My rescue dog runs agility for me very well, everywhere EXCEPT for the training center where I train. She will play with me and heel but she won’t do obstacles. She's very sensitive and will act like she's crushed if I use a negative marker. Any advice would be appreciated.
First, let me say all of your videos/articles on engagement have made my life much easier, but I've run into something where I'm stumped, as is everyone at the dog school where I take agility. My 2 year old pit runs great for me at home and everywhere, except our dog school, where she will run for everyone but me. When I walk in the main agility ring with her, she stops and looks like I'm about to beat her. I can do my engagement exercises with her and get her engaged and playing with me, do focused heeling and everything else, but can't direct her over obstacles. This just happens in the agility ring at the dog school, and only if I'm handling her. If we set up the agility obstacles in a different ring, she acts like she has a blast doing agility with me. She is a rescue, not sure what happened before we got her, but she is VERY sensitive, she acts like I have to be careful how I use negative markers or she acts like she is crushed. Appreciate any ideas you can give me.
I wouldn't ask for obstacles in the area she shows stress. I'd do restrained recalls and very fast sessions of engagement and then put her away. I wouldn't ask for any heeling or any formal behaviors.
She obviously feels a lot of stress with you in the main ring so stop taking her in there and asking for things she has shown you she's not comfortable doing. Just play with her there and don’t ask for her to run obstacles.
Our goals and our dog's comfort level aren't always on the same page.