I love teaching my dogs tricks. Pierson is especially fun to teach because he is so eager and so smart. Don’t get me wrong, Maya is eager and smart too. But Pierson has much better focus. He also has a lot more energy and needs regular physical and mental stimulation. So what better way to give him both than to give him ‘work’ to do.
I’ve thought about disc dog, but he is reluctant to catch the frisbee in his mouth. He is also not very good at bringing the frisbee back after I throw it. He wants to run away with it and chew on it. So I considered agility instead. Last year, I taught him how to jump through a hula hoop. It was a bit difficult at first because he was scared to jump through. But once he learned the hoop was nothing to be frightened of, his jumping skills took off.
Then over the winter I taught him how to weave through poles. I only had three poles so there were only two weaves, but he caught on to the concept rather quickly.
Then I saw the Kyjen dog agility starter kit online at a reasonable price and just had to get it. It came with one high jump, six weave poles, and a tunnel. Pierson took to the high jump right away. It was just like jumping through a hoop. He did well on the weave poles too, but he tends to miss some of the weaves.
Because it took so long for him not to be scared of the hula hoop, I thought the tunnel would take a long time. But he learned the command ‘tunnel’ after just two days. The following video was made after just under two weeks of playing with our new dog agility starter kit.
Although Pierson really seems to love this sport, I don’t think we will be doing any competitions. For one thing, I am not big on competitions. I’d rather keep the exercise fun rather than make it a chore. For another, Pierson does not like other dogs. I can imagine that trying to get him to do agility when there are other dogs around to distract him would be quite difficult.
No, we will stick to the starter kit in the back yard. Perhaps I will add some other agility stuff later. But overall, we will just keep dog agility fun.
Have you done agility with your dog? Any training tips?