Agility courses are a great way to burn off some of that puppy energy, while teaching your new dog to follow your commands. However, if you aren’t able to enroll in a traditional agility class, you can still teach your puppy some of the skills on your own.
One of the most enjoyable things you can do with your new puppy is to train him to run through tunnels, jump over obstacles, and do other agility tricks. While you can teach your puppy these things on your own, the most efficient way to train them is to take them to a puppy agility class. These classes are designed to give your puppy the exercise he needs while helping him to grow, develop and learn to control himself.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that a puppy is not a full grown dog, and his body may not be developed enough to do everything an older dog can do. Puppy agility classes are usually designed with this in mind, but if you’re going to teach your dog tricks on your own, be sure to watch him and let him rest when he seems tired or unable to do what you ask of him.
One of the basic puppy agility skills you can teach your new furry friend is to run through a tunnel. To start, purchase any type of play tunnel from a pet store or use a large cardboard box from your home or a store in your area. These tunnels can be kept short and straight, or extended to several feet in length. At first, make the tunnel fairly short and keep it perfectly straight. Stand at one end of the tunnel and have someone else hold your puppy at the other end. Let your puppy see you through the tunnel, and call to him when you’re ready. Remember to reward your puppy when he gets to the other end.
The chute is another basic puppy agility test. Unlike the tunnel – which should never collapse on the puppy – the chute is a length of fabric that can be dropped down on one end so that your puppy has to push through it. Start with it completely raised, however, so that your puppy can see you on one end. This exercise is identical to the tunnel at first. As your puppy gets used to it, lower the fabric and continue to reward him for making it through the obstacle. Of course, make sure that your puppy can’t get tangled up in the chute.
If you want to teach your puppy to jump, be careful. Jumping is one of the hardest agility techniques because it can hurt your puppy’s bones. Have him jump over poles lying on the ground until he gets the basic idea. Then you can move on to slightly higher bars or blocks. Remember, though, to not raise the bar too high until your puppy is fully grown or you may injure him. It’s a good idea to consult a dog training expert in your area before you start training your puppy to jump so you know just how high he can safely leap.