Knowhow-Now Article

Dog Agility Training For Your Puppy

You may be thnking, "When can I start agility training with my new puppy?" You can start immediately, with certain recommendations. Puppies are always learning, so every time you are with your pup you can be playing and socializing with agility in mind. Always remember, if you can control your puppies environment, you can teach and train the behaviors you want, left on their own, even in a fenced yard, puppies will learn and develop behaviors that later we may want or need to extinguish.

Tip: Boredom barking should be taken care of. Dogs that are barking from boredom are because of owner flaws.

Expose your puppy to different surfaces. One of the first behaviors we teach our pups is "Box" or "Table". This behavior transfers to the agility pause table. Lure pup up on a low pause table, treat them on the table. You can call the pause table anything you want. (If I was starting over I would name the pause table "Box" instead of "Table" for my dogs because on the agility course there is the potential to have too many "T" words, i.e. tunnel, tire, table, and teeter. The problem is I am also a creature of habit, and under pressure revert back to my default words, "table" would be one of them.)

Tip: Use the same command for the behavior you want him to demonstrate. Begin each command by using his name.

Teach your pup to "Box", meaning to get up on a variety of obstacles. In our training field we use "Box" for upside down kennel tops, the bottom of barrels turned upside down, bird crates, and more. Be creative with your pup, get them to get up on all kinds of surfaces, exposing them to different shapes, sizes, and textures. Once your pup is comfortable getting up on a "Box", then you can begin to ask them to sit on the box also.

Tip: When training your dog never punish him; doing so will only make him be resistant to any further training. If he misbehaves, correct him, but most importantly, you should try to prevent that behavior from happening to begin with.

You can also begin to use Buja boards for motion training. Buja boards are generally made from plywood, 36" x 36" with a painted surface or covered surface. On the underside, there is a 2x4 box where a partially deflated ball is placed. This enables the Buja board to rock gently. At first you can reward your pup for getting one paw on the board, then reward for two feet and eventually all four. Depending on your pups temperament will determine how fast they get comfortable on the Buja Board.

Tip: You need to always be training your dog on a consistent basis. Sometimes, you will fail when training your dog, which you should expect.

Perch training can also be started with young pups. The Perch is generally a 1'x1' wood surface that is raised by 2"x4"'s underneath. So the Perch is about four inches in height. The Perch helps teach pups rearend awareness. Again, you can reward your pup for getting one front paw on the perch and then the other. Perch training is mostly used with just the front paws on the Perch.

These are just a few behaviors you can teach your young pup. Exposure to a variety of surfaces and heights will help your pup build confidence in his future agility training.

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