You're guiding your dog around an agility course.
Your dog is having great fun jumping over the fences, and weaving down the exciting obstacles.
The seesaw slams and as your dog jumps off it at an awkward angle, it bounces up and catches their leg.
You carry on, but the next time you cue them to go on the seesaw your dog slows right down.
Then they refuse to get back on.
The more you ask, the more your dog backs away until they don't even want to come to class any more.
Accidents do happen, but...
Accidents happen in agility, dogs are moving quickly through a course and they can fall, slip or knock into things.
Agility can all look very impressive, but look more closely.
- Is the dog being bribed by food or pulled over the equipment by the lead?
- Are they gaining confidence?
- Are they actually learning what to do?
· These techniques might mean that the dog gets to play on the agility equipment sooner, but is it worth it?
In my opinion no!
Luring a dog over equipment can often be unsafe, the dog follows the food and then suddenly realises they are too high and panics
Rushing to get your dog over jumps and weaving as soon as you can may not be good for them physically.
The dog hasn’t had time to build up their confidence through choice and a clear understanding of what they are doing.
So what can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen to you and your dog?
Build Strong Foundations!
Foundations help to build confidence and resilience.
They provide you and your dog with a clear understanding of what is expected
And they give the dog a strong history of safety and fun (making the seesaw bang = lots of good stuff happens)
When you and your dog are more physically prepared, it can reduce the risk of injury
Find a great trainer
If you think you’d like to try agility with your dog find a trainer who offers a foundation class.
You may be disappointed you can’t go on the exciting equipment straight away but we promise your dog will thank you for it in the long run!
This week’s blog was written by Clare, our qualified agility coach. You can find out more about her agility classes here:
Want to sign up for Agility Foundations with us? This is the last time this class will run in 2018 and we start on Monday 16th July at Yorkshire Museum of Farming.
Open to WCC clients and anyone who has successfully completed a pre-class assessment
And coming 4th out of a huge 50 dogs at one of their first competitions (Rachael and Skye)