TV Time is Dog Agility Time
Whether it be bad weather, shorter daylight or just plain lazy day you can turn your TV time into dog agility time with a little effort and ingenuity. You can work on obstacle training, body awareness and even distance work while enjoying your favorite nighttime program. All you need is one or two jumps, a non slip area for your dog to work, step stool, books or even bowls.
To work on distance work you can set a low jump or two, a small container to put treats in that the dog cannot get to (clear tubes for storing nuts/bolts at a building supply store works great) or a toy he likes to chase. Start with the jump close by, set the treat “box” or toy on the opposite side of the jump and cue your dog to jump. If he runs around the jump, bring it closer to the dog then build distance slowly. You can also toss the treat box or toy as you are giving the command so your dog will follow over the jump. You will have to get up to reward the dog if you use a treat tube, but it is worth it. As your dog becomes better at distances you can add a second jump as well. Just be sure the dog is always working on a non-slip area!
For body awareness I am afraid you may have to stand up during the commercials to complete the exercises. At first you can teach your dog to place their front feet on a book, small stool or large upside-down bowl. You will start with rewarding any and all interaction with the object and then reward only for placing one foot then two. Then you can start asking the dog to change positions slightly while keeping their feet on the object until you can get them to turn completely around both directions while keeping their front feet on the object. Then you can work with the back feet. With both front and rear feet you can add height to the object, just make sure it is stable so you don’t scare your dog with a tumble.
You can also get a laundry basket or box big enough for your dog to stand in and teach them to put all four feet in the box. Of course, the sides need to be low enough that your dog can straddle the edge comfortably. You will again start with just the front feet then add the rear feet as well. When they are solid you can start using smaller and smaller “boxes” until you can get your dog to stand in a box just big enough for all four feet to fit comfortably.
These are just a few ideas you can use. There are all kinds of balance tools you can use and work with them as well. Just keep the time upbeat and taking breaks during the show will help keep you from drilling your dog too long. If you have a fun routine you do on inclement weather or dark days, be sure to scroll down and share them with everyone. This way we can all keep things new with our training.