With so many dog sports out there, it can be hard to decide which one to pursue. You may have seen videos online (see links below), know someone who competes, or even taken a class yourself. Practicing a canine sport gives you and your dog a chance to spend quality time together while building skills that can help your pup develop better manners in real life. Even if your dog isn’t natural athlete, there may be a sport to suit him. See which of the sports below is right for your Rover.
Agility involves the dog running a course of obstacles, including jumps, tunnels, weave poles, a teeter-totter and more. It is an ideal outlet for many active dogs, as it burns both mental and physical energy. Nervous dogs can build confidence by first practicing the foundation activities and slowly building upon them, and the teamwork necessary for Agility lets a skittish dog learn to trust his handler. As each obstacle requires the dog to pay attention both to you and to his surroundings, dogs who lack focus or are excitable can learn to channel their energy on a fun task.
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Big news! My second book, a collaboration with top trainer and agility competitor Sarah Westcott, is now available! It's a complete (and really fun) manners program built exclusively from sports, games, and tricks. Get it on Amazon here or at any number of other booksellers.
Play Your Way to Good Manners shows you how to approach your dog's manners training as a collection of cool tricks, exciting sports moves, and interactive games, changing your dog's attitude from "I have to do it" to "I want to do it." Sarah and I have drawn from techniques used in canine sports, games, and trick training, and applied them to a positive-reinforcement manners training program that you and your dog can easily follow.
Inside Play Your Way to Good Manners you’ll learn strategies to teach your dog:
Tired of yelling at your dog to stop jumping on people? Tell him to “give paw” instead!
Tricks aren’t just for fun; they can have numerous practical benefits. One of my favorite tricks is to “give paw.” It’s easy for many dogs to learn, and it provides a fun way to replace jumping on people, play biting your guests, and other exuberant behaviors. (I generally do not recommend this for shy dogs who are afraid to greet strangers, however.)
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Kate is a certified dog behavior consultant, certified dog trainer, and award-winning author in Brooklyn, NY with Doggie Academy and in Southbury, CT.