Training your Puppy for Dog Agility Contests
Dog owners often ask when you should start agility training
with your puppy. The answer is simple: start immediately,
with care. Puppies probably learn faster than dogs of any
other age, so whenever your puppy is being playful or
socializing you can do exercises that will make it easier
for you to train for an agility contest. Just don't ask a
puppy to take on any strenuous training, puppies are more
easily injured and their strength is not yet developed.
If you are in control of your puppy's environment you can
train and teach your puppy the behaviors that you want it to
learn. Leave a puppy to its own devices all the time and it
will learn behaviors that you may need to retrain out of the
puppy. You are actually giving your puppy a head start in
life if you start training early, as well as saving yourself
some time and effort.
You can start by exposing your puppy to different types of
surfaces. One good behavior to begin with is called the
"Box." The "Box" will transfer well to the agility pause
(Note: Some people use the word "Table" for this behavior,
but because of the possibility of confusion within the home
and on the course that may not be such a good idea. Plus,
there are a lot of "T" words on an agility course and
minimizing the confusion by using different words for each
obstacle is a good idea.)
You train for the "Box" by preparing a ready platform that
you encourage your puppy to go up onto and then pause. This
platform must be low, with only a slight incline to go up.
You can work up to different levels and different platforms
with time. It's best to start slow and be careful with your
Give your puppy a treat and praise the puppy once it reaches
the platform and encourage it to stay as long as it can
manage or until the allotted pause time is up. You can call
this platform anything you want but be sure to stay
consistent and call it by the same name every time or else
the puppy may be confused and your training may be for
During training time it is a good idea to use many different
types of sturdy and hard to tip objects that are for your
puppy to walk up onto. This will get the pup used to feeling
and walking on many different textures and surfaces.
Exposing your puppy to many different sizes and shapes of
objects is a good idea as well.
Make sure to use the word that you chose for this training,
"Box," every time you entice the puppy up onto an object and
while you are encouraging it to stay. This way "Box" or your
chosen word doesn't become associated with one object, it
becomes associated with the action.
Once your puppy associates the word with the action and is
comfortable with climbing onto many different objects you
can train the puppy to go up onto a surface that moves.
Training for this behavior is called motion training and
this is commonly trained by the use of a
Here's why my dog's
better than your dog!