For 40+ years we've helped over 300,000 dog trainers just like you!

Learn more about Leerburg

$6.99 Flat Rate Shipping

Learn more
Ask Cindy Our Newsletter Free Catalog
Leerburg » Leerburg Q&A » Answered

Do you have a dog training or equipment question?
Leerburg's Q&A database has 3350 entries from multiple categories.


Categories: Recall and Come

Q. My dog gets the 'zoomies' at the agility field and it is impossible to catch her. She also will only play tug indoors, not outside. Can you help me?
Hi Cindy,

I've a few questions regarding the training my 2 1/2 year old Sheltie. I've recently started agility classes despite not having attended any other formal dog training. We have been following your 8 Weeks to 8 Months, Food, and Tug DVD since she was a puppy. We hardly train outdoors, we have very few dog friendly places to go to. The only time we go outdoors are for walks around the neighborhood.

Whenever we arrive at the agility field, my Sheltie gets super excited and does a lot of zoomies. Her zoomies last for a very long time and it is impossible to catch her.

After the initial zoomies, when we are on the course attempting to do agility, her zoomies will be triggered again when she sees another dog nearby or a bird (the dogs are not crated up in the club and free to wonder). If someone walks past with their dog, she stops what she is doing and runs after that dog and the zoomies start again. I've tried calling her and running away from her to the other end of the field, but she just ignores me and carries on with her zoomies.

I am not able to put a long leash on her as the leash will get in the way when she is jumping. I'm not sure how to go about stopping the zoomies and also how to working on having solid recalls. We do not have a good recall to begin with and in this situation, her recalls are non-existent.

The other thing is to get her to tug outdoors. As we have never tug outdoors, she refuses to tug. She would look at me like I was an idiot as tugging is only done indoors. What do you think I could do to get her interested to tug with me outdoors? She use to spit her food out when we were outdoors and would prefer to sniff and check things out instead of taking any treats. She is much better now and will take her treats enthusiastically but nothing has changed with tugging.

Thank you so much in advance for your help and answering my questions.

A. I would stop allowing her off leash right now. By continuing to allow this behavior you are going to make it harder and harder to fix. I would stop focusing on the actual agility training and go back to basics and work only engagement and recalls. If you can't get engagement, recalls or tug outside then that's what you should be putting all your training energy into. As someone that does agility myself I see this all the time. Not only is it not good dog training it's also dangerous as she could run by the wrong dog and be attacked. If your dog can't control herself at class there is no way she will ever be able to go to a trial and be successful.

I would suggest Training the Recall and Advanced Concept of Motivation.

Your homework is to start getting tug outdoors and to begin working on restrained recalls, starting with your backyard.

This may take months and months to get any results but don't give up. A dog that does the zoomies when off leash without a recall should NOT be off leash, period. Dogs need to earn off leash privileges.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes
Recommended Products
The Power of Training Dogs w/ Food feat. Michael Ellis
The Power of Training Dogs w/ Food feat. Michael Ellis
We are pleased to announce the release of a new and updated version of The Power of Training Dogs with Food. This new video was filmed entirely in HD. We did not use any of the video footage from the original DVD. In addition, the new DVD was produced from a totally new training outline and layout.

The Power of Training Dogs w/ Markers
The Power of Training Dogs w/ Markers
3 Hours, 33 Minutes
Marker training (also called clicker training or operant conditioning) is one of the most profound systems of dog training that I have seen in my 50 years of owning, breeding and training working dogs. In its most basic form, it's a method of communication that is very clear for dogs to understand. Dogs learn the marker language quickly and when they do they thrive in training. The marker system produces dogs that love to train.

Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months
Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months
1 Hour, 59 Minutes
This is one of our most popular training videos for new puppy owners. Over 35 years Ed Frawley bred close to 400 litters of German Shepherd puppies. He knows what new puppy owners need to learn to end up with a calm quiet happy dog in the house. The DVD was updated in October 2010 to reflect how Ed and Cindy raise puppies in their home.

Out of stock

20% off Select Michael Ellis and Ed Frawley DVDs, streams, and courses good through Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 11:59 PM CT