4 Tips For Motivating Your Dog To Use Agility Equipment

Most dogs enjoy exercise and activities, and playtime often is a highlight of their day. While dogs typically are quite enthusiastic about suing dog agility equipment, motivating them to learn how to use this equipment correctly can be daunting at times. Here are a few quick tips that can help your dog stay focused on training.

1. Treats Can Be A Good Initial Motivator

While treats and any other incentives cannot be used during agility competitions, when you are first training your dog how to use dog agility equipment, small treats can be a helpful tool. Stick with healthy options and very small servings to ensure that you don’t overfeed and be sure to provide praise as well as treats when you dog exhibits a skill correctly.

Many people worry that if they use treats then their dog will never be successful with agility unless treats are present. However, you can eventually take away treats and still enjoy success on the agility course. The idea behind using treats as a motivator is to instill in your pet the idea that using agility equipment is fun and to improve the focus of a beginner. Sometimes dogs are bit hesitant to use the dog training equipment so using a small treat can coax them to try it out. Once your dog masters a new skill and performs it for you, your praise will be enough motivation.

2. High Energy Dogs Need To Expend Energy

If you have a dog with a ton of energy, then agility training probably will be an excellent fit. However, many dogs, especially younger dogs, have a tad bit of trouble with concentration. Before heading outdoors to use dog agility equipment, it can be a good idea to engage in some quick playtime or take a walk around the block. You don’t want to tire the dog out, but when a little bit of energy is released, it can make it easier for a dog to focus on learning how to use dog training equipment.

3. Keep Training Times Short

Dogs aren’t well known for possessing long attention spans, which is why we recommend that you don’t overdo it with training. Every dog is different, but typically a 20-minute training session is probably a good length of time. For some dogs, you might do this twice per day or extend this to 30 minutes per day. However, your dog’s enthusiasm for agility equipment may wane if you consistently force them to train for an hour or more or past the point where their enthusiasm is high.

In some cases, you could start off with very short training sessions. For instance, when you first train, perhaps you will do a quick 15-minute session teaching just one piece of dog agility equipment. Eventually, you will work up to the point where your dog will be able to complete an entire course filled with agility equipment and you will focus on running through different course arrangements rather than working on one apparatus. Even at this point, don’t overdo it as your dog might become too tired or even overheated.

4. Show Off Your Enthusiasm

Dogs are pretty simple creatures. When their people are happy, they are happy too. When you are excited about something, they also feel that excitement. When using dog training equipment, be sure to show tons of enthusiasm. Get excited about teaching new skills and offer your dog tons of praise and love when they succeed. Not only will this provide you with a dog motivate to learn more, you and your dog will strengthen your bond in general. Through the use of agility equipment, you will find that your dog is happier, healthier and even more obedient, and your attitude is a huge factor in motivating them to learn and become successful. 

Brad Carlson enjoys dog agility training. To find agility equipment  or to find more about training equipment for dog agility equipment, please check out the Carlson-Agility.com website today.