, and I will throw this open question to both Sarah

and Jennifer here. What do you think are ways that people are inadvertently reinforcing this behavior? Don't tell me I've stumped you guys! (laughter) So I think, okay, I suppose I'll get into it. Do you have students that, this is for both of you, when their dog gets really amped up, that the owner yells back at them, and then goes ahead and does what the dog wants them to

do, which is generally to re-attempt the agility, right? They'll be like, "All right, calm down. Hold your horses. We're going back to the starting line. Okay, come here. Okay, sit. Okay, ready? Here we go, here we go. Okay, I'm going. Fine. Do you see, I'm going." Right? Like, literally you've seen this. So I think that people literally, instead of ignoring the behavior, kind of feed into it, they

kind of have a conversation with their dog. But, ultimately, because the dog is getting back to what they want, because there never is any action, like to do some alternative behavior, they end up reinforcing that behavior. So the dog understands that this is how life works, okay. "I drop a bar, I don't get my reinforcement. I bark at my handler and say, 'Hey, where is my reinforcement? Oh,

you're not gonna give it to me. You're gonna give me another chance? Okay, I'm getting my other chance. Okay, here.'" We go on, and then ultimately they get their reinforcement. - I think of those type of reactions by the handler a lot of times, I think of them as, like, performative. There is something that the handler does to fill the space, because there's other people around and there's

other people watching, and they don't quite know what else to do about it. Maybe at home they're, maybe they're more corrective, but they don't feel comfortable doing that in front of people, and so then they default into this talking display that's really meant for everybody who's watching and not necessarily for their dog, to try to get through that moment. And so it's not helpful. And then the flip

side is if your normal go-to is more corrective, that's also not helpful, so we wanna replace that with something that is helpful. - Right. There you're trying not to reinforce it, but people can become very confrontational with their dog. The worst thing I ever saw was a small dog owner, I think the dog blew off a contact or something, and then when the lady tried to set the

dog up again, the dog became like a little, like, "Don't get near me," like, growling. And the instructor's like, "Put your hands on the dog and you show him who's boss." I was like, "Nah! Don't do that!" And then sure enough, you know, the dog tried to bite the lady. You don't wanna meet that kind of aggression with aggression. And that's different, because that's aggression as opposed to

frustration. I'm not saying that frustration can't lead to aggression, but I think that's a very different problem than what we're talking about here. So we wanna put that on the side and come back to the frustration side. I think the other thing that people do to reinforce it is to basically ignore it. So on course what does that look like? The dog misses a contact, and you go

on, and now the dog's more likely to miss contact in the future, right? So same thing here. The dog makes a mistake, you make a mistake, whatever, something's gone wrong. They're frustration barking at you, right? And instead of not reinforcing it, you just pretend like it's not even happening. The dog is screaming at you the whole time, they're biting you. I've seen people, like, they're just hiding their

arms, they're trying to not get bit, and they go back to the starting line, and then they just go and run the sequence again. - Well, I think you, so you just made a really cute point, right. Is they think that they're not reinforcing it when they're ignoring it. But the way they're ignoring it is actually reinforcing it, 'cause they're giving the dog what they want, which is

go back and try it again, get back to agility, right? And so there is a very, very fine line between waiting for a moment when the dog is not doing the bad thing, versus tolerating the barking while you take them back to the start to do the entire sequence again, in which case you are doing what the dog wants. - Well, now you've gotten into the very specific

solution. And so this is my number one favorite solution that I think everybody can try with their dog. So at some point, no matter how bad the dog is, and we have worked with the absolute worst dogs ever with this kind of frustration barking, and not just our own, but clients', there's going to be time they have to take a breath. There's going to be a time they

stop. There's gonna be a time they stop jumping, if just for a moment, in order to recover in order to do it some more, okay? And in that moment you can slip in the marker, which is gonna be a click, or a yes, in my case, verbal yes, and then you're gonna reward. And if they're barking and biting at you while they take the reward, that's fine, the

marker's already there, and they're gonna discover very quickly what the marker is for. So I had a Golden, this Golden, right. I opened the gate, and she would be bouncing up, bouncing up. And barking. And so eventually it became just bouncing up, and then it became just lifting the front legs up, and then it became her four feet never leave the grass. That was over a course of

several months, and just getting out there and just constantly what? Never initiating the game. Which means I never took the toy. The toy is on me. She never go to tug, she never got a mark, until all four feet were on the floor and she wasn't barking. And so now that is the offered behavior. She knows that she goes right to the gate, flips around and just looks

at me, four feet on the ground, looking at me. No barking, right? And she's always gonna get the, "Yes," and then I throw her the toy. Or, "Yes," and then I present the tug. - And it's like "Mother May I", right, where somebody is creeping up and they can only walk until the person turns around, right? That's what's happening with you and your dog when you do it.

