Rear End Awareness Exercises

How does one teach their dog that they have a rear end?

Some dogs who only go for leash walks seem to not realize that they can do stuff with their rear end.    When I first learned this, and then saw it, I was stunned!  How could a dog get like this?

I’ve never had, nor do I ever think I will have, a dog who doesn’t know just how important their rear end is.   How do I get this?

I run them off leash A LOT as a puppy.  Through a bush, through culverts, over hills, over toys in the backyard.    Can you get down to this stream?  Let’s go swimming?  Fetch that stick that I’ve tossed hither and yon!

The question becomes more important as the dog ages and this type (the above) of play/work hasn’t been done.   So how to teach it in an older dog.

1. ladder work – have the dog walk slowly through a ladder.  This teaches the dog that they have to actively do something with their back feet, they can’t just follow along in a ladder.

2. walk over odd surfaces.  i.e. carefully walk down those rocks that they often has a soil barriers down to the water surfaces (or anything like that).

3. teach a spin, turn, circle on a piece of wood that is off the ground (perhaps don’t start off the ground, but add that height).

There are other things one can do, but my time is short and I’ll need to come back to this.  🙂


Contact Behaviour

The question was asked of me the other day.   How does one train confidence on equipment?

My initial response is that is takes time and repetition to build confidence, so perhaps it’s another question that needs to be asked.

Perhaps the question is “my dog doesn’t like doing the down side of the dog walk” what can I do to help him through this?

First you need to ask yourself some questions.

  1. Does my dog do the down part on other pieces of agility equipment?  If so, what is different about this piece?  If not, then perhaps it’s a body awareness thing and the dog doesn’t know he can use his rear feet to help brace himself as well.  And then one needs to train rear end awareness.
  2. What type of contact behaviour am I training?  Do I for this piece of equipment need to modify my expectations?   For instance, My dog Sassy has a basic 2020 for the dog walk and teeter, but a running for the a-frame.  The angles are different for each.
  3.  Is there any way that your nerves are starting to show about how this dog performs this equipment that might have some bearing on the problem?
  4. Can you lower it?
  5. Can you teach him to walk back and forth on a plank on the ground?  Can he turn in a circle while staying on the board?   Will he do so confidently?

There may be other questions to ask, but this will get you started.

Rain Gear

Don’t know about you, but getting soaked while at an agility trial or out at some function or other isn’t my idea of a whole lot of fun so….

Here are some suggestions from agility folk…I haven’t tried them. I just do the simple dollar store plastic garbage bag with a good hat…works for me… and then I stay out of the rain as much as possible. Plus…unless it’s a cold rain…a wee bit of water isn’t gonna kill a person. 🙂

  • cabela’s among the many things they do in primarily hunting/fishing tcthey also do rain gear
  • frogg togg’s. Some like their stuff, others don’t.
  • marmot precip rain gear
  • one happy customer says:

    I got the Marmot precip raingear from cleanrun and so far I am VERY happy with it. It helped me get through quite a serious torrential storm that lasted a week, and just amazing how much more comfortable than any other raingear I’ve ever had. My daughter opted for a marmot made of gortex ……, and she seems happy with her stuff too. I really like all the Marmot stuff we have. The raingear I do NOT recommend is anything is anything with a DWR coating that washes off, because we have had just terrible luck with those, in spite of following all the recommended care.

Tire Jumps

So the tire jump is not just a simple no fault jump. It can often be the scene of some fairly horrendous crashes. It has been the topic of much debate on agility lists as of late.

One lady came up with a possible solution. Of course, since her jump uses drainage pipe, over time there is the distinct possibility that her pipe would become more of an oval than a circle and need, therefore, to be replaced.

Other solutions include using displaceable tires. One can use magnets or I’m not sure…self-healing material (that stuff that comes back to it’s original shape naturally).  Examples of these are

  • a version of NADAC approved tire jump
  • plus there are ones that use a magnet on foam.  BUT I can’t find a picture or video of this.  If anyone out there has better success, let me know and I’ll put the link in. 🙂

Of one could go with the standard tire jump and just be careful to train your dog to jump it cleanly and from a variety of angles OR train yourself to always give your dog a straight path through the tire jump.   Examples of standard tire jumps:

Buja Board

Why use a buja board?

  • It’s an excellent way to get dogs used to something move under their feet.
  • It’s small enough you can take it with you various places.
  • You can use it as a starter for doing a table and a teeter.
  • it helps your dog develop confidence in doing things even if the unexpected might happen under their feet.  A confident dog can go far.  🙂

Looking for clear directions, perhaps even a pictorial on how to make a buja board?  Check out this webpage.

For other ideas on making your own buja board check out these sites

Anyways, you’ll have some ideas that will at least get you started.

Agility Training Journal

Must say…the folks here seem to have a good product.

Have to say…I won’t get it, but I have tried it, but I have ONE dog doing agility. I do it for fun, titles and ribbons are nice, but it’s just fun. It’s a hobby that I’m not intense about.

If I thought that I’d want to compete nationally or even just regionally do really well. Or if I wanted to have multiple dogs running in agility, then I would think differently and find this product helpful.

Anyways, the folks at Flat Creek Studios have put together a professional agility journal. Takes all the work out of making a spreadsheet of your own. Makes it easy to track all your whats, wheres and whoto’s of trialing.

From their website:

The Agility Trial Journal is a comprehensive software solution for tracking and reporting competition progress, and for helping focus training efforts. In a familiar notebook style, the Agility Trial Journal places trial related information at one’s fingertips, and provides an intuitive way to track title progress and record issues and observations that may assist in shaping and achieving training goals. That goal is achieved each and every time a competitor’s progress recorded with the Agility Trial Journal matches that of the sanctioning organization.

Right now they even have a 30 day trial period. Download it, try it out.  You just might find it’s exactly what you are looking for. 🙂