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Dog Agility Training – Problem solving

Dog Agility Training – Problem solving

You will undoubtedly encounter a few problems throughout the course of your involvement in agility. The most important thing to do is to first recognize there is a problem, and then begin at once to implement proper training to correct it. Some of the most common problems seen in agility are:

  • Late commands come when your dog has passed you up on the course and you end up giving him a command after he has already performed the skill. Of course, this is a prescription for frustration and failure. If this is becoming a problem for you, ask someone to videotape you and then study the performance to see where the problem is. It can often be corrected by switching to hand signals, as they are faster.

  • Corrections do sometimes need to be made, despite the frequent advice to never use “No” in agility training situations. However, do save it for really bad situations, where you absolutely never want the dog to do whatever he did again. But don’t ever correct your dog for getting messed up in training, or doing the wrong obstacle. And don’t break off the run if he messes up. That’s as bad as shouting, “No,” and will give him the impression that he’s a bad dog. Always keep it fun and positive.

  • Barking and/or jumping at handler is a frustrating behavior, and not well understood. Some dogs just will bark because it’s their nature, or they’re excited, and some just because. It’s probably not worth worrying about unless it’s causing your dog to lose focus. If you feel that’s the case, a few things you can try to reduce barking are to stop talking so much yourself, and limit your speech to necessary commands. Using hand signals, again, is a good way to help your dog focus. If the dog jumps up, and especially if he nips, the best approach is to grab him by the scruff, stop the action, and ignore him completely until he calms down. If he nips your hands, you can also try spraying them with bitter apple.

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