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Unintentional Agitation

This video shows how good, high quality, high achieving competitive dog teams achieve their success during competition.

It is important to note that I am not detracting from any of these teams, these are dedicated people giving their dogs a fulfilling live-style. I will draw parallels between their agitation techniques and how pet dog owners inadvertently agitate their dogs into doing exactly what they don't want them to do.

What you can see in this video is how the handlers restrain, push, prod, slap, pull and talk to their dogs to increase the level of motivation to jump for the bumper high above the pool.

It is worth mentioning that whilst all this sounds quite mean all these signals serve the purpose of frustrating the dog. It is this very frustration that is channeled into a positive outlet via the sport itself by motivating the dog to perform at their highest level. Live examples can be seen at any dog beach, dog park, vet and even walking with your dog you can encounter this.

If you look at the video carefully and follow the notes I have given you in it, you will see exactly how the dog - who already really wants that bumper - is increasingly frustrated to a peak motivation.

Imagine now, that you are at the dog park and another owner comes in with a dog you can see is a problem, watch how excited their dog is prior to getting into the fenced entry point. Compare that to the athletic dogs in this video. Any similarities? Most likely the dog is pulling hard and the owner is pulling back, the dog is spinning, barking and jumping.

Look at the dog that the owner does not fully trust when in an off lead dog area, the owner will crowd their dog and restrain them by their harness or collar, lift their front paws off of the ground and talk to them in an ever increasing pitch, even pointing around at the other dogs.

Watch closely the techniques that these well versed sport veterans - one of these dogs holds a world record, another placed 3rd at the USA national level - perform so cleanly and compare them to the pet dog owner with the troubled dog. Even compare them - honestly - with your own handling of your dog in troubled situations.

Are you adding to your dogs motivation or are you providing a structure and skill set to allow your dog to be a good dog.

In any environment your dog should be functionally obedient, that means your dog should be able to:

  • Sit

  • Down,

  • Stay,

  • Come

For more on that refer to the Functional Obedience Series in this blog.

I do not own this video content. This video was taken from the Purina Pro Plan Channel. I have simply cut out examples to highlight points of interest. For the full video please refer to:

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