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Tuesday Training Byte: Make training fun!

When we think of training, we might look at it similar to to going to school, and how fun it was depended on the teacher. When I get the training collar (I use a Herm Sprenger fur saver- not a prong or E collar) my dogs are excited hoping I will pick them. After I put the collar and lead on, I say in an upbeat tone, "Are you ready to work?" My tone sets the stage as dogs understand tone better than actual words. I start with upbeat and brisk body language, eye contact, and encouraging words. My dog is then happy to be doing whatever I choose for that day. We usually focus on a couple of skills per session. I have various pieces of agility equipment and "fit dog" items set out in the training area. You can even use inexpensive items like pool noodles and hula hoops or a bag of cedar shavings. Be creative! For the bag of cedar shavings, I have the dog put it's front feet on it and then off. Next all four feet on it and then off. I have the dog do a sit and down while on top of the bag. I may even have my pup step off with his front feet while his back feet are still on the bag. Use your items in various ways and coaxing your dog with a food lure until he gets the hang of things. After I work on a certain obedience or rally skill for a few minutes, I let my dog have directed play interacting with the equipment. Then we go back and practice another skill for about five more minutes and end with another play session. These activities make for great bonding and engagement with your dog. Say goodbye to boring training! Pictured is Piper with her Rhodesian Ridgeback on a homemade pause table.

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