Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Second Day

The weather on the second day of the agility trial was perfect. Once again, Reagan had a very nice Open Jumpers run. We did not qualify, but she was happy and comfortable. I decided to do my own thing in Excellent Standard. I wanted to ask her to do something short and easy, so we could leave on a happy, positive note. We simply did two jumps and the A-frame.

We had some other problems at the trial site. Reagan noticed certain vehicles driving past the venue and was unable to fetch her toy.

It is disappointing to note that Reagan appears to be getting worse. Her first agility trial was her best and it has only declined from there. I am also starting to have problems at my agility field and the biking trail. I am now concerned that one of our encounters will lead to her bolting out of fear so she no longer has any off leash privileges.

People say she just needs more experience and to give her more time. This is simply not the case with phobias. Continued exposure worsens the phobia. Storm phobia is probably the best example. Dogs do not improve with repeated exposure to storms. You can counter condition and desensitize using recordings, but they are rarely successful. In Reagan's case, she has numerous triggers and new ones all of the time. I do not know how I would begin to desensitize her to all of those sounds.... especially as she adds new triggers to the list.

I am not sure how to proceed at this point. The reality of having a 3 year old stay-at-home dog is a real possibility. I honestly do not care if I cannot compete her in agility. I would be thrilled if she would continue to enjoy biking and jumping at the my agility field. But if she eventually refuses to travel (and we will be going back to the van soon), it will probably become a reality.