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I took Chip to an advanced class that included agility training yesterday and things didn't go so well. The class huge for us (there were 15 dogs total), and Chip is only used to having one or two other dogs around. He refused to listen to me, refused to heel, refused to sit because he was trying too hard to try and sniff the big dogs around him, and I got pretty frustrated. I have an extremely well-behaved, well-mannered dog...in calm settings. Chip is extremely intelligent- it takes three times of him properly doing a trick/command to learn it. Six months after I got him I decided we were bonded enough to do training well, and he learned more tricks in a shorter amount of time than any german shepherd, border collie, australian shepherd, "smart dog breed" etc. that I know. He literally knows about 50 separate tricks/commands at this point, and figures out what I mean with new tricks without me actually having to show him. You can see the little gears in his head working! We'd only have about 20 minutes of training every other day or so, and he's SO excited to learn...so I know he's a smart dog and I'm pretty sure he knows what I mean when I talk to him at class.

When I took him around the agility course the week before to gauge his willingness/ability, he took to it like a champ and it looked like he was having fun. Yesterday, though, he only ran it (we weren't really running...more of like the dog version of a trot) three times and by the end of the third I was literally dragging him by his harness through. I took him out of the course and walked him around the store, and he was fine and hyper and trying to dance for everyone.

I brought him close to the class area again and he balked. I brought him to the agility area and he balked. I picked him up and put him inside of the closed-off space and he wouldn't do anything. Ears went back, whites of eyes were showing, was moving really slow, etc.

I waited until everyone had left and took him over one jump and went crazy with treats and praise so he could end on a good note, but now I'm wondering if I should bring him back. Chip is a really confident dog normally, so I don't know if the course just overwhelmed him?

Any thoughts?
 

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has he encountered the agility course before? I think you may want to buy/rent some of the supplies and then use them at your own home. This way you will be able to figure out if it is the size of the class or the equipment that is making him nervous.

If it is not the equipment then you should keep going to the classes and keep working at it at his level, and more socialization with bigger dogs may help to stop him from being so darn distracted.

Just an idea hope this helps.
 
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