Agility training can provide the environment and structure to build confidence in your dog. This is especially true if your dog timid around people or other dogs or sensitive to sounds. Agility classes are a great place learn how to train your dog and get information on the sport. Let’s find out what it takes to get a timid dog ready to venture from off your lap or from under your chair.
So, how do you do agility training at home?
A timid or shy dog can only learn inside their comfort zone; so training begins where they feel safe. Also, behaviors must be taught in very small increments. Your home (backyard) is one of the best places to train your dog.
When it comes to agility training for your dog, there is a variety of equipment that is useful and helpful to have at home. Some of these you may already have readily available. Equipment recommendations are primarily based on available space and the location of training. Do you have a large yard that will hold at least 4 obstacles? Will you be training in your garage, basement or living room? No matter where you’ll do dog agility training
Agility Training 101: You’ll Need a Table or Bench
For the timid dogs make sure your equipment is safe and sturdy. One of the very first obstacles is something for them to leap or jump over. A picnic table bench is a good way to start on the cheap. A table that your dog jumps over is caused a pause table. The pause table is a good place to begin your dog agility training exercises. A 12″ high table, with adjustable legs for later use, is a good starting place for all size dogs. Setup your table in an area that is very familiar to your dog. If your dog barks at anything new, just leave your pause table in your house or yard for several days, let your dog inspect and smell it on his own or with a little coaxing, but don’t push to fast, remember baby steps with the insecure dog.
With treats in a dish or his favorite toy placed on the table encourage your dog to get up on the table. This may take more than one lesson, be patient. If your timid dog looses interest in food or toys when you attempt something new, trying holding him and you sit on the table. If your dog is too big to hold, have him on leash and you sit on the table. If he backs away coax him, only treat or reward him when he comes to you, never when he’s pulling back away from you or the table.
Eventually, you want your dog to be able to jump on the table with your cue word, “jump”, “table”, “over”, whatever word you use, Stay on the table as you back away and then Come when you call. Build your distance slowly so that your dog is not pushed to soon.
Just remember with the shy dog, training is done in increments, slowly and comfortably, with a little push to stretch him, but not enough to overwhelm him to cause a shutdown.
You can follow the above techniques introducing new obstacles as your dog is able to succeed and get over their shyness with agility training. As your dog progressess on each new piece of equipment you will see his confidence grow. When you take your dog to the dog park you’ll have a great time.