October 30th 2008 4:36 am
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When you are training for agility there are a few tips that will help you and your dog succeed. We all know that some training is required for obedience as well as socialization, but agility is a specialized training that can take you and your dog further. There are some dogs, small and large, that have more ability for agile work or play. When you offer the obstacles, jobs, and other exercise they tend to be happy dogs because they are getting what their intelligence requires. Often agility training is thought to be for dog shows, police dogs, or even for guard dogs, but the truth is it can be for any dog you want to make happy and have fun.
The first tip for agility training is that you should work the dog on both sides of the handler. In other words you are going to make sure the dog watches you from both sides and that in one segment you practice with the dog on your left and then switch this can give them the mental capacity to be able to move with more fluidity. For example when you are working with examples you don’t want the dog to understand where the owner is in relation to the obstacle. Instead they need to be shown the owner can be anywhere.
Often times your dog is going to be very excited during training. This can work against you in some cases. You want to make sure they follow your lead and you need to make sure they stay at the same pace. You want to make sure the dog can handle the obstacles and the course, but don’t let them push you through the work and don’t push them. Some dogs need more time to grasp concepts. Patience will always win out over irritation when you have commands and agility they need to perform and understand.
Motivating your dog is very important as well. Some dogs need more motivation. There are several ways to provide motivation. You can change out the obstacles and the course for a highly intelligent dog that gets bored, you can provide treats for a job well done, or you can offer toys to get them going.
Consistency in agility training is needed. Some dogs lack the confidence to perform, but they tend to do so for their owner. The more work you provide and the more you are affectionate and caring when they complete a task right the more they can feel proud and begin to improve. Dogs can be very sensitive and they pick up on disappointment. Always try to help your dog feel the best.
You also want to watch that you don’t over train. Overtraining when a dog experiences issues with an obstacle can make them avoid the course, get discouraged or provide less enthusiasm. It is best to work a course and work on problems at a good pace, but also to realize when the dog needs a break from something they don’t get right away.
When you are working with agility training it is important to remember that a dog will only remember the training as long as you continue to work with them. It is not a good idea to provide just one day a week with agility training. You should supply two or three sessions a week that are short. You don’t want to over work the dog either. It can be both stressful and become boring.
For agility training you will find that it is not necessary for all dogs or proper care, but for those dogs who love to play, and have jobs agility training can keep them happier and more fit.
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