19 OctNovice Course Walkthrough

I created a 6-minute video showing one way to run a novice level course:

Dog Agility Novice Course Walkthrough #1

If you’re new to agility or just want to see alternate ways of looking at a course,
check it out!



PS – Yes, I do have other video walkthroughs in the bag — I hope to get them
out sooner rather than later!

05 MarBuying Or Building Dog Agility Equipment, Which Is Right?

The sport of dog agility has so much going for it that it’s a shame our equipment needs aren’t as simple as those who crochet or collect stamps. Instead, we need jumps, teeters, tunnels, more jumps, weave poles, etc. And a storage area for all those pieces.

Oh, and a big yard where we can set it all up. Well, even a small yard can work in a pinch, but we have to have some space.

We can’t get around the need for equipment, but there are some options we can look at to make dog agility less costly — one of those options is to build at least some of the equipment ourselves.

Sidebar: If you’re fortunate enough to be able to afford all the dog agility equipment you need, go for it. While there are some advantages to building your own, such as decorating it the way you like, that doesn’t really make it worth building the equipment if you don’t have to.

Some dog agility equipment is easy to make, some isn’t. Let’s take a look at the most common pieces and I’ll give you my opinion on whether building or buying is the best option.

Jumps: These are so easy to make you can knock out several in a morning — and that includes the trip to the hardware store to get the supplies. Simple PVC pipe jumps are all you really need to get started — and you can easily add wings to the side if you need to.

Even though these are simple to make, they’re also pretty cheap if you do want to buy a few. And most come “bare” so you can decorate them the way you want with colored plastic tape or paint.

Weave Poles: Another piece of equipment that’s easy to make — depending on what style you want. You can create a complete set of weaves from PVC pipe or you can use a metal base and PVC pipes for the poles. There are some “special” sets of weaves available that are supposed to make your dog learn faster — if you want something like that you may have to buy them.

Long Tunnel: Here’s something that’s almost impossible to make, so just close your eyes and write the check. While there are some “kiddie play tunnels” that owners of small dogs can use, they’re not as sturdy as a real tunnel and just won’t work for medium to large dogs.

Chute Tunnel: This can be made fairly easily — as long as you can sew a long tube of cloth (or know someone who can do it for you). That and an empty plastic barrel with the ends cut off will get you where you need to go.

Contact Equipment – Teeter, A-Frame, Dog-Walk, etc.: Here’s where it gets tricky… these aren’t very easy to make, but if you buy them you’ll spend a fortune in shipping costs. A good compromise is to buy the hardware (or even the base, in the case of the teeter) and then head for the lumberyard for the wood needed to finish the equipment.

One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to have every piece of equipment all at once. Get started with a jump or two and some weave poles and add the rest of the equipment as you can.

25 FebRunning A Dog Agility Course Without Passing Out

You envision the upcoming dog agility run in your mind — leading out while your dog waits at the line and then you start! Running from one obstacle to the next, back-crosses, front-crosses, going from one piece of agility equipment to the next until you and your dog leap across the finish line together!

Then you open your eyes and real life comes back — you remind yourself you just want to have fun, that’s the most important thing. And if you can keep from collapsing in a gasping heap in the middle of the course, that’s just icing on the cake.

Okay, not everybody is out of shape — but the “fattening of America” didn’t skip over people who love dog agility (that would have been nice, wouldn’t it?). If you want to run agility without fear of passing out, the obvious answer is to lose weight.

Simple to say, but anyone who’s tried it (over and over and over again) knows it’s not a piece of cake (pun intended).

If you’re just too overweight to keep up with your dog you have a couple options (other than the lose weight one):

1. Train your dog to stay with you on the course. If you can slow down your dog then you can walk, saunter, do a little jog, etc., and get through the course that way.

Two big problems with that is first, it’s not really fair to the dog (they want to FLY and have fun) and second, you’ll have a hard time getting a qualified run if you don’t get a move on.

2. Train your dog to work away from you. With this option your dog can go ahead of you on the course and do the obstacles as you direct them from behind. Of course, for this to work you’re going to need your dog SOLID on going away from you, turning left, and turning right. If you have a “velcro dog” this might not be an option, but a lot of dogs can learn to work away from their handler.

