So now that it?s summer, many people are looking to get their dogs(and themselves) more active. One topic that?s come up is Dog Agility Training. It?s a great way for an owner and dog to bond, through training and practice. I went in search of some rules to use when starting dog agility training.
1)Use the pet?s name after the command. This is a very helpful tool because not only does it get their attention, but it also lets them know that you want them to do something. If they are in the midst of doing the action required, their name keeps them focused.
2)Always use patience and positive reinforcement, rather than anything close to punishment. It?s a dog training rule that punishments doesn?t really do a whole lot to get the right behaviors out of your animal. It?s better to focus on what they are doing correctly and encourage it.
3)Use toys that teach as a precursor to Agility Training. Toys that require some maneuvering are great for your dog. Not only is he learning that behaviors get him rewards, he?s also working on focusing on that reward. He?s paying attention and learning to work until the job is complete.
4)Work through every element of the obstacle course. Use jumping, poles, tunnels and ramps to round-out your dog?s training. If he?s particularly wary of one exercise, take time to work with him slowly at it. A lot of dogs are afraid of the tunnels. It may take some consistent encouragement from the other side of the tunnel to get your dog to go completely through, but be sure to shower him with praise when he does it.
5)Never get angry on the course. Anger doesn?t work with dogs. It will only make them scared and unsure of what you really want. Be firm but be open with praise and encouragement. Use treats as rewards and verbal praises as extras.
6)Once your dog is accustomed to the course, work on perfecting movements. For example, the weave around cones should be done at certain angles to cut down on time. This is something a dog new to the course won?t get yet, but after a few successful practice runs, it?s time to start working on details.
7)Give commands before an object is reached. Let him know what exactly is going to be expected of him before you get to the apparatus. Your dog should be familiar with the element, but the command will only reinforce what he?s supposed to do.
8)Remember to work with your dog’s abilities. A puppy will need shorter training times. An older dog will need the same.
9)Be sure to give your pet plenty of positive affirmations and plenty of water breaks.
Agility Training is a great way to spend quality time with your canine and work up a sweat yourself!
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