© 2017 by Andrea Dexter @ Agilityflix

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Before you work on “real” agility behaviors and foundation skills, perfect your training approach and mechanics on things that don’t matter so much to you. Train tricks, train helpful household behaviors, train canine freestyle moves. Find out what works best and then you can apply those techniques.  

You’ll not only tend to relax more and do a better job training, but your dog will learn how to learn with you and will be that...

Here is a good training approach that shows you how to set your dog up for success. This is used all the time in training everything from contacts to weaves to jumps.

click here for a pdf version

1) Get the dog comfortable with setup and aides


            The best way to build comfort is to just play with toys such that the dog accidentally performs or engages with the setup and aides. For example, get them playing tug and then...

This article focuses on a couple of topics related to speed. I think most of this is obvious, but maybe there are some ideas that can help you analyze what might be helpful with your dog. If you are hoping to bring out more speed in your dog, here are some things to look into.

Click here for a pdf version.

Health and fitness: do your best to make sure your dog feels good, is healthy, is carrying no extra weight, gets lots of fas...

Ok, so there is nothing more joyful than helping a young team begin training agility specific behaviors - when the dog and handler have a strong foundation.  You just know that the handler is going to be able to bring out the best in their dog- and their dog is going to love the learning process, feel confident, give their all and be stress-free and reliable in their ultimate performance. The handler is going to love working w...

Here is an example of what I think a good training session looks like.

Characteristics of a typical training session

  1. Make learning fun, more like a game and less like a chore. High energy play with a high value reinforcer

  2. Set up the game (exercise), so your dog can try to earn the reinforcer. Go ahead and help them with luring or asking very simple questions, and work up to more refined rules to the game as they are suc...

Consider this before you train your dog - the better you are at training mechanics, the easier it is for your dog to learn and the quicker you get to awesome results.  

Most of your training will depend upon you marking your dog for making good choices (ones that move your dog toward the finished behavior you want to see), and reinforcing those choices with something your dog thinks is awesome (treats/toys/play). 

It is easy to...

...well it depends on what you want her to learn in that environment...  on the positive side,  its a cheap way to get 100 people and their dogs to help you with your training (energy/distraction/noise), on the negative side, if you are wondering what to enter, then you must be thinking that there is a possibility that she will actually run the course - which to me is a red flag.  

I usually recommend to people to tak...

Yep, your puppy is a genius at their foundation tricks in the living room. They are so good, they are making you nuts. Keep working on them. 

Keep revisiting these games and incorporating these foundation behaviors as much as you can in as many places as you can. The more you work your foundation, the more the things that are built on top of it stay strong.

The list of foundation behaviors is long and takes a long time to work t...

I am absolutely wild about training puppies to want to learn, try, work, focus, stay, go, turn, follow etc. etc. etc.

They are so eager to do things that it is  hard not to jump right into the things you care most about.

I want a sit on a startline so you start working sits and stays. 

I highly recommend putting your focus toward training things that enable you to train everything as a super exciting game. Don't take anything for...

Here is a somewhat organized cheat sheet of my dream list of puppy foundation behaviors, roughly in priority order.  Of course tailor your priorities to what your individual puppy needs.  A shy puppy needs opportunities to learn to be confident, a high energy puppy may need more impulse control games and a safe way to burn off some of that juice.

Foundation Behaviors Checklist

  • Reward System /Willingness to switch b...

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