While option 2 is something that will help whether you’re overweight or not, there’s also something else you can do, and that’s to get in “better” shape without actually worrying about losing weight.

Note! As always, check with your doctor before doing any kind of new physical activity.

By better shape, I mean to start working on being able to jog short distances, just 20 feet or so. Even someone who’s very overweight can build up their stamina to handle short bursts. You may not win any world records in speed, but being able to run 20 feet, slowing down for a couple seconds while your dog handles an obstacle, then going another short burst, etc., can give you a much better chance at having fun and finishing the course without passing out.

27 DecWho Says You Cant Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

Who Says You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks?

To quote the rock band Chicago, they say it’s a hard habit to break. Perpetually stereotyping employment, marriage, and singularity: Age is but a hindrance but not for long. With approximately 15 minutes of training daily for 2 weeks straight, according to The Animal Planet, even the most stubborn dogs will give in. These enduring canines will sit, roll over, and do whatever your heart desires. All you need is a strong sense of consistency, and a mouthful of patience under your sleeve.

In order to make this a quick fix, the trainers (or owners) should develop a positive attitude. To feel frustrated and angry will not help at all. As a matter of fact, pets somehow feel how their owners experience; and that would not speed up the progress for even a bit. As for the owner’s side, unreasonable expectations should not be made for their pets. Unlike children sent to school for a 12-year formal education to get the basics, it is quite irrational to invest an uptight 12-week course for your dog to acquire the desired behavior, and earn the respect and discipline needed. Remember: all relationships require a bit of work.

It also involves recognizing the dog’s previous training, then deciding on what certain applicable and viable changes are needed for a greater effect. You highlight the dog after a day’s work with plenty of rewards such as treats, and verbal praises such as patting him on the head for doing a good job. Take it nice and easy, as not to shock and confuse the pet. It is necessary to change the behavior in small steps rather than a complete change all at one time.

However, there is a difference. One has to put in mind that training an older dog is remembering that this dog has, most expected, to having been trained once. This means that it has an established thinking as to what acceptable behaviors are, and what behaviors are most not welcomed. It takes a great deal of endurance to train an older dog, and should be at the very least regular to receive the best outcome.

But do keep in mind that although the owner is the master, the dog still is an individual, as in it has its own personality; so a little give-and-take affiliation will not hurt. The key is to enjoy the whole teaching-an-old-dog-new-tricks activity, as you build a better relationship with him. That is the sole purpose of dog obedience training.

What you give is what you get; therefore being the educator, you are responsible for the way your pet responds. Dogs are social creatures, and are among of the most loyal. If you have a senior dog around who needs a bit of a push, do not fret; all you need is give your little furry friend some feisty motivation. Who ever said you can’t teach old dogs new tricks?

That saying is meant to be taken more literally to humans, for we’ve got a lot of habits that are harder to break.

25 DecUseful Dog Obedience Training Tips

Useful Dog Obedience Training Tips

Okay, so you just bought that cute female puppy that you’ve been eyeing on for months. Now, what are you planning to do with her? Are you thinking about teaching her new tricks? If you are, then as early as now, you must accustom her to being handled for grooming and veterinary care so she’ll respond nicely. Whenever you have free time, take her in your lap and gently brush her.

Speak to her softly and say words like, “That feels good, doggie, right?” Then, stroke her paws and simply run your fingers through her. That way she will learn that touch is pleasant and not something that is frightening. Once you are able to handle her well, it will not be that difficult to start teaching her new tricks like making her obey your “sit”, “wait or stay”, and “do not jump” commands. Anyway, here are some useful dog obedience training tips for you.

For the “Sit” Command

This is actually one of the easiest tricks to teach and often the most useful. Since your pet is still a puppy, as early as now, you must teach her how to obey the sit command because it is a great way to reinforce your status as her leader. How to do it? First, you have to get her attention. Start by showing her a treat and then slowly move it upward in a way that she has to raise her head for her to see it further. You’ll notice that in order to do this, she will move into a sitting position, just like most dogs do. If she doesn’t do this, slowly push down on her rump while you move your hand back over the head to give her the idea. And once she’s on that sitting position, give her the treat.