If she starts barking, it's not just that you don't give her the toy, you stop walking, right? If you're about to walk up to the start line, you just freeze. - Right. It's not happening. So it's tough for people in class. Like, it's easy for me in my back yard. So I'm telling you, "Oh, that behavior's great. You want that behavior." And all of you are like, "Oh,

yeah, I need that behavior, but, you know, the dog won't shut up for a minute." You can find that one second, and, literally, that's how you have to start. And I just had to wait this dog out. And even if you're catching the in between jumps, at some point they start to experiment. They're like, "Wait, is it me jumping half up that's kinda doing it? Is it me

barking more shrilly? Is it me not barking?" Like, they're going to experiment. And then now you're in the game. You're in the training game. You're shaping them and you're working out a puzzle together, right? You guys are communicating. And that's what we're going for here. Okay. So I'm not gonna go out there and train with the dog if they are in this state, right? And I make them

prove to me that they're not in that state right away at the gate, when I first open it. But now let's say you're in a class. You do it, you got the dog leashed up. You walk in there. The dog seems to be okay. You unleash, everything's going great. You do the first sequence, it's fine. You do the second sequence, there's a mistake, and now you're dog goes

off, okay? It doesn't matter. That for you is your gate moment, the same gate moment that I had with my dog. You're just gonna sit there and you're gonna wait. And when you find something that you can reinforce, something that you can click for, something that you can say, "Yes," then you build from there and see if you can get it again, and get it again. But if,

let's say, they're quiet for a moment, I click and I treat them, and then I start to line them up and then they get triggered again. Am I gonna run the sequence? No. I'm gonna go right back in, I'm just gonna stop. I'm gonna look at 'em and I'm just gonna see what they do. And then when they offer the thing again, "Yes," treat, "yes,", treat. "Okay, line

up. Sit here again. Oh, you're barking at me again? Okay, well, we're not going, so I'm not gonna ask you to sit. I'm gonna wait for you again, okay. And I will play this game all day long with you. Oh, our turn is up? Oh, it's up. We didn't get to do one more sequence." Do you know what I mean? That's the sacrifice that you have to make

in the short-term over several sessions. For me with this Golden, it was over several months. But it works. For people who have dogs, that they enter the field and the dog is bouncing up at them, that's been taught, that's been reinforced. Maybe not deliberately by the instructor, but I assure you that is a learned behavior. - Basically, the handler had decided that doing the sequence or getting in

the work that they plan to get in is more important than dealing with that behavior. And so then over time the dog figures that out. The dog figures out that you're not willing to sacrifice that. I think that what would be helpful is to, I think the number one mistake that people make in this process, I think a lot of people, they understand what you're saying, but they

don't see those moments that they can reinforce, and they don't do it fast enough. I think a lot of people ask for too much. They have this dog that is just barking and jumping and jumping and bouncing and bouncing and bouncing, and they wanna wait until the dog is 100% under control. Like black and white. There's a lotta times when black and white is good, but when you're

trying to shape a behavior, essentially, black and white is not your friend. You want the tiniest moment of acceptability, especially when you have a behavior that's been going on a while, the tiniest moment of acceptable behavior, then mark it. - Well, let me be very specific, then, because the behavior we're talking about is the biting and nipping at you kind of behavior, biting into your clothes, biting at

your arm. Usually the thing that goes first is they get tired of jumping. So I will click even if they're actively barking at me. - If they had previously been bouncing at you? - Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the dog is jumping up on you, or they got their paws on your chest, and they're bark, bark, bark, bark, right, or they're grabbing at the toy and snapping at you

and barking, right? I don't continue to try and hide the toy. I just kinda go dead. I go very still, right? And the dog, they may continue to bark, but they will get four feet on the ground, boom, that's a click. Click and a treat. And then they're like, "Whoa, what just happened?" Or, for their toy, they're keen for the toy, right? If I click and then I

