Dog Agility Pause Table Dilemma

dog agility pause table

The Pause Table can be a tough obstacle to teach, especially when you start adding height and speed. The purpose of the obstacle is to show control of the dog in that they will listen to the handler’s request to go from full speed fun to stop. The other aspect that can cause trouble is the position the dog is to take once on the table. Depending on the venue it can be a sit, down, or stand.

When starting your training on the table it is a huge benefit to know which venue you will start in and what they will ask for. Then you can start your training with that position as the automatic position your dog takes when they jump onto the table. Shape the table obstacle with the desired position until your dog considers it all one movement.

At some point you may want to try other venues or be in a venue that doesn’t stick to one position. It can also happen that rule changes in a venue and you find you need to reteach the table position to your dog. It may be challenging to start, but try using a different command for the different positions your dog will be expected to take.

Regardless of these details, you should make the table a fun place to be from the start. It will easily become a bad place for the dog in competition if you fail to make it fun at home. Most dogs do not like the interruption in their game as it is.

You can do this a number of ways, such as keeping it happy, upbeat, and short stays where you reward the table performance as well as the table exit. If your dog has surface sensitivity, make the surface different while keeping sessions short and upbeat. You can put a towel on the table and different door mats, anything that will change the feel of the table. Practice with the table lowered and use lots of praise and treats for any interactions with the new surface.

If the surface of your table needs to be redone or you want to change from sand to a gentler surface, try our Pampered Paws resurfacing kits. Your dog will be loving the table once the surface is kind to their feet!

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Dog Agility Contact Zoners

dog agility contact zonerWhether you are using running contacts, 2on 20ff, or a combination of both, a contact zoner can help solidify a solid contact. Some research has shown that using the 2on 2off contact can put too much stress on the hindquarters of the dog. For those running fast or big dogs, this is especially true on the a-frame.

The zoner works as a form of conditioning that teaches a dog to touch the contact by limiting their choice with no interference by the handler. When the dog sees the zoner as they approach the down contact they will see that they cannot jump over leaving the option of running through. They are a great asset to have in the event your dog should start missing their once solid contacts as well.

You can introduce your dog to the zoner the same way you would a hoop. When your dog learns to run through the hoop you can then place it at the downside of the a-frame, dogwalk, or teeter. Like wire-weaves, if you introduce it from day one you are working muscle memory for the correct down contact performance. You will wean your dog off the zoner gradually and then only use it if you see your dog thinking about early exits.

The zoner is also great for using on the upside of the dogwalk or teeter if you have a dog that tries to enter these obstacles from the side. Though judges should design courses for a clean, straight entry, practicing different angled approaches helps ensure your dog will not make that mistake should something happen at competition to lead to an angled approach.

Please Note: Do not use these for the upside of an A-frame. Some dogs need to leap up the A-frame to get enough running power. Besides, it is not necessary they touch the upside contact zone.  But you can use them for Teeters & Dogwalks, as it can help with dogs that approach from the side.

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Can an Agility Dog be Overweight

over weight dogWe had a reader ask us about their agility dog in regards to weight. They had been competing in dog agility with their dog from an early age and just found out the dog was nine pounds overweight. They thought that being in dog agility would keep their dog at a healthy weight and because in this case it didn’t so was agility a waste of time.

To be honest you need more information to give a somewhat educated answer to this question, but it does raise some very good points as to a dog’s weight and their involvement in dog agility. The first question is how big is the dog. Nine pounds isn’t that much for a optimal weight of 1oo pounds, whereas, nine pounds could be a death sentence to an optimal weight of 15 pounds. Second question is how much of that weight is fat. An active, athletic dog will have more muscle which weighs more than fat so those nine pounds may not be as big an issue if the dog is fit.

The reader also pointed out that the dog was older, it is possible that the dog has an underlying condition that has contributed to weight gain such as thyroid or kidney problems. It is possible that the agility has actually been helping the dog not to gain more weight. Be sure to bring your concerns up to your vet so they can do tests on your older dogs and rule out any health conditions.

Dog agility itself will not keep a dog from gaining weight, especially if you are the weekend warrior type. A dog needs consistent, daily exercise to keep their weight in check and keep them fit for doing dog agility. Walking, jogging, bike riding, flirt poles, and games like fetch are great ways to keep their muscle tone up and weight down.

Also, depending on the amount of time spent training, some dogs will put on the pounds from the caloric intake of the treats. Be sure you are using non-grain, low-fat treats. Some dogs will go nuts over carrots, lettuce, apples, raw potatoes, and even their own kibble. If you buy or make treats, break them down into pea sized bites so you are using less quantity. You can always give jackpot rewards when the dog gives a great try. Just be careful when using hard treats during training that you give your dog time to chew and swallow so they don’t choke.

Dog agility is one of the best ways to keep you and your dog fit when you incorporate it into your daily routine. If you and your dog need more help, consider diet changes and increase level of activity as mentioned. And do keep in mind to always check with your vet to ensure your dog’s weight, age, and health are a green light for starting dog agility. Too much extra weight can cause your dog problems with jumping and climbing.

 

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