For the “Stay or Wait” Command

This one can be more difficult than the sit command as dogs tend to move a lot. To teach your dog to wait or stay, simply place her in a sitting position. Then, hold up your hand, on which the flat of your palm is towards her face, and tell her to wait or stay. Now, move a few steps backward. If she stays where she is, give her words of praise, like “Good girl or good doggie!” But if she moves towards you or away, do not shout at her or punish her. Just put her back in position and start all over again.

For the “Do not jump” Command

A jumping puppy is very cute to look at, but when her size has doubled and she still does a lot of jumping, it will not be too fun at all. So, you must replace that jumping behavior with the sit command. Instead of pushing her away, simply pivot so that she misses you and then tell her to sit. When she obeys, give her praise or a simple treat.

These are just some useful dog obedience training tips that you can keep in mind. Take note, your puppy will be more lovable if she learns how to obey your simple commands.

23 DecTraining Sniffing Dogs

Training Sniffing Dogs

Do you ever wonder how dogs find criminals in a passenger ship? It’s simple: by sniffing. They are called detection or sniffer dogs. Trained to detect people and substances, through their senses, such as explosives, illegal drugs and blood; almost always the sense of smell, which is two thousand times much stronger, and fifty times more sensitive than that of a human’s. In addition to sensitivity, a dog’s sense of smell is pricky.

It can discern a specific scent; meaning it can recognize cheese in a fish and vegetable market thousand miles away from where it is standing. Hunting dogs that search for game and search dog that search for missing humans are generally not considered dogs. However, there is some confusion with cadaver dogs, only trained to detect human remains.

As to not make a fuss, they are taught to learn two kinds of alerting: the passive and the aggressive. Drug dogs use an aggressive alert, where they dig and paw at the spot where the smell the dugs. On the other hand, there are some cases where this kind of alert would be bad news. Placed in a situation where bombs are included, scratching can be very disastrous. In these cases, a passive alert is used.

A good example for this type are the beagles used by the Department of Agriculture where the dogs are trained to sniff out produces that are not allowed to enter the country. The Beagle Brigade, as how they are called, sniffs people’s luggage while they wait in lines at airports and border crossings. In other countries, some also are used in emergency search actions. Because no one wants a dog digging in their belongings, the USDA beagles have been trained to simply sit down when they are able to smell it.

Trainers have come up with a strategy for dogs employed to sniff out drugs. On odd cases, they seem to eat them when they have found the illegal substance. Is it because they are addicted to those drugs themselves? In fact, the dogs have absolutely no interest in drugs. What they are actually looking for is their favorite toy. In an article found in discovery.com, the “toys” that are mostly often used are white towels. Since dogs love to play this vigorous game of tug-of-war, they have generated the “White Towel Game” idea.

To begin the training, the handler simply plays with the dog using a towel, which has been washed carefully to appear null and without scent for the trainee. Later, a bag of marijuana, for instance, is rolled up inside the towel.

After playing for a while, the dogs starts to recognize the smell of the drug as the smell of his favorite toy. The handler then hides the towel, with the drug, in various places. Whenever the dog sniffs out the drugs, he digs and scratches, trying to get his toy. He soon comes to learn that if he sniffs out the smell of drugs, as soon as he finds them, he’ll be rewarded with a game of tug-of-war.

As training progresses, different drugs are placed in the towel, until the dog is able to sniff out a host of illegal substances. The same method is used for bomb-detection dogs, except various chemicals used to manufacture explosives are placed in the towel instead of drugs.

21 DecTraining Dog Obedience Using Hand Signals

Training Dog Obedience Using Hand Signals

Are you doing some dog obedience training to fix your dog’s behavior problems? If you are, then you must use hand signals in addition to verbal commands that you want your pet to follow. The hand signals work most of the time, especially when your pet cannot hear you. Actually, these are more effective ways to ensure your dog pays close attention to you even from a couple of meters away, as long as it can see you.

And these are what trainers of agility dogs and hunting dogs use to control the actions of these dogs while in the field. By using the right hand signals during dog training, they can make the dogs turn left or right, go fast, stop, or stay put. Now, you can also do these to your pet without using verbal commands. Learn these first three hand signals and teach them to your dog while doing dog obedience training.

