Training Hunting Dogs to Do Agility Outside

Here’s the question: I have a large breed hunting dog.  We’ve done most of our training indoors at our training facility.  When I take my hunting dog outside to do agility, at a trial, he just takes off on me.   Can this dog ever do agility outside with me?

Answer: yes.  🙂  just takes time and training for the dog to learn what you want him/her to do outside.  That outside doesn’t just mean hunting for me time.  🙂

What does this mean then?

  • Do as much training and practicing of agility outside that you can
  • Teach your dog that outside agility is just the same as indoor agility, it’s just the location that has moved.  🙂  Some dogs just don’t generalize well so this can be hard for them to  learn.
  • also practice some basic obedience with your dog…come, sit, stay etc
  • That means take a jump, reward!   Just one or two obstacles at the time until dog learns that outside is for agility too.
  • Take it nice and slow
  • sometimes it’s more of a matter of the dog needing to mature abit
  • Use a lot of treats, toys or whatever to keep it fun and take small steps.  There is a whole different world of scents, sounds, breezes and visual distractions in an outdoor setting.
  • Realize that any new dog needs to see lots of new venues, and as they gain experience and mature in the game, they will do better at it.
  • Find ways to teach focus and control.  Go to busy trials and just work on attention (focus) and control areas.    There’s a barking dog 20 feet away, can you sit?   There’s a bunch of birds over there flapping and making noise, can you heel around them?  And such like…..
  • When going to new venues, give him a chance to thoroughly check it out before asking him to do anything.  Do the sniff walk-about, and once you have that done, do some basic obedience, so some more sniffing, then ask for a jump or do a recall etc.  Give him time to adapt to and check out this new place.