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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am itching to start agility training with my pup, but he still has 9 months to go until his joints are ready. Does anyone have any ideas for fun games/tricks etc that will prepare him for the sport? We are in intermediate obedience aiming for an eventual good citizen, but all this ''sensibel'' training just isn't quite the same as weaving through poles :)
 

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How serious are you going to be with this? Like, do you just want to take classes for fun, or are you planning to do competitions eventually? Some of these things might be more "intense" than you want to get.

1) Develop a really good tug drive if you haven't already -- this is very useful for agility.
2) Work on your rock solid start line stays. I do this through a variety of crate games, building up to the point where the dog knows he shouldn't leave his crate until I say "break". Then I'll practice sits and other things. Also work on your table downs, if you want.
3) Get really solid paw and nose targetting -- this will come in handy when you're teaching your dog contacts.
4) Body awareness -- get your dog to climb on a variety of different surfaces, especially ones that move. Things that mimic the seesaw are especially useful.
5) Build value for the "reinforcement zone" -- the area on your left just behind your feet.
6) Jump "bumps" -- get some pool noodles or other things and start doing basic jump grids, working in your start line stays.
 

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There is a ton! However, keep in mind, I am no agility expert nor do I actively train for agility (but I do use a lot of the beginning exercises with my dog because I think they are helpful).

Basic obedience is probably the most help, but looks like you are working on that. Also, make sure you are building a lot of toy drive and food drive. Using toys as motivators and rewards is really helpful. My dog is much more food motivated, but I am working on it. While your dog is still a pup, try to build his toy drive as much as you can.

Wobble Board - Essentially its a board that will wobble around. You get your dog to walk on it and cause it to move. Essentially, you are teaching the dog to be comfortable keeping balance even when the stuff underneath him is moving/unsteady. This helps with the teeter a lot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC9uDgiIwTA

Circle work - Teaching the dog to "read" and "follow" your movements. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxYIMGO3N8Y&feature=player_embedded#!

Hind-End Awareness - A dog can not perform agility accurately if they can not control their hind end. This is a low impact activity that is easy to teach and can be used for a variety of things. (Teaching pivots, etc.) You can do this like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEqQDw8Jo9M. Or you can do other activities like putting a ladder on the ground and having your puppy walk through it (with lots of encouragement). They have to figure out how to walk through the ladder, coordinating their back legs and front legs at the same time.

Google "agility foundation training" or "flatwork agility training" for more ideas. I love Susan Garrett's blog for ideas too. This one blog post is, in my opinion, pretty relevant to your situation now. http://susangarrett.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/the-three-most-important-keys-to-greatness-in-agility/
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both so much.
Cricketloops - I used to compete my old poodle back in Denmark ages ago and would love to compete again, but the primary focus is for Koda to have fun and get lots of mental stimulation. We are good on targeting and stays, although we need to work on a standing stay. Body awareness is an excellent point. I love the wobble board Nil talked about :).
Nil, thank you for all the research, this is exactly what I was looking for to spice up the daily training routine. Hopefully it will help him start out with lots of confidence when the time comes, and help me back into the right mindset.
 

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My pup started agility at 14 weeks. We did foundation/control work, but then we immediately went to obstacles and weaves and patterns. Everything was dropped super low, so there was no height involved, but by 5 months, mine was running great weaves and 12 obstacle sequences. Training sessions were very short and fun. There's a ton of work that can be done with a pup with attention to joint safety.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wish I could do the same! unfortunately I would have to buy all equipment myself, because the club im looking at does not allow pups under 9 months to sign up for anything, not even introduction courses. I used to have some weaves and a tunnel, maybe i'll get new ones and start there :)
 

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Weaves can be punishing for joints as well. If you do start training weaves (I love the 2x2 method) then take it very slow and don't work it very hard.

One skill Denali had to learn that was challenging for her was to sit right next to me, right next to my leg. All previous training was done face-to-face so it was difficult at first to show her that I wanted her to sit next to me instead. Work on that, being able to have your dog sit on either side of you.
 

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Weaves can be punishing for joints as well. If you do start training weaves (I love the 2x2 method) then take it very slow and don't work it very hard.
I have heard this too. Something about the way the paws/legs have to stop suddenly to propel them through the next weave. Essentially, a lot of pressure/weight on those joints. Granted, just what I have heard.

Tunnels are good though. If you have a small dog, just fyi, you can usually buy kid play tunnels at Wal-Mart, IKEA, Target, etc. They are smaller than regulation, but only like 15-20$ and it works to get you started.

Later in your career, if you don't want to spend a lot of money, making PVC jumps is easy and I have done that. I have also seen home-made PVC teeters and pause tables.

Also, if you live in an area with a lot of SDGE signs laying around on sidewalks, I have *heard* they make good, small, lightweight, stackable, portable jumps and can be quite flashy when spray painted over. :whistle:
 

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I made weaves out of pvc too. The stripes are done with painters tape :)




close up of the joints
 

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I've made jumps, a table, a teeter, tire.. I bought 2x2s though. I tried pvc, I needed the heavier bases. Seems PVC is far cheaper stateside. PVC to make jumps here is ridiculous. Far too costly. I switched over to wood a few years ago (for standards) enough pvc for just poles is fine.
 

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PVC 2x2 weaves are very light. She moves them every time she goes through so I have to readjust them which is a little annoying, but for me it was much cheaper to make them so I deal with it.
For lengths: each vertical post is 3ft. The horizontal piece between the two poles is 2 ft. Each support leg is 1 ft.
There are 2 joints, and the top part screw in between the joint and the pole.

I used pvc cement (the purple stuff) to attach the horizontal 2ft piece to each joint, making sure the joints were level so the poles wouldnt be crooked. I also cemented the poles into the screw piece.
Because the screw piece+poles come out, and the support legs come out, I can take them apart and put them back together really quickly for keeping them out of the way or transporting them.

I just found this website which has the 4-way T joints you would need in order to make 6-12 poles together. They have jump cups too! http://www.formufit.com/

(why would they photograph pvc on a white background? lol)
 
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