1. For the “sit” command, here’s the hand signal: bend your arm upwards at the elbow and then raise your hand with fist closed up to your head’s side while you command your dog to sit simultaneously. Keep on doing these hand movements while commanding your dog to sit. Later on, your pet will soon learn how to associate the hand signal with your vocal command. Now, if you are not able to get your dog’s attention the first time you try the hand signal, don’t punish it. Instead, keep trying or better yet, make sure you have a leash in your left hand.

2. For the “down” command, the hand signal is just like when you are asking someone to sit down at the same time saying, “Have a seat.” To teach your dog the hand signal for down, you need to hold your arm out towards your pet and then lower your hand, on which your palm faces down towards the floor. While doing this, give the “down” command, and your dog will follow your hand signal into the down position. Just like in the sit hand signal, keep repeating this until your dog learns to associate the lowering of your hand towards the floor as part of the “down” command.

3. For the “stay” command, first, put your dog into the sit or down position. Afterwards, hold out your arm towards your pet, with your palm’s position similar to that of a policeman who’s using hand signal to stop traffic. And just like in the previous two commands, do this at the same time command your dog to “stay”, with your firm tone of voice. If at first, your dog does not follow, try it again until he recognizes that hand signal means “down”.

Using hand signals can really do a lot when training your dog. Although you may find it difficult to make your dog obey at first, don’t give up, but instead keep repeating the signals until it understands what you are trying to communicate. Take note that if you are consistent and thorough in showing your pet those hand signals, the faster it will respond.

19 DecTips On How To Select A Dog Obedience Trainer

Tips On How To Select A Dog Obedience Trainer

You should know how integral the steps are in choosing a dog obedience trainer. Your dog is like a child who will be going to school and spend the day with his teacher. Thus, you must ensure that the institution will be convenient for your pet and that he will be comfortable with the trainer.

You see, obedience training classes must not be educational alone but also fun for most of the part. If your pet enjoys the classes, then, he is more likely to learn the commands easily. When looking around for a trainer, it matters that you know who to trust and what to look for. After all, anybody can call themselves dog trainers and present their business cards to you.

Know what You are Looking for

To ensure that your dog is going to get the best training that will correct his unpleasant behavior, the dog obedience trainer must have the necessary knowledge on how to do things. First, look into his certification and how he was able to get it. He has to be certified through some specialized organizations which actually train dogs in line with services work.

Beware though because there are too many online courses these days which promote a short-term course for a certain fee and then provides the certification to individuals. Always ask the dog obedience trainer himself about the certifications that he has and how he obtained him.

Verify the number of years that the trainer has been doing it professionally. There is a difference between trainers that train dogs as a matter of a hobby and those that do it as a profession. Although the years will not actually determine the capacity of a trainer to educate a dog, it will still reflect something about his passion in his chosen profession.

Check out the license of the trainer. Is he a licensed individual? Does his business meet all of the requirements of the city, the country, and the state? Does he adhere to the federal regulations? All of these should be met before you can completely put your trust on him.

Determining the Dog Trainer’s Teaching Methods

For you to be able to be familiar with the teaching methods, it is important that you attend the trainer’s class. Observe how the clients and their dogs react to the methods used. The trainer should not only be accommodating, kind, and polite to the human students but to the dogs as well. Learning must be fun for all human and animal clients. The trainer should also give out clear instructions and provide assistance whenever necessary.

An honest trainer will tell you the advantages and disadvantages of the methods used. Check out the facilities and equipment used. Bullying the dogs is a big NO and the training methods should not cause the dogs to get stressed and become agitated.

The dog obedience trainer should make sure that the environment where the sessions are to be held is safe for the dog’s health. Some vaccines may also be required so the dog will be in the best physical condition.

These are just some of the essential guidelines that you must apply when choosing the dog obedience trainer. Keep them in mind and have the best behavioral training for your pet.

17 DecTips For Dog Obedience Training

Tips For Dog Obedience Training

If you keep a dog either for sporting, competing, or simply for leisure, you probably know how significant it is to have him go through dog obedience training. A pet dog that is well behaved is always pleasurable to take along because he is less likely to go wild and cause troubles to other people. You surely don’t want to tag along a dog that barks at everyone and run around therefore scaring away the crowd. If good manners are very important in your home, the same things should also be taught to your pet.

