Training Tips

2 Jun 2014

Training Tip – Agility Training is 24/7

All too often, folks only train certain behaviors when they are at their training facility. Criteria can and should be rewarded in as many different environments as possible. Working in many diverse locations exposes your dog to every kind of distraction possible, and probably even distractions you never even thought to train through. This will help your dog truly understand what you expect of them when you give them their cues.

So, the next time you are taking your dogs out for a run on the beach or a walk in the forest, be prepared with rewards so that you can […]

23 May 2014

Training Tip – Let’s Play

Physically playing with your dog is an important factor in helping to create the toy drive necessary in agility. The main goal behind using tug toys in agility is the interaction between the dog and handler. Learning how to have a physical game without the use of a toy is a great stepping stone to moving on to enthusiastic and fun games of tug.

Physically playing with your dog first will help elevate their heart rate, kicking in the other physiological changes necessary for speed and drive, and will teach you both to love your unique technique of interacting with one […]

4 May 2014

Training Tip – Reward Your Recalls Daily

Your recall is one of the most important cues your dog will learn in his life. Not only is it important for general daily purpose and safety, but in an agility context, it is vital that your dog respond to his name or recall cue immediately. To keep the recall response at its strongest, you must practice it in every situation you can, and where you are prepared to highly reward your dog for responding.

We aim for at least 25 daily recalls where our dogs are rewarded for immediately responding. A fun game of tug is a great way to […]

4 Apr 2014

Training Tip – A Great Foundation Equals Great Life Skills

A GREAT FOUNDATION is not only about creating an Agility dog capable of reaching her full potential; a lot of this key training transfers across to essential life skills. Take Start Line training for example and the importance of remaining in position when asked:

If you talk to many of the best animal trainers in the world outside of agility, they will tell you that placement of reward is key in the understanding and drive required for any cued behaviour. If I want my dog to remain happily and confidently in a STAY, then rewarding him while he maintains this position […]

21 Mar 2014

Training Tip – Foundation Cues

The two most commonly used cues throughout agility handling are the shoulder rotation cue taught with circle work, and an acceleration cue taught with flat work. Both cues are first taught away from the equipment.

Just because your dog may run fast does not mean he understands an acceleration cue. True understanding of acceleration means when you give the cue, your dog will extend his stride, and in most cases will run ahead of you with his head forward on the line you are cuing. The most used cue for acceleration is… running!

Putting effort into teaching and gaining true understanding of […]

28 Feb 2014

Training Tip – Take a Break!

If you ever find that you and your dog are having some confusion on handling, take a break away from the equipment and revisit the foundation skill that taught the handling cue in the first place. Here you can not only evaluate where the confusion may stem from, but you can also break down the individual steps and highly reward your dog, building up the understanding once again.

23 Jan 2014

Training Tip – It’s all a GAME!

Begin and Finish every training session engaging in an energetic GAME with your dog, be this tug or initially just physical play.

This routine will create a very strong association between PLAY = WORK = FOOD = WORK = PLAY = HAPPY and ENTHUSIASTIC DOG!

Class starts for our Ultimate Reinforcement course on Monday, 27 January.  Hope to see you there!

23 Dec 2013

Training Tip – Reward Structure

What is reward structure really about? It’s being able to tell your dog he is brilliant while having fun. A key point to achieving great play is that you BOTH enjoy it. Don’t just play a token game of tug – really get into the game and be as enthusiastic as you can be. Are you both energetic, pulling hard against each other, both play-growling, while you are smiling and perhaps even laughing as you taunt him in a playful manner? Tease him with your free hand by slapping or grabbing at him, creating even more of a physical interaction. Remember, […]

10 Dec 2013

Training Tip – Why is tug such a vital tool for agility training?

To train true understanding and desire to perform behaviours, placement and rate of reward is critical. Food works well for static and stationary behaviours, but simply cannot elicit the same intense physiological responses from your dog that you can achieve with tugging. Tugging provides an opportunity to build your dog’s speed and drive, while allowing for correct placement of reward.Most importantly, the duration and intensity of reward needed for so many of the behaviours required in agility cannot be achieved with a food reward, such as when the dog is driving in hard to the handler on threadles, serpentines, […]