Two-Minute Trainer

Two-Minute Trainer
Every issue of DogSport magazine includes short, fun-to-read tidbits to help your training.
Two-Minute Trainer department ended November/December 2009

Please use these in classes or on your own. All we ask is that you credit DogSport magazine.

Tire Two-Min Trainer

Trial by tire
Sep 7th, 2008 | By DS Staff | Category: Two-Minute Trainer
From the Jul/Aug 2008 issue

One thing judges never seem to tire of (pun intended) is placing the tire jump at the beginning of an agility course. This can be difficult for a novice agility dog, especially if the handler must lead out. It is very tempting for the dog to run around or under the tire jump instead of leaping through it. One strategy that can help is to make sure you can see your dog through the tire when you give your release cue. Ultimately, however, good preparation is your best bet. Here are some training tips that will help to prepare your dog for the challenge.

Money in the bank | By DS Staff | Category: Two-Minute Trainer
The best way to ensure that your dog will take the tire jump is to build its value in training. Each time your dog executes the tire jump correctly and you respond by delivering an unbelievably great reward, you are putting money into your tire jump account. The more you put in, the more likely your dog will be to seek out that tire and careen right through the center of it at your next show. If your dog seems tentative, start with a low tire and gradually work up the height. If your dog tends to crash into the tire, use a target on the ground on the landing side (e.g., a favorite toy) to keep the dog’s head low as he jumps. You can set up a low jump 4 to 6 feet in front of the tire to teach your dog to take off closer to the tire jump. Many dogs take off too early and then come crashing down onto the tire.

Variety is the spice of life | By DS Staff | Category: Two-Minute Trainer
Once your dog understands the tire jump and is diving through it with enthusiasm, it’s time to work on all sorts of scenarios. Practice start-line stays in front of the tire. Recalling your dog through the tire. Running hard beside your dog. Sending your dog ahead of you. Sometimes, use a lead-in jump or tunnel to test your dog’s understanding of the tire jump at speed. Practice crosses in front of the tire and after the tire. Work on slicing the tire (taking it at an angle). And of course, practice tire-jump-jump sequences with a lead out, so that at your next trial, your dog won’t be overwhelmed just over-tired!” If you are having difficulties, seek out the guidance of an experienced trainer. Safety is the most important goal.
Brandi Jacques – Toronto, Ontario

weave_poodle two min trainer

Weave at a distance
Sep 2nd, 2008 | By DS Staff | Category: Two-Minute Trainer

Many people struggle with training dogs to navigate their weave pole entries and perform them at a
distance. If you have this ongoing problem, here is a useful technique to correct it. Start by asking your dog to weave, staying with them every step, encouraging them as they go. Praise heavily! You should spend 15 minutes a few times a day for three to five days working on this before taking the next step. Next, send your dog at different angles to the weave pole entrance. This is called around the clock. Imagine a clock around the weave poles and send your dog to the entrance starting at each hour. Start easy and work your way up to harder approaches.

Now you should be able to fade. To fade from your dog means to start with him on an obstacle but end up farther away from him before the obstacle is completed. First, you will ask your dog to weave and fade only the tiniest bit. As you feel you are ready, add more distance between you and your dog. You can now confidently ask your dog to weave at any angle at any distance. Now, who wouldn”t want to trial with a performance like that?
Emily Bart, Junior handler – Paris, Texas

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Playing in the ring
Sep 2nd, 2008 | By DS Staff | Category: Two-Minute Trainer

You might expect a tip about “training in the ring, but what obedience judges like to see in the ring is teamwork. The very core of obedience is the dog and handler working as a team. So how can we get the most out of our dogs during a performance? Well, aside from performing the required exercises, there is a lot of in-between time during which you can connect with your dog. So when you have to move between exercises, use that time to be creative. Okay, you can’t bring toys or food into the ring, but you have your arms and legs, canes or wheelchairs that you can use as tools to get your dog in the groove.

Make sure what you choose is something your dog enjoys doing. Some dogs like to jump up, but others would rather keep their feet on the ground. How about teaching your dog to circle you? When you are en route to heel free from the stand for exam, for example, start walking and give a subtle cue to have your dog circle you. I have taught my softer springer to drive to my hand and this has worked very well. She has learned that the first hand touch does not always pay (get a click and treat) so I ask for more and she gets pushier and bolder with each nose touch. I vary it: the first one might get a big treat, but sometimes it takes three nose touches to get the treat.

playing_in_the_ring two min trainer

She always has four feet on the ground and it is much more controlled and less obvious than holding your hand up high and saying Touch, touch. Another fun stress-reliever can be used after a recall exercise is finished (including the finish), which occurs in one fashion or another from Novice to Utility. Turn and face your dog and ask him to go through your legs and return to heel position. The bonus part of this game is that it also teaches your dog to get back into heel position with some fun. These games should be taught as much as you work on teaching the regular exercises. As they are stress relievers, your dog should think they’re the most fun thing to do and be rewarded very highly with a tug toy or some high-value food.
Michelle Armitage – Ottawa, Ontario
CKC Obedience judge and competitor

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Giving the handler a “time-out”
Aug 25th, 2008 | By DS Staff | Category: Two-Minute Trainer

I’ll be the first to admit that we sometimes get frustrated while training our dogs. Here are a few ways to cool down during a difficult training session that will actually benefit both you and your dog in the end.

• Be aware of when a “time-out” needs to be taken. Not for them, but for you. Get something to drink and turn on the radio. Spend the next five or 10 minutes just sitting with your dog. On a time-out you should not leave your dog, because it is not a time-out for him. Go back through the sequence or skill in your head and think of tips that friends and trainers have given you when it comes to trouble-shooting that particular area.

Take a few moments to throw a ball or play tug with your dog. It will help you temporarily forget about the problem so you can approach it with a fresh mind. For high-energy dogs, it helps take the edge off their stress and helps them concentrate.

Last but not least, remember to end the training session with something good for both of you. No matter how many times you take a time-out to re-group and re-look at a problem, end your training with something that will make both you and your dog want to go back out on the field the next day.
Emily Bart, Junior Handler – Paris, Texas

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Recent Posts | By DS Staff | Category: Two-Minute Trainer:
Trial by tire
Weave at a distance
Playing in the ring
Double up
Courses inspired by USDAAs 2007 World Cynosport Games