December McTip: Discussion on Training Do-Over’s
I am currently training my 10th agility dog & although I’ve done it many times – there is always a new challenge! Every one of my dogs has presented me with different challenges & successes. I believe it’s one of the reasons I have been able to help coach other handlers with their dogs. I have been teaching weekly classes for well over a decade & have seen SO many breeds & differently types of personalities come through my program. A different approach often needs to be taken when teaching in order to get every dog & handler doing & enjoying the sport of agility.
Recently, I have had an abundance of people with new puppies or dogs new to agility ask me for advice. (BTW puppy training is my absolute favourite phase of training) I often reply to them with answers based on my experience in training my own dogs. I have offered suggestions as to how to choose a puppy from a litter and also how to raise a dog for competitive dog sports. The other advice I can offer are suggestions of what I wished I would have done with my previous dogs! As I mentioned earlier, I have trained many agility dogs & each time I learned something more about how to raise an agility champion. My expectations are high & my hopes when I get a new puppy is that they will one day be competing internationally. To date, I have trained 6 dogs (in 3 different height categories) up to the international level & have been lucky enough to represent Canada with those dogs at the World Championships. How I have been successful with multiple dogs? We’ll I’ve had to benefit of being raised in a dog training family BUT I’ve also had the privilege of learning from each of my dogs! I feel that each new dog I get seems to be better trained then the last one.
So my discussion…….
When people are new to agility they bite the agility bug pretty early on! It’s easy to understand, agility is both fun & rewarding for the dog & human 🙂 BUT – If I’ve heard one saying many times it would be “I wish I knew that when I trained my first dog!” SO – here’s our chance to help the newbies 🙂
What advice would you give someone who is just starting out in agility? What do you wish you knew more about when training your first dog? What you NEVER do again in your training? What you ABSOLUTELY DO AGAIN in your training next time around. The suggestions can be short & simple.
I will start our discussion off with a few things I WOULD do again & again & again 🙂
– Lay down a solid foundation in obedience (day to day stuff) BEFORE focusing on agility. My most well trained dogs in life are also my most successful agility dogs!
– Take time to build a solid relationship between my puppy & me. I have multiple dogs & I like to separate the puppy a lot while they are young so they can bond with me before my the dogs in my pack.
Omg – A million things come to mind right now 🙂 This is going to be an interesting discussion. I can’t wait to read your posts! Remember it can be simple things like…
– I would be more consistent with my criteria on contacts
– I would take more time to build confidence on the teeter totter
Let’s help our new friends in agility make great choices with their new agility dog based on our experiences!