Patterns in Dog Agility Training Help With Nerves

dog1If you have a backyard for your dogs you may have noticed paths that your dog(s) have made.  Your dog takes the same route to the house and around the yard visiting the same area to sniff as well as eliminate.  They are creatures of habit and have a routine they follow everyday much the same way their wild ancestors would have.

Patterns can give your dog purpose, focus and confidence when they become rattled.  When your dog gets hyped up, nervous or scared when out and about you can use pattern work to refocus your dog on more desirable behaviors while boosting his confidence.  You can watch video after video where handlers have a special routine they follow before starting a run that helps both settle and focus their dogs and themselves.

Patterns are an important part of dog agility training not only for your dog, but for us as well.  Any time we focus completely on our dog and what we are working on, we too will become more focused, relaxed and confident.  Knowing we can make a request of our dog and have them respond is great for calming nerves.  While it may not seem much fun to work patterns at home, this is a prime example of how doing so will better your team.

Those patterns don’t have to be intricate, in fact, it is best if they are fairly simple.  Figure eights over two low jumps, weaving through your legs and performing other tricks are some examples.  Start at home and teach the patterns until your dog is completely at ease with them and can perform them with ease.  Try to stick with exercises that will also benefit your dog on the agility course as well.  Then try them at an event and experiment until you find one that switches your dog’s brain back over to you.

If you already have a routine or pattern you follow to get your team on the same page, we would love to hear about it.  Just leave your reply in the comments area, who knows you may help someone else find that perfect pattern to get connect at a competition.