Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting in some serious training

Hi! I'm Icon! Last weekend I gave my 2nd seminar up at beautiful Power Paws agility field!

I didn't have as many participants as last time, but this was a more focused session.

To start off the day we did some fun trick training for the handlers.

This handler was taught to place numbered cones by a jump. It's a pretty easy trick to teach your handler, but it's impressive how much distance the participant was able to get from the handler. He was at least 40 ft away and the handler put the numbers 1-20 down in the correct sequence!

The next trick is a fun one for teaching your handler to pick up their toys and put them away. It's a very complex trick, especially with TWO handlers! But this participant did a great job with his training.  The handlers are even having fun doing this trick! (The participant seems a bit bored though, I didn't notice that during the seminar.)

The 'replace a bar on a jump' trick is an oldie but a goodie. You jump over a bar, but at the last minute you push the bar out of the jump cups with your foot. Then your handler has to pick it up from the ground and put it back in the cup. Handlers get so excited when you train this trick! Their voices get louder and higher pitched each time you kick a bar onto the ground and they sometimes even jump up and down.  I've even seen some handler's face turn bright red. It's fun to see handlers so engaged in their training!

Something that dogs often overlook before starting agility is the warmup. You must stretch and get your muscles ready for the activity ahead. Agility is a demanding sport!

Recently there has been a rash of dog injuries related to agility. Canine masseuses, physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons all believe this can be directly linked to dogs not warming up prior to working with their handlers. Here my brother Rampage shows a good example of a pre-agility stretch. Notice that even while stretching it's good to involve your handler so they feel as though they are helping you. I encourage Rampage to seek out and engage with any available handler so I can have my handler all to myself again (I'm willing to share with Apollo and Foster because they were here before me but that Rampage is a free-loader).

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