We just started a 6-week Puppy Agility Foundation class. I thought I’d chronicle what we are learning on the blog.
Our first class was, unfortunately, raining and cold! It had been mostly a nice day, if cold, and then of course, right when class was to start, the clouds developed and here came the rain. We tried our best, but had to halt to wait for it to pass. Thankfully, it did after not too long, but by then we were all wet and cold, so things went quickly. Regardless, I was happy to have Emme involved in a new situation with distractions, other dogs, people, and trainers!
Things we learned:
Getting your puppy’s attention by saying their name, or making noises, moving, etc. Great to practice with other dogs around as it is exponentially more difficult! Emme is pretty good at this, but VERY distracted by the other dogs so it is challenging.
Wait & GO! This is the foundation of a lead-out on the agility course. There are many instances where you want your dog to sit at the start line, while you walk out several feet, or even yards, before motioning for them to “GO.” Right now, we just have them sit, “wait” and then “GO!” and take off running with them. Fun, but again Em was very distracted and thought the other puppies were having more fun than she was.
Target: This is the start of teaching your dog a command that means “I need to put my front paws here” – which translates in agility, making sure they hit the contacts on things like the teeter, A-Frame, etc. We used Frisbees and simply worked on treating the pups when they put their two front paws on the Frisbee. This is more challenging than it sounds. Emme liked to just lie down on the Frisbee… That is cute and all, but not what we want in the end.
Touch: Basically, you teach your dog to touch your hand with their nose, and then give them a treat with their other hand. This starts teaching them to follow your hand – which you do a lot to lead them around the agility course at first. We have been working on Touch already so Em was pretty good at this but we need to work on it more with distractions and more difficulty.
I can’t wait to see what the next classes bring (hopefully nicer weather)!