Time to Get Ready!

The worst of the cabin fever is upon us! Don’t give in, get going on getting everything all prepped for April, which will be open season on agility (at least for those of us in the colder areas!) the rest of you are already rarin’ to go!

Check your gear. Over the winter you may have lost, misplaced, misused, or broken some of your equipment. Take special care to examine your contact equipment if it is inside. If it’s outside, it has to wait for the snow to all melt! If you’ve broken or completely lost things, decide what to replace. Retape bars and poles now, too!  If tape is hanging off it could get caught in your dogs fur and give an unpleasant tug, and also, it looks tacky.  Remove the tape completely and apply new tape.

Start getting in gear Walk your dog outside as much as possible, or get them to exercise by fetching up and down a hallway or in an indoor area. You need to get in shape, too! It’s no fun to not be able to catch up to your dog, or to be too out of breath to give commands.  Practice with a single jump inside if it’s still too wet out, and get outside when the weathers’ fine.

Evaluate your course Now is a great time to add to your course! The earlier you can get your equipment onto your course and your dog working with it, the sooner he’ll be blazing through it!

Rearrange your course If you’ve been using the same course over and over, you are not challenging yourself or your dog enough.  Snake a tunnel through your dogwalk or A-frame, set up a four-square of jumps, or split your twelve pole weave set into two sets of six, or from two sets of six into a twelve set.

Up your upping Get back into mental shape by teaching your dog a new trick or four. Anything you can think of to get your dogs’ brain in gear and his focus on you is great, and if it’ll help them out in agility, so much the better!  I like the ‘spin’ trick, and the ‘jump into arms’ trick, personally.

Plan your practice Set aside a few minutes a day for training your dog.  Many dogs do best with five to ten minute sessions of training with play on both ends of the session instead of a half an hour session with play in the middle of it.  Remember to end on a positive note.  You don’t want to work your dog to exhaustion and take the fun out of things! finish with a perfect obstacle- and if he can’t give you that, then end with a perfect sit or trick!

Check out the competitions you want to attend, and sign up! Don’t be closed out because you procrastinated too long.

What other things do you do to ready yourself for the upcoming agility season?