Sunday, April 26, 2009

Paddinton's New Groove

This week, I am starting Paddington's pre-agility training. It is my hope that by next spring, I will be able to begin training him on an actual agility course. Before attempting to train for competition agility, there are some things I would like Paddington to work on. I would like for Paddington to always look to me, or his respective handler, for commands. Right now, when Paddington knows that he is going to get a reward, he begins doing all kinds of random tricks. I could ask him to roll over, and he will sit pretty, play dead, spin, talk, and THEN roll over. He begins his long string of tricks before I even give him a command. And so, I would like to work on having him look to me, receive the command, and THEN do the appropriate trick.  In agility, the course is never in the same order, or laid out in the same way. The obstacles are the same, but the dog must look to the handler to know which obstacle he needs to go to next. This relationship is very important in agility.

Second, Paddy needs to come when called. He needs to come every time, in every situation. There have been quite a few instances recently, where he has bolted out of the house and nearly gotten hit by cars because he will not come if he knows we can't catch him. This is my fault as a trainer, and I should not allow my dog to get into such dangerous situations. I feel that this needs to be accomplished above all else.

Third, Paddy needs to learn the command "heel." This goes along with looking to me for commands. 

After we have accomplished all of these things, I will begin introducing Paddington to the obstacles. He needs to get used to them, and kind of "bond" with them. Two obstacles that I know we will have problems with are the tunnel, and the chute. I know that he will be timid to go into these obstacles. He seems to be a bit claustrophobic, and won't even go under Jonah's swing to get a toy.

Here is a video of dogs doing what I hope to be the end result of our training in a couple of years; I had looked for a video of a yorkie doing it, but they are so tiny you can't see them on the video:


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