Chutes can be tricky, even though they’re a lot of fun! Use these tips to keep your dog charging through!
- Shorten the chute for beginners or shy dogs.
- Let in the light Start by lifting the chute so your dog can see you as he goes through.
- Keep it sweet. Give lots of treats after your dog comes barreling out!
- Straight and narrow. If your dog has issues, call them straight through the chute to lessen the chances of them getting lost in the folds of fabric.
- Once your dog is committed to the obstacle and going through, call them. Be careful where you call from! if you call from behind they may turn around. Call from in front, and to the side from which they are to exit.
I’d also like to add that when you call your dog through the chute be aware of the timing of the call, especially if you want the dog to do a turn after it leaves the tunnel and you are not in a good position to call it straight through. Calling the dog too soon can cause it to turn too quickly, and it can get caught up in the fabric more easily.
You can also work on slowing the dog down a little before it enters the chute if you can see that there might be a problem with the chute not being straight. If you’ve taught the dog a command to slow it down before it gets onto the teeter, use that command.
Also, always be sure to check the obstacles BEFORE your run to make sure the chute has been properly straightened. I’ve seen it happen that the chute didn’t get straightened between dogs and then you’re stuck with whatever happens because of it.
Practice, practice, practice for the possibility of an unstraightened tunnel chute. If it’s windy the chute can get twisted up and your dog will still have to perform it properly. Sometimes the cute tunnel is used more than once in a run. In practice you can gradually move the chute to the right and left (more and more angled to the barrel) so the dog can learn how to maneuver itself, change speed, work its way out of a crumpled chute without panicking.
One of the most important areas of chute training that is missed even by some experienced trainers is to train the dog to keep their head low as they go through the fabric end of the chute. I have seen so many times at trials/shows where a dog got caught up in the chute. If taught to keep their head low by starting with putting targets, treats or throwing a ball low and close to the chute exit they will learn to always move the fabric with their shoulders, instead of their nose. If the head or nose comes up it could cause the fabric to fold in on them.
Oh, thank you! I forgot to mention it, I’m so glad you did! That’s great advice.