Michael Peer, Dog Behavior Specialist, East Falls Church, Va: Posted on Monday, April 08, 2013 3:48 PM
So you think okay, all dogs know how to jump. Correct, we don't need to teach our dogs HOW to jump but rather control or command WHEN. By this I'm driving the point that if we teach our dogs to jump or crawl on command (maybe at times when they may not want to) we are actually leading them. Isn't a dog who is unwilling (some say stubborn) to jump over a simple obstacle on command an act of not following its leader? By consistently leading your hound through a simple agility course, you are building confidence and trust in you-the Leader. A bonus is the special bond that the confidence/trust molds- a harmonious relationship. Never forget that your relationship with Linus is one of give and take. He learns to rely on the consistent practice that if he listens to you, you will take care of him and provide in all ways. Through agility exercises, FiFi grows to understand that her behavior of simply attempting a simple feat will be rewarded with your positive attention. As her confidence and excitement builds so does your praise and reward. This process is monumental and beautiful to watch unfold. Agility incorporated into obedience training gives us another tool in working positively alongside our canine partners. As the old adage goes: There's no "I" in team! Your relationship with your dog is a forever partnership. I wouldn't have it any other way!