Tag Archives: tugging

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

Food Toys for Agility Training

Not all dogs enjoy playing with toys. But with a bit of ingenuity, many of these dogs can learn to find the joy in playing with a toy with you. A great intermediary step is teaching your dog to retrieve a food toy – an object with food in it. When they bring the object to you, they earn a treat that comes from the toy.

Because I work with a lot of dogs who start agility training as adults and haven’t had lots of practice playing tug or other interactive games with their owners, my students and I have tested out many different food toys. Here are our favorites.

Viewtainer

ViewtainerThe Viewtainer is my personal favorite food toy. It’s inexpensive, lightweight, and very easy to throw accurately. Since it’s clear, your dog can see the food inside which helps keep their interest. It’s also very easy to clean!

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