In Dog Agility a Different Look is Good

Has your backyard agility course gotten a bit boring and humdrum? Want to know how you can breathe life back into your agility game without spending a fortune? We have some tips to help you keep things fresh on course.

Change it up!  It may seem elementary, but rearranging your obstacles is enough to throw your dog a little curve ball. It will also challenge you to find the best handling lines to get your dog to the obstacles correctly. There are great resources online for courses, as well as some of these books.

Add Wings.  Adding Wings to your jump standards add color, good distraction, and distance to your handling that will build confidence in your dog as well. Wings also add to our first tip of changing things up. Changing the look of your course is easy by taking them off, or switching which jump has wings.

Take it on the Road. Changing the location of your course is a super way to keep you and your dog fresh. Of course, you cannot take all your equipment, but you can take jumps, tunnels, weaves, and if you have a small dog, a travel teeter.

Try a new obstacle! You don’t have to break the bank, but adding a new obstacle to your course for your dog to learn is another great way to keep them challenged. Obstacles like the spread jump or window jump are simple yet challenging obstacles to introduce your dog to. Adding a tunnel, even if you already have one can help you create many different variations on your courses as you can change the entries and exits as your dog progresses. Added before a jump chute can allow you to build great drive into the chute.

Creativity is the spice of life in dog agility. It only takes a little amount of time and the benefits will last forever. Your courses don’t have to be complicated, just focus on one criteria you and your dog need to work on and set your course accordingly.

Posted in Dog Agility Training Tagged with:

Night Time Safety for Your Dog

For many people nighttime is the best time to do any kind of outdoor activity whether it be due to the heat of the summer or the short days of the winter. If you are just playing in the backyard there isn’t much to do, unless you have no outdoor lighting. Though your dog can see just fine, you should have lighting for your own safety.

If you are planning on doing agility with your dog, then you definitely need lighting and, if possible, light contrasting equipment. Keep in mind where you lighting is when you design your course, too. Running into a floodlight’s glare isn’t safe for you or your dog.

Now, if you are exercising your dog off your property where cars travel, you will need more protection. Lights are the best option as well as reflective vests. They make a wide range of “head” and “tail” lights for bicycles, runners, and even dogs. Take advantage of them to help ensure you are well seen by motorists. This goes double for dark/black dogs. Also, remember the rules of the road and travel in the opposite direction of the traffic. If that is not possible, make certain you are clearly illuminated from the rear. If you are heading out at sunset or dusk, keep in mind that you are harder to see by oncoming traffic when you are back lit. Your safety is your responsibility, so keep your eye on the traffic at all times.

Keep yourself between the traffic and your dog. This way your dog will be less likely to dodge into the traffic and it will be easier for you to keep him under control should he try. If you live in an area that gets over 100 degrees F, be sure to check the ground temperature before heading out. Just because the sun is down doesn’t mean the ground is cool.

If you are around traffic, don’t let your dog off leash. It just isn’t worth the risk. If you are not around traffic, but in an open area the light on your dog will make them easier to track and keep track of. Before heading out the door, be sure to check all your reflective gear including batteries. You don’t want to lose power while you are out in the dark.

Enjoy the evening and enjoy your dog, just be smart and safe.

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Big Dogs Can Learn Dog Agility Dexterity

We often talk about all the benefits of using the ladder in both foundation work as well as conditioning work. However, if you have a really large dog, the spacing of the rungs may to a bit tight for their natural stride. We don’t want you to lose out on the benefits of ladder work so here are some tips to get your big dog stepping high.

Due to the length of stride on a larger dog you will want to adjust the distance of your “ladder rugs” to fit their natural walk and jog stride. You can use jump bars or weave poles on the ground to start then raise them with slightly crushed soda cans laid on their side. You can adjust the height with jump standards or other objects, just remember you don’t want them higher than the hock and most times knee height is fine.

You can also use cavalettis if you want a system that stays in place and can be used for other purposes and dogs. Just because you have a larger dog doesn’t mean you cannot capitolize on all the benefits ladder work brings to the dog agility training table.

 

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