Summit and I had our first agility class last night and it was hugely disappointing and frustrating. As soon as we arrived and stepped out of the car we could hear the guns. Turns out there's a gun club down the road somewhere. It wasn't loud, but given Summit's fear of fireworks I was very happy that he seemed unperturbed by the guns. Even so I was giving lots of treats when particularly loud ones went off, just to be sure. I don't know if it wore him down over time or if the one freaked out dog in the class sent him into a downward spiral but he turned into a complete quivering wreck. I just don't understand how the first 15 minutes were great and then a switch flipped and he was like "OMG SCARY NOISE!". At first he was still grudgingly obeying commands, and even still taking very high value treats, but he deteriorated to not doing anything he was asked and refusing all food, even hot dogs and cheese. So we left early. I saw no point in staying as it had become completely counter productive by then. I was so disappointed. Not in him because it's not his fault he's gun shy, but I'd been looking forward to this course all summer. Our trainer is going to talk to the gun club about changing their shooting days or times. I will see if she was able to get them to do that, otherwise we may have to drop out of the course. I can't afford to pay for a class we're really not doing. At least the freaked out border collie was still doing obstacles. Summit turned into the famous greyhound statue. I do have to say though that his recall was still reliable. The border collie kept bolting for the exit to the ring. The entire property is fenced so the dogs are safe from traffic, but they do have some areas that are wooded.
I came home cursing about guns and how stupid they are to my poor boyfriend who happens to love guns. He just got his gun license and will probably bring his gun back from his parents' house soon. I wish I knew how to help Summit with this but I really don't beyond what we've already been doing. Maybe next week we'll take his Thundershirt with us and see if that helps.