throw the toy, or I click and then I present the tug, and they're like, "What just happened here?" And then eventually what happens is at some point, in anticipation of eating a treat or biting onto the toy, they stop barking. So they give you that. So a lotta people, just like yous said, I think that's a very good point, I wasn't even detailed enough for people who are

like this. Go first for the physical body, 'cause you can click and shape that easier. And then barking kind of goes away as they prepare their mouths for more useful things. (chuckling) And then you can start clicking that, and then add that criteria in. But usually I'm gonna go for body control first, which is stop biting, mauling, trying to take the toy, nipping at my underarm, tricep, clothing,

et cetera. - Right. - Yeah. - And for the dogs that are out in the field, right, let's give some concrete ideas of that first moment that you can click, when you have essentially lost their focus, or they won't come in to you. They don't want you to grab their collar, things like that, where there's that kind of frustration barking, a little bit more standoffish. And I think

there I would say your go-to is eye contact. 'Cause it can happen at a distance. - Right. - Right? So it's not that you're waiting for your dog to come all the way to you, or anything like that. You get that moment of eye contact, and that's what you're gonna mark and reward. - Yeah. And observers aren't gonna really understand, right? All they're gonna see is this dog

jumping up, nipping at you, biting at you, trying to get the toy and barking, and then they are still barking at you, and then you click and you give them the toy? They don't realize that you've clicked and reinforced for them not mauling you, or having four paws on the ground, and, as you said, when they become hand shy. So the Golden, then, I assume you mentioned this

because the Golden gets hand shy, right? And so Border Collies are very hand shy as well, right? So if something's going on and you try to put your hand on a Collie, they're going to instinctively, through generations of breeding, back away from you, especially if you move at them quite suddenly. So one of the things we do from puppyhood is get our dogs used to us grabbing at

their collars, for a wide variety of reasons, right, whether it's the vet, some car coming and they're gonna cross the street, whatever. Kids on the way, we wanna be able to grab our dogs by the collar and not have them freak out. And so I am gonna do collar conditioning work, and in that moment I will start it from ground zero right there with the Golden, right? So

first she gets clicked for not jumping, and then for not parking, and then I'm going to raise my hand and then click. - And I even move it towards-- - I don't even move it towards her. And then I will raise my hand and touch her head, and she gets a click, especially if she doesn't back away, right? And so on and so forth until I'm touching her

collar. So we've completely changed the game. We were here to do agility and we were here to practice some wraps. You know, right now I'm teaching the dog how to do some wraps and jump on Aidan's jump, and we're trying to increase distance. So as I step away and the wraps get farther and farther, at some point she's gonna fail. And when she fails I try and set

up for the next wrap, and she's like, "Screw that. I'm angry, I'm frustrated. You're making this harder, this is a bogus deal." And then she's gonna start her frustration barking and jumping up and all that stuff. - And it's almost like a double-whammy from the dog's point of view, right? They made the mistake, which they recognize, and then they don't get the reward because they made a mistake,

which really makes her mad. (laughing) - Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, you know, from the dog's perspective, this is just conversation. And yeah, and so then we end up playing the collar game. That may end the session there, or if I feel like she's sufficiently back, now I'll take a couple of steps in to make sure we have success, right. This is doing what Jennifer's telling you to do.

Modify the environment. We're gonna make things easier for the dog. I'm bringing her in two to three feet closer, where I knew she definitely had success last time. She's gonna do it, get rewarded. And what has she learned from all of this? She learned that barking and jumping and doing all that nonsense got her nothing, right, kept her away from the agility, delayed her from reinforcement, and that

there is a better way to get what she wants. And this ultimately is what your dog needs to learn. It's gonna pop out. Like I said, I've been doing all this work with the Golden, but I'm sure there are gonna be times where she's amped up, or she's gonna look out there, and again, Jennifer talked about this, what if there's five dogs visiting our yard out in the

field, and she comes through that gate? Maybe she's gonna "revert" back to her old behaviors. But that's just the stakes have been upped in the environment. And so then you have to proof against that, you've gotta work on that. But that's how you do it. So this should be a very clear blueprint for you, for everyone listening, okay? So you're gonna modify the environment, identify all the triggers,

those go hand-in-hand. You're gonna make sure you're not reinforcing the behavior, ignoring it in a very bad way, as Sarah pointed out, or egging the dog on, or matching frustration with your own frustration. We don't want any of that. And we want to provide alternative behaviors. We like to go for eye contact, but an alternative behavior to jumping all over you is what? Four paws on the ground.

