The Basics To Dog Agility Training and When To Start
The general rule is dogs should start their agility training as puppies. Not only do pups have more energy, they are more eager to learn and haven’t settled into their behavioral habits like an older dog. Though, contrary to popular belief, an old dog can learn new tricks!
Being old in a dogs’ life is subjective. There is no clear cut, defined age when it’s too late for dog agility training. This greatly varies from dog to dog. You’ll need to consider the canine’s past experience and their natural tendencies.
If your older dog is not receptive to new things, doesn’t play well with others and has a spoiled personality, agility training may not be the best idea. However, older four-legged friends with a happy disposition and a willingness to try new things are a better fit for agility training. The trainer must be dedicated and exercise great patience when dealing with an older dog.
Basic Dog Agility Training Tips
Physical Exercise: During the introduction phase of agility training, the trainer should incorporate physical exercise. Jumping and hopping are simple exercises that might get the older dog interested. Likewise, puppies are filled with energy and readily take on a fun challenge.
Playing Around: This next phase is progressive and dependent on the first. Children learn best when their interest is captured. How better to capture their interest than offering a fun, creative outlet.
Puppies are no different. Building off their previously learned physical exercises, it’s time to make them into exciting games. The pup may not get it right off the bat, but don’t keep the agility training session going for long periods of time.
Their attention spans are short, so base your lessons on cooperation and progress. Praise and promote your pups successes! Even if you don’t have a dedicated area for obstacle courses, you can still use other games that promote agility. Get creative and design a homemade tunnel or wall to help in training.
Keep It Short: Canines aren’t equipped the ability to give a passionate showing for learning, but they do have a strong desire to please their owners. Rewards and positive reinforcement will show your pup that he/she has done something pleasing to you and their desire to repeat that activity will increase.
As stated above, the attention span of a dog isn’t long, so don’t get frustrated if your dog loses interest in the agility training session. You’re dog will notice the difference in your tone and think his positive behavior that was just rewarded is no longer a good deed, but instead it makes you angry. Always end your sessions on a positive note. This will encourage the dog to cooperate for the next lesson.
Agility training for dogs does not depend solely upon the age of the dog, but also on the dogs ability and willingness to embrace a new activity. Your patience and dedication coincides with his/her responsiveness and ability to follow commands. Patience is essential, right along with a reward system, for any age dog to be receptive to learning new things with your dog agility training.