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How to Train your Dog Using Dog Park Agility Equipment

How to Train your Dog Using Dog Park Agility Equipment

Agility training is a great way for dog owners to bond with their faithful companions. Not only does it strengthen their relationship, but it's an excellent source of much-needed exercise, both physically and mentally! However, agility is challenging, requiring focus, patience, and consistency to become proficient. If you and your dog are up for this task then using the agility equipment at your local dog park is a fantastic place to start! So put on the leash and get out your dog’s favorite toy and treats! Below are some tips and tricks on how to master obstacles in preparation for completing an agility course. Dog Agility at the Dog Park

Starting with the Basics

Before heading to the dog park, you and your canine must first master some basic commands. Commands such as name recognition, “come”, “heel”, “sit”, “stay”, and “down” are essential before starting. Not only does this get your dog into a learning mindset, but it also strengthens your trust. Once you have honed in on these skills, be sure to practice them in multiple environments for them to really sink in. Basic commands act as a warm-up to prepare you and your dog for the intense agility training ahead!Dog Basic Training Before Dog Agility

 

Dog Table

Agility training starts with a dog table platform. Dogs will jump up and either sit, lie, or stand in preparation for their owners to give the signal and start the dog park’s agility course. This is a great place to test those basic skills you taught earlier. Practice the “sit”, “stay”, and “come” commands until your dog is comfortable leaving the launch. Once he has the procedure down, combine all these steps with a hand signal, such as a point. This will help later as you guide your dog to the next obstacle. Dog Table for Dog Parks

Run Through Loops

Run-through loops are probably one of the easiest agility equipment to master. Start from the first loop and hold a treat on the other side to encourage your dog to pass through. Once on the other side, continue the process with the remaining loops. Repeat until your dog understands the actions you are expecting of him, reducing the treats as you progress and praising all the way! Treats are great rewards for a dog to focus on the owner and task at hand while being less distracted by surrounding disturbances. Once he has the concept of the action you expect, phase out the treat into a command or gesture. Dogs love food, but they also enjoy praise and understanding from their person. Dog Run Through Loop for Dog Parks

Dog Tunnels

Dog tunnels are similar to run-through loops, however, they may be discouraging for some dogs. Run-through loops are open, so dogs are more comfortable passing through. However, dog tunnels include enclosed surroundings and a different terrain from the park’s floor, being cylindrical and made from plastic. Your dog may feel nervous to pass through these uneasy differences, even though the opening is just several feet away. If you are able, the best tactic is to show him how it's done! Crawl into the tunnel and sit halfway and encourage him to follow. This will demonstrate to your dog that there is nothing alarming about this obstacle. Once they are comfortable with the tunnel, persuade them by going through the tunnel with treats or their favorite toy. Dog Tunnel for Dog Parks

Climbing Ramp

Dog park climbing ramps can be intimidating at first, so it's important to start slow. Keep your dog on a short leash for support and put their front paws on the ramp. Add treats up the ramp about half the distance of the dog's length to guide him up. If your dog is nervous, be sure to give praise as every new slat is crossed to build confidence. Once he makes it to the top, repeat the procedure on the downslope. This may take some time and even repeat visits to get used to, so be patient. With a few successful navigations on the ramp, gradually increase the length between treats until they can walk up and down the ramp without fear. Once your dog is at ease, only give them a treat at the top and bottom of the ramp by hand with a pointing gesture until they can run up and over by themselves with just the gesture.Dog Ramp for Dog Parks

Hurdle

The easiest way to train your dog to jump over a hurdle is literally to start at the bottom and work your way up! First, lower the bar all the way to the ground. With your dog on a leash, walk with them over the lowered hurdle. Then rise to the next level and do it again. If your dog has difficulty, entice them with treats or toys. But don’t push too hard. Be mindful of your dog's limitations and comfort. Dog Hurdle for Dog Parks

Stepping Stones

Time to take one step at a time on the stepping stones! Start your dog from the first stone that has the least gap (this is usually the one lowest to the ground as well). With your dog on a leash and a treat in hand, hold the treat low to the next step as encouragement and for your dog to see where he is going. If your dog makes the step correctly, give high praise before moving on to the next one. Each step will get progressively harder so keep working at it!

Dog Stepping Stone for Dog Parks

With all these tips, you and your dog will be well on your way to mastering the agility equipment at your local dog park! Every dog is different, with some being easier to train than others. But continue working at it! Feed off each other's energy and maintain focus. The relationship between you and your dog will grow through teamwork, instilling confidence and understanding the more you practice. And remember to have fun with your good boy!

 

 

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