Reader Question: Motion Fear

Wwgoodson asks “I started my second Boston Terrier puppy. He is 7 months old. He was doing all the baby obstacles with gusto the first few weeks. One night he accidently stepped on a motion board just as a bigger dog was getting on it and it threw him off. He has been terrified of motion ever since. He is now transferring his fear to the dog walk. Any advice?”

Here are my ideas, and hopefully others will weigh in with ideas to help you! (Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you, first off! Things have been crazy busy this spring and summer at Affordable Agility!)

That’s a scary thing to happen to a little guy! I think there are a few things to maybe help a bit.

Use a buja board or rocker board, ‘dampened’ with towels – shove towels or something under the edges to make movement minimal.  Shape interaction with the buja or rocker board and slowly increase the motion as he becomes more comfortable with the motion.

For the dogwalk, try working on just the end behavior for a bit – hopping onto the ramp, running to the end and getting rewarded.  You can also try lowering the dogwalk so that it isn’t quite so scary.  It’s tough to start over, but in the end, it’s worth it for your dog.

Another option is a contact trainer or Mini A-frame.  Having a contact obstacle in a smaller, more manageable size may help your dog overcome their fear.