Team Small Dog: Agility, Make It Fun

12 Nov 2009Steve Schwarz

Laura at Team Small Dog has just written a great post titled “Thinking different to make a change”. I think it is required reading for all agility students and trainers. It can be too easy to write the dog off when the trainer/owner hasn’t found what it is that makes the game fun for the dog. All the excuses and blame get heaped unfairly on the dog because not enough thinking went on to find a way to change the task or the dog’s perspective on the task to make it fun. As Laura puts it:

And to stay one step ahead, always have to think different. What's most important for the thinking to work, is that the dogs think they're at one helluva knock down, drag out fiesta every single time they step out there, and that the party never ends. Agility can be hard sometimes for people to learn how to do. But if the dog's tail isn't wagging, it just ain't going to happen.

I think an important corollary is “it is only a reward if the dog finds it rewarding” (I believe I have Suzanne Clothier to thank for that).

Please be kind and be thoughtful.

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