Clean Run - September 2011 - (Page 56)

Agility Games to Play with Puppies By Kea Grace, photos by Clean Run You walk in and place your new, wiggly fuzzball on the floor. Staring at your little bundle of joy, you’re in awe of how your puppy moves, works, and functions. This puppy will be it. You’ve already made your first-dog mistakes, trained your second dog, and this one is going to take you all the way. You know you started your first dog way too early and he paid for it with early-onset joint and back pain. You now know that your agility puppy shouldn’t become your agility dog until he is older—a year old, maybe even two. What on earth do you do with this fuzzy critter until then, though? Have no fear! There are skills, awareness games, and behaviors you can teach your puppy while waiting for him to mature. You’ll be busy for ages, not just the year or two you’re waiting for him to physically mature. Some of these skills translate directly to the agility ring; others help your puppy develop intellectually and physically. The games not only develop and increase your bond with your puppy but also assist in transforming your malleable youngster into a firstclass working dog. 1 1 - Tug Play tug with your puppy from a very young age. Start as soon as you bring your puppy home. This builds working drive, and it gives you a built-in reward that you can use anytime, anywhere. Choose a toy that the puppy can only play with while playing with you. Ropes, balls on a string, or long, fuzzy toys work really well. Drag it around in front of the puppy until he is aroused. Tease the puppy a little bit, then let him grab the toy. Don’t always win; allow the puppy the experience and joy of winning. Remember, it’s his toy, too. When playing tug with a puppy, ensure you keep the puppy’s head level with his back and avoid picking the puppy up or swinging/ jerking him around. 2 2 - Words Teach your puppy as many words as possible using positive, fun training methods. Clicker training is particularly effective for young puppies and helps them develop critical thinking skills. Basic obedience commands are a good place to start, although the possibilities are infinite. Teach your puppy the names of his toys, of people, and of puppy obstacles. 56 Clean Run | September 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - September 2011

Clean Run - September 2011
Editorializing: When a “Lifetime” Only Means Five Years
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility
Backyard Dogs
Who’s Premack and What Does He Have to Do with My Start Lines?
Power Paws Drills: Front Side, Back Side
Improving Your Sports Vision, Part 1
Choosing the Most Efficient Path for Your Dog: Decision Making
Dylan’s Story
Teaching FOCUS and Impulse-control Classes: Week 5
Ready, Set, Trial! Should You Move Up?
Agility Bloopers
Training to Your Weakness: Exercises for Dogs with a Straight Front
Building and Balancing Handler and Obstacle Focus, Part 6
Great Expectations
Agility Games to Play with Puppies
Challenges for Rising Stars: Snooker Expanded
Agility Defined by Me

Clean Run - September 2011