Tag Archives: puppy

Puppies in Dog Agility Classes

I am often asked if I offer a puppy agility class. Potential students want to know how young is too young. The myth of “puppies need to be six months old to begin training” persists. It’s not true for basic training, and it’s definitely not true for puppy agility.

Puppy Agility: Safety First!

Sheltie Puppies Playing Tug
How young is too young to start agility training? Well, it’s never too young to start playing!

Well-meaning veterinarians often advise their clients to wait until their dogs are “done growing” before starting agility classes. The thought is they might damage their growth plates due to excessive trauma or impact. It’s absolutely true that puppies should wait until their growth plates are closed before learning to jump, weave, or perform the teeter. But what these veterinarians are missing is that a good foundation agility class doesn’t focus on jumping, weaving, or contacts.

Bear in mind that I’m talking about foundation agility classes. I define that as a class which builds a “foundation” with the goal of enjoying the sport for years to come, and possibly even competing. My Pre-Agility class falls into this category.

I am not talking about “pet agility” classes designed to be a one-time, four- to six-week exposure to the sport. In many cases, these classes are taught by instructors unfamiliar with the sport of agility who may unknowingly push youngsters too soon. Continue reading

Puppy Agility Training: Just Do It!

Today is a Dog Agility Blogger event, and the topic is “Starting Your Puppy.” My advice for puppy agility training? Just do it.

Let Go of Expectations

Shetland Sheepdog Agility Puppy Training
Because I brought Spark home when he was four months old (long after this picture was taken), I could resist the urge to compare his training progress to his siblings and my friends’ puppies.

It has been my experience that, in our zeal to make sure our new puppy does not have the same “issues” that our last dog had, we freeze up. We fear that we will make a mistake. We know it won’t be the same mistake we made last time – but we’re afraid of making different mistakes.

Train something. Train anything. Train a trick, just for the joy of it! Don’t get caught up in, “he must know this!” or, even worse, “so-and-so’s puppy already knew this by his age!”

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