Sure enough, keeping dogs at home should provide your loved ones with enough security and not that they will cause harm on anyone. You will not also like it when your neighbors complain that your pet has ransacked their properties or worse, have bitten someone in the area. Therefore, the more that you should pay attention to having your dog trained properly.

Are you planning to train your dog by yourself? Here are the steps that you need to take note of in dog obedience training. But remember; don’t ever move to the next step when your pet has not yet mastered the previous one!

The difficulty of the commands start from the basics to the most advanced. For starters, teach your pet the easiest instructions first. These are “sit”, “stand”, “stop”, “come”, and the likes. Be sure that he is able to learn all of these before starting with a new set. Always use these commands so he will be able to remember them.

Keep in mind your dog’s genetic makeup. Some breeds have their specializations so you must concentrate on harnessing their skills and capabilities.

Take note of the duration of time when teaching a new command. Don’t bombard your dog with several commands all at the same time. Also make sure that you use the praise or reward and punishment method. Your voice should likewise sound positive when giving praises and be unyielding when there is a need to reprimand him.

Ensure that your dog is physically comfortable as the training exercises are performed. Dogs get tired easily so don’t strain him that much.

Execute the dog obedience training sessions in a distraction-free area. As the response turns positive, gradually add more distractions like bouncing balls, doing the jumping jack, running around, throwing treats to him, and many others. But don’t overdo the use of distractions as it may frighten your pet.

Practice giving commands in a variety of surfaces. Some of these include the cement sidewalks, on sand, on dirt, on the grass-covered lawns, on a chair or table, low wall, logs, and many others.

Give commands while you are walking down the street, while you are in the pet supply outlet, or wherever you may be with your dog.

There is actually no best time of the day to administer the dog obedience training sessions. What matters is that both you and your dog should be up to it, in the mood, and in good physical condition.

15 DecThings You Should Learn About Dog Obedience Training

Things You Should Learn About Dog Obedience Training

As pets, dogs are not only meant to be confined at home. There are chances when you have to take them out for a walk or bring them to any destination. Even more, the dog needs to learn the proper behavior despite being kept at home. Socializing is one skill that he has to be trained with. Thus, let him undergo dog obedience training.

You see, all of your family members should feel safe and at ease with your pet. There are dogs that seem to be agitated and such behavior can definitely threaten your family’s safety. While training him may be quite a daunting task, you will realize that it will be all worth it. Sooner or later, you will appreciate your efforts.

The Real Scope of Dog Training

Obedience training is composed of several areas. It ranges from the simplest one up to the most advance instructions for your dog. The basics often include the simple commands that should make your dog respond. Included are come, sit, stand, roll over, stay, down, and the likes. The advance training includes giving directions for fetching something and many others. There are techniques used as well like positive reinforcement, clicker training, collar and leash, and the rewards given for any positive and likeable behavior.

Dog obedience is a training that is often recommended for the wild and unruly animals. But in your case, a new pet will be more in his best foot if given the proper training.

The Importance of Obedience Training

As a dog owner, you should understand the significance of training your pet to obey. A trained dog is very suitable to bring around friends and other people without fear of attacking anyone. It is then like tagging along a well-behaved human being. You don’t like your dog to be misbehaving and causing nuisance, right? Therefore, allow him to absorb a kind of mentality that emphasizes the need to act accordingly in different situations.

Dog Obedience Training by Yourself

Although professionals are more into this thing, it will be a rewarding experience for you and your dog if the training is conducted personally. The training sessions will not only serve as educational but also suffice for your bonding moments. Doing so will establish a closer bond between the two of you.

Training your dog calls for more patience on your part. It will be hard on your dog’s part to process your commands and will take time to execute them. There will be moments when you feel like giving up and snapping but don’t punish your dog without any reason. This may agitate him. Keep in mind that your dog needs to adjust and learning doesn’t happen overnight.

Positive reinforcements are likewise very essential. They will boost your dog to do better. It will speed up his learning process too.

Dog obedience training is therefore a very important thing to attend to. So, enjoy the moments with your pet the way he will enjoy his time with you.