Temper Tantrums in Dog Agility Training

agility dog tantrumNo we are not referring to human temper tantrums though I am sure you will see those too at some point in your competition career. We are talking about dog’s that have either learned or came wired for tantrums when things don’t go their way or they become frustrated in learning.

If you have a dog that has thrown a tantrum you will know what we are talking about. For those of you that have never experienced it, be glad. My collie mix, Quick, has temper tantrums of truly toddler proportions complete with throwing himself on the ground, flailing his front paws and yodeling at the top of his lungs. For the onlooker I am sure it is a real hoot, however, for me it is very frustrating.

A friend’s German Shepherd screams like a little girl when his collar is needed to redirect him inside because all other attempts have failed.  Oh, the cruelty and horror of bringing a dog in on a freezing night when they want to play. Again, very comical for others and frustrating for the owner.

Unfortunately, this behavior will show up in training as well. When a dog becomes overwhelmed or confused with what is being taught they can flip on the tantrum and flip off the brain. It is up to you as the owner to see the warning signs that your dog is checking out and redirect them with an activity that will stop them short.

For my dog, I have found that asking him to lie down, spin or shake in a gentle, firm tone (not too low) will stop or avoid the unwanted behavior as these are his absolute most favorite tricks EVER. They give him success, reset his mind and confidence and he is ready to start the lessons again.

How do you snap your dog out of a funk? What works best for your dog?