If you’re considering training your dog to compete in agility competitions, there are several things you’ll need to consider. Obviously, some dogs will be better at it than others, but almost any dog can be trained to do it successfully. When thinking about how to start training a dog for agility, many people wonder how old the dog must be before they begin. The first thing you should realize is that many of the the things you will be teaching your dog are things they love to do naturally. As soon as you get your puppy home and begin playing with him you can begin working on some agility training. Even if you don’t plan on participating in competitions, agility training can greatly benefit your dog.
The best method for how to start training a dog for agility as a puppy is simply by playing with him. Everyone knows how much puppies love to play, so that won’t be a problem. The thing you want to do is gear the playing toward basic agility skills that you can build on later. Since puppies do not have the attention span or the stamina of older dogs, you’re going to want to keep your training sessions short. You also want to stay away from the more dangerous obstacles such as jumps and things that are more than a few inches high. The last thing you want to do is injure your puppy unnecessarily. Next, we will look at some basic training techniques that will prepare your puppy for the more advanced stuff later on.
How to start training a dog for agility as a puppy is by using the most basic obstacles. A small box that is just a few inches high can be useful for many different purposes. You can begin climbing exercises and practice basic commands this way. Most agility courses include tunnels and weave poles. These are great tools for how to start training a dog for agility. The nice thing is that they are completely safe for use with puppies.
Treats or rewards should be used in any kind of dog training, especially with puppies. Obviously, your dog will want to do the things that please you if knows he will get something out of it too. When using tunnels, your puppy may be afraid or hesitant to enter at first. If he has a favorite ball, you can try rolling it through the tunnel and see if he will follow. Make sure to reward him, even if he only goes part of the way in. then you can work on sending him all the way through.
The same principle can be used when dealing with the weave poles. Take the same favorite ball and weave it through the course the same way you want your puppy to go. When he follows it through, reward and praise him at the other end of the course. Remember that your puppy will be a bit more clumsy than an older dog. As he progresses in his training, place a small stick in his mouth as goes through the weave poles. This will get him used to the spacing that is required in order to avoid bumping into the poles.
This is only the first step in how to start training a dog for agility. However, these basic exercises will give your dog a solid foundation on which to build future training.