Using Agility Equipment
Here at DogMa Dog School the aim of using the agility equipment is not about speed, being prescise or being flashy, it's to build trust, a good bond and teamwork between handler and their dog.
Each piece of equipment should be used positively and realistically. (If I have a Chihuahua I would NOT expect it to clear a fence, jump which clearly could be dangerous to it's health or physically endanger them). All dog's have different capabilities and these should be understood clearly by their handler and respected to keep the connection between them moving in the right direction. If you have a good, positive connection with your dog they will try their best for you and no matter how well they do on any given piece of apparatus they should be rewarded profusely for good effort.
Remember to give a name to each piece of apparatus in connecton with what you expect from your dog. So everything I want jumped, I say "JUMP", using the weave poles, I say "WEAVE"
My vocabulary of command which I use for my dogs is:
Keep the commands consistant with each piece of apparatus so that when we move to off lead work they already know their vocal cues from you. Also remember to use body language, so giving them direction using your arm (treat in that hand) teaches them to watch which way you want them to go.
When out walking your dog take advantage of anything in your surroundings to practice what we do in class. So if you see bollards use them to practice "WEAVE". A park bench to teach "TABLE" or if your dog is capable and you know it's safe you could do what I do with mine and tach them to "JUMP" over the back of the bench. Don't miss an opportunity to train and build teamwork with your dog, be immaginative and have fun with your dog!