Help with Training the Dog Agility Tire
Tire jumps have been the location of many crashes in dog agility due to it’s ring shape that has to be negotiated with precision by your dog jumping at speed. Tires also have undergone the most changes to protect dogs from this sometimes tragic crashes with the latest and best change being that of a displace-able or breakaway tire. You still need to do your part as the trainer in getting a solid and reliable tire performance. Here are some great ways to get that done.
- Training The tire demands careful, consistent and frequent training. If you don’t have access to a tire obstacle, we carry a lightweight, easy to use practice tire jump to make practice a snap. Start with the bottom edge of the tire on the ground. Shape your dog to step through the tire, if that is too much try shaping them looking at it until they are comfortable with that. Gradually, bring them closer and then through the tire. When your dog will confidently step through the tire resting on the ground you can start raising it a little at a time until you reach your dog’s regulation height measured at the inside bottom edge of the tire.
- Raise it slowly Get to your dog’s regulation height slowly. For small dogs that will be rather quick. Remember to start low and go slow. Mark and reward clean perfect jumps with well-judged entry and landings.
- Leave it at full height Changing bar jump heights can be done for many reasons including competing in different venues that use different height standards and working on new handling skills. Though we are not advocates for changing the tire jump height. Once your dog learn their height, they need to be confident knowing it will always be the same.
- Breakaway Tire We are seeing the breakaway or displace-able tire jumps at more and more competitions and we LOVE it. The breakaway tire jump is the best way to keep dogs safe on course. Many competitors will refuse to run courses that do not utilize a safety tire. If you attend a competition that does not use one and opt to scratch from running, be sure to let the venue know why. This is the best way to get more venues and clubs to make the investment that could save needless injury to their competitors.
- Proofing your dogs performance As soon as your dog is performing the tire with confidence you need to add proofing to their performance. Start proofing at each new jump height, but don’t stay at a lower height too long. You want your dog to “memorize” their standard height. As for proofing, have your dog do the tire jump while you run by, stand still, do the chicken dance… you know the drill!
- Practice regularly Do what you can to make the tire jump a part of your courses so your dog gets plenty of time with it. This is a place where practice will make perfect as you and your dog get as comfortable with the tire obstacle as the teeter and contact obstacles.
When properly trained, the tire jump offers your dog a unique chance to show off their precise leaping skills as well as add a level of challenge to any home course.