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Things to do with a new pup (agility)

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Unfortunately, my BC(a rescue) has been ruined with abuse and does not have much drive for agility. But, I do train several different dogs in agility, and I keep those dogs, though they are not border collies, driven and racing over the obstacles is through the use of toys . Toys, toys, toys. Tugging, especially.


A game I always play with my beginner dogs is to leave them with a straight line of about 3-4 jumps. I have an extra special toy, usually a tugging toy, and lead all the way out. I then call them over, running as fast as I can until they catch up where then I have an enormous tugging game.


I actually recently was able to see a flyball competition for the first time ever just about a month ago adn was surprised to see these people doing the exact same things with the flyball dogs. So, I surely was doing something right to encourage speed!


Goodluck in your agility training with your pup.

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When you say pup how old do you mean? Baby or ready to start actual training? There are lots of things that you can do. Doing what Tessa has suggested but with the jump bars on the ground or completely removed so they are just running through the standards is great. You can also try this: Take a favorite toy/treat and put it about 15-20 feet away put your pup in a stay, put your hand on their chest just to re-enforce the position the say in a very exciting voice "Ready -- Rrreadddyyy- and then you release word I use "OK" race them to the toy/treat. If you beat them they dont get the treat but get to try again. If they win they get the treat. I guarantee that in a short time you'll be losing out! ) As they progress you can move the treat/toy further away, put a tunnel in the way, or a very low jump, add some distraction or body movement. Right now I have a very drivey pup not quite 4mos old I want to keep that drive but control it too so we are already working on the 1-2-3 game which is what I just outlined.

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Your biggest job is being patient while you wait for pup to mature! Others have given good advice about getting pup to play with a tuggy or a toy, and to enjoy food treats.


Teaching rear-end awareness is a good foundation skill - setting up poles or bars on the ground and having the pup stepping over them, so pup learns where its back end is.


Targetting your hand, and follwing the hand will prepare for smooth lead changes. Teaching 'go-outs' to a target will also be useful.


There's a good Greg Derrett video on Agility Foundation Skills - he's a UK competitor, but I think the video may be available in NTSC format.


And of course, building up a great learning partnership and relationship is the absolute fundamental to all dog games.

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As well as games, etc. the other equally if not more important things to do with a puppy is to work on developing a working relationship with your pup, solid basic obedience including 100% recalls, having your pup be able to work AND learn in a distracting environment, working on impulse control, having distance control of your toys, food rewards, etc. so that the puppy only gets them when allowed to, and developing a work ethic in your puppy. :rolleyes:

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I've been learning about this myself since my dog is too young to jump and too immature for agility training, but we are probably headed that way.


A couple of things we've been doing.


**Lay a ladder on the floor and have the dog walk over the ladder. It teaches the dog to pay attention to where his back legs are; I've also seen examples where people lay down poles, hula hoops, etc to teach the dog that he has four feet.


**Have the dog interact with moving equipment. When my dog and I walk by the playground and it is free of kids, we go on the merry go round (very slowly). He thinks it is a lot of fun. We also go up play towers and other things just so that he is comfortable and confident with strange equipment and new situations.


**Obedience training to improve our communication and get his brain used to learning. He has developed quite the love of clicker training and I've also learned a lot about increasing his play-drive so that he will work for the honor of playing tug with me.


**Staying positive and fun when we train anything and never pushing the dog beyond what he's comfortable with on that day!

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I have a ton of dowel rods and PVC lying around. Since Joy's not old enough for jumps and weaves, I scatter big piles of PVC and dowels around the living room to create better body awarness. I only use toy motivators, not food. I have several rabbit pelts knotted together and a fire hose tug for rewards. I tug with them for about 10 seconds.


You can also start teaching tunnels with chairs and a sheet. Place two chairs back-to-back and drape a sheet over the top. The chairs should be about 12" apart. Have someone hold your pup on one end, and get all excited and crazy with the toy on the other side. When you give the word, have the helper release the dog. Praise lavishly, and tug for a while. You can start gradually adding more chairs to make a bigger chute.

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