Only needs to be for a moment. Click it or say, "Yes," reinforce yes with a toy that they so desperately are mauling you for. That's what they want, so you can give it to them. They just had to do something to earn it. So you need to get that alternative behavior there. And I think that covers, I think, broadly, everything there, right? So I'm looking at comments that

we had received about it. Yeah. And so I think other strategies, you wanna go back to the other podcast, like how you deal with over-arousal. Jennifer had... What were some of the things that you were doing, where you felt like maybe, Swiss, specifically, was very amped up, or could get amped up? Like, what were some things that, strategies that you were using before runs or after runs, where

you thought you saw some improvement? So these are kinda more general strategies that are away from in-the-moment. - Yeah. I've talked, and I'm a huge fan, decompression walks. I've had many, many conversations about them, really trying to focus on getting him in the right head space. In the training session I try to very much, and you already talked on this, Esteban, but kinda create a training loop. So,

you know, I'm training weave poles or teaching two-by-twos. You know, I don't just mark and reward and then randomly let the dog trot their way back to me, and then have a failure and circle around. We do weave poles coming to the side, do the cookie setup again. I had a lot of issues with my running dog walk, specifically when I wasn't creating an appropriate training loop. And

Abby, my training partner, Abby Beasley, got on me. She was watching me train and I was like, "He's barking at me! He's frustrated!" And I was getting frustrated. She's was like, "Create the loop, create the loop." She was like, "He runs the mat, he goes to the manners minder. He comes to you, he gets a cookie. He runs the mat, he goes to the manners minder. He gets

the cookie, he comes..." It was like, and as soon as I did he was like, "Okay, cool. This is a good plan. I got this." And I got rid of all the barking. I think in terms of progression, a lotta times people wanna go one, two, three, four, right up the levels, which can easily be putting that dog closer and closer and closer to failure. So one of

the things I like to do is be very kind of sporadic in the way I get up. So it might be like a one, two, one, three! Two, three, one, four! Like, let him have success, success. Okay, little harder. All right, back to another success. Okay, just a little bit harder. All right, let's get a couple of good ones. I think people wanna climb straight up and they're

just slowly climbing, climbing and climbing up that threshold. So I might-- - Guilty, guilty. That's me. - Do a forward spin from four feet away, do a forward spin from five feet away. Okay, and then I'm gonna go back to four feet. Okay, now let's try six, so that the dog's coming right off of that success. So lots of things. And I think building on what you guys

were saying with the barking, 'cause full circle back to what I was saying about the environment, which is all those tidbits you mentioned, super-great, except people don't wanna take the time to do it in a class, because the instructor needs to speak. And how does the instructor speak? In a quiet room. And so if a dog is barking, the person, and I see this every, every, every day

I'm at the building, shoves food in their dog's face so that the instructor can talk. Or the people are annoyed by the barking. So the dog is barking out of frustration. Rather than being patient and waiting for that moment, if I need to say something, or they'll look at me and say, "What did I do wrong?" Well, if their dog's barking, I won't talk, because I'm not gonna

scream and lose my voice over it. So I would be fine, as instructor, for them to wait it out, but they just want that immediate reply, so they start giving the dog a cookie and going, "Wait, what'd you say I need to do?" And boom, right there that dog's getting reinforced. The number of Shelties that have trained their handlers to feed 'em because that's how they get 'em

quiet, just like, you know, it's this vicious cycle. And so that's where, again, maybe the private lessons, where you can be patient and not feel the pressure of needing to get that dog quiet quickly because of the others that are around. - Yeah, such a great point. We've given you the tools. You know exactly what you need to do. You know exactly what we're doing for our own

high-drive dogs who have shown and exhibited these frustration behaviors. So now it's a matter of you incorporating it into your training, being prepared for it every single session at every moment, because there are some times that I just get blindsided. I'm like, "Oh, she hasn't done this in weeks or months," and then she does it and I'm like, "Wait, what do I do? "What am I...? Oh, yeah,

I kinda wait for her to calm down just for a second here." And also not try and finish the session, whatever I'm working on. Like, deal with this now. This is where the dog's at. So yeah, I think that's pretty helpful. All right, I think that does it for this week. - That's right. We'd like to thank our sponsor, Happy training! (lively piano music)

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