Turning Around in Chutes

I need some help with my dog going through the chute. She goes through the tunnel easily, but the chute is scary to her and she turns around coming out the entrance. Any quick solutions?

Thank you,
An eager agility student

Chutes can be very scary! It might help your dog for you to shorten the chute for practice – you can use binder clips to pin it up.

Another tip is to have a helper hold the chute open for you, so your dog can see through to the end, like a tunnel. Then call your dog through the chute. After a few successful runs, have the helper start dropping the chute on the dog’s back so they get accustomed to the fabric touching their back. Work your way along until the dog charges through without the fabric needing to be held at all. This is especially important if you practice on a heavy competition chute, since they let less light through and require more effort to push through.

Always call your dog straight through the chute – run to the end and call from there, because calling from an angle can cause tangles.

Make chutes a high-reward obstacle, with lots and lots of cookies. I wouldn’t practice this obstacle to death – keep your sessions short and have one or two sessions a day if possible. Keep it up, you’ll get there!


3 Comments on “Turning Around in Chutes

  1. I agree. Start over with a short, open chute (having a helper is great). I always teach the chute as a short first and then 1/2 before a full chute…always open. Then slowly lower the chute (this is where a helper really comes in handy). At first lower the chute just enough that the dog can feel it and work up to lowering the chute fully to where the eyes can still see to get out and finally the full chute is down.
    One thing I also teach is “use your voice”. Just like the tunnel, if you talk the dog knows where you are. If we put a curve in the tunnel, at first some dogs pop out the back end, but if you are talking, they often will follow your voice. Give them an excited voice to follow and they will be happy to find you at the end.

  2. As stated above, I would start over again with the chute just barely hanging over the opening to the barrel. If your dog is toy motivated, you stand back of the barrel, give your command for the chute. Just as the dog is running through the barrel throw/roll the toy past and straight in line with the exit side of the barrel(the direction the dog is to go). Start adding more chute to the exercise but in small steps. The dog should have learned to run straight out to get the toy. DO NOT let the dog come back to you at the barrel for any rewards. After you throw the toy and the dog is in pursuit, you must run staight forward to “play” with your dog. NEVER let him circle back to you at the barrel. Fun and food is ALWAYS on the exit side, straight in line with but some distance from the chute. Hope this works for you as well as it did for me. Good luck

  3. I would start over from the beginning using a shorter chute and keeping it open with a the help from a friend. Get the dog running through this way then slowly lower it. THen once those are mastered increase to the longer chute. Start over like you did with the shorter chute and slowly lower it.

    Also, keep a target (a yellow butter container lid works well) with a treat on it straight from the opening of the chute, this gives a reason for the dog to run straight but will also help to alleviate any fears. if the dog isn’t treat motivated but maybe likes toys throw the toy after the dog leaves the chute.

    Good luck!