Agility Training Tips
Make Agility Fun, Fun, Fun for your dog. As a famous instructor once said ...
you need to be more fun than chasing a squirrel.
use positive reinforcement such as treats and the "Yes" word when starting Agility. Later you will be able to
reduce the frequency as your dog gains proficiency.
Reward with small
high-value soft treats. In their
excitement, dogs tend to swallow without
the use of the "No" word. "No" typically comes across as
harsh. "Oops, Try again" is a softer sounding, friendlier phrase.
In the early stages of training:
is helpful in guiding your dog over a Jump or through Weave Poles, etc.
Keep training sessions short. After about 15
minutes you'll lose your dog's attention. Schedule multiple sessions throughout
Set your criteria and only reward when your dog
meets your criteria. "Close
enough" is not "Good Enough". Strive for accuracy ... speed
will come in time. You may set your criteria at a fairly low level when first
starting Agility and then raise it over time. Make sure your dog understands
you raised your criteria. For example:
When 1st starting Agility, you may reward your
dog for running through the Uprights of a Jump ( no Jumping required )
Later your criteria may be that your dog must
Jump 4" before receiving a reward
Ultimately a reward is given when your dog jumps
his or her specified height
There are numerous articles written on how to train your dog
in Agility. Do an internet search on "Dog Agility Training" and
you'll find an overwhelming ( sometimes
conflicting and confusing ) wealth of information. Following are some Basic
Tips that hopefully will get you started on the right paw.
Let your dog familiarize him or herself with the
obstacle before you start training
We recommend setting up the obstacle a day or
two before your 1st training session. Let your dog get accustomed to the
obstacle ( smell, sight, etc. ). You want the obstacle to become normal part of
the environment and your dog understand that it is nothing to fear.
Every dog is unique and learns at a different
Expect set-backs. One day your dog may be
weaving wonderfully, but the next day popping out of the poles. Patience here
is a virtue.
Start your Jump Training with just the Uprights
( no Jump Bar ). You will add the Jump Bar later.
leash and / or treats ) your dog through the Uprights and reward with a treat
and "Yes" when he or she
runs through the Uprights. At this point you are associating rewards with the
Point to the Jump and quietly use a voice command such as "Jump" or
"Over". Again reward your dog for running through the Uprights.
Once your dog is having fun running through the
Uprights, it's time to add a Jump Bar. Place the Jump Bar at the lowest level possible ( normally 4"
) and coach your dog over the Jump ( continue to point to the Jump and use a
voice command ). Reward heavily after your dog completes the Jump.
Once your dog is comfortable at the 4" Jump
height, slowly raise the Jump Bar until you reach the appropriate height for