It TMs been a busy time in the KRCG newsroom, and as much as I wish my only job was to go on adventures with Milo and write about them (how great would that be?!) it TMs not| so I haven TMt had time to write about our latest excursions until now.
All excuses aside, the past couple weekends have been busy ones in our household with a lot of the activities focused on Milo.
On October 8, Jason, Milo and I went to the Columbia Canine Sports Center for an open house. (Thanks to Beth at Grooming Unlimited for letting us know about the event!) The complex is a huge white building on the I-70 outer road between US-63 and the Lake of the Woods exit.
There were all kinds of vendors set up with free goodies and items for sale, but what we were most interested in was all the agility equipment.
In Milo TMs obedience class he had one week dedicated to trying out all the agility things you usually see on those Animal Planet dog competitions. Of course, that was one of the weeks I couldn TMt go so I didn TMt get to see how he handled it, but now I got to see Milo in action.
We made a beeline to the registration table and found a woman who could show Milo the ropes. It was just the three of us in the blocked-off area so Milo got some great one-on-one attention.
We started slow by having him walk over a pole that was sitting on the ground. After a couple times back and forth, he started jumping over it| a great sign that he was ready to move on to the next step.
The woman walked us through the different obstacles, each one getting more and more difficult, and he picked them all up very quickly| with the help of some treats of course! There was one activity he went on once and was done| the dreaded wobbly board. When you stand on it starts to move around. We got Milo on it once and that was enough.
We even convinced him to go on one of those skinny cat-walk type devices. It was about 4 feet in the air and he went across it on the first try with no problem! (so proud)
Even though he got scared at some points, the woman helping us said Milo is a very smart dog and a quick learner :)
At the open house we also did a quick Tracking Session where the dogs have to follow your scent to the end object/treat. It was really neat! Milo is CONSTANTLY using his sniffer so we thought it would be a neat thing for him to try. He was a little slow, but successful.
We learned a lot at the open house| including the fact you can do some of this training at home (and after a trip to Home Depot). Here are a few bullet points if you would like to start doing some agility training on your own:
Start slow!: Only do it for about 10-15 minutes a day. She said this kind of activity really wears them out, so you don TMt want to do it for very long. Even for experienced dogs you want to keep training in little spurts.
Treats, treats, treats: If your dog isn TMt very willing to try a new trick, use treats to entice them. This can be as simple as putting the treat on or near the platform/device you TMre trying to get them familiar with. More treats, more encouragement, and more fun for that certain activity!
Don TMt push them: Sometimes treats just won TMt do the trick (no pun intended). If your dog isn TMt willing to try a new agility trick, don TMt push them! That could give them a bad, and lasting, vibe about that trick or piece of equipment. Let it go and try again next time!
You TMre such a good dog!: This one is pretty simple and obvious. Whenever your dog does something correctly, or at least attempts to, give them all kinds of love and encouragement right away! The woman who helped us said to do this within 10 seconds of them completing the task.
End on a good note: You want to make sure your dog knows training is fun, and they TMre good at it! If you TMre reaching that 15 minute mark, and your dog does something correctly, stop there and praise the heck out of them!
Hope that helps!
The 3 of us had so much fun that Jason and I are considering enrolling Milo in some classes. Milo might need a little more obedience training before we put him in these classes though| so we TMll see!
I believe a few new sessions start up on October 31, and the center offers so many different kinds of classes!
Stay tuned for more!
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What About You?...
Do you have dogs that participate in agility training? Can they do any special tricks? I would love to hear about them! Comment below or share your videos/pictures on the Adventures with Milo Facebook page.