Beginning Agility: Week 1
Ground work is often unappreciated, it is actually very important. Ground work teaches your dog to pay attention to YOU first, and everything else second. Ground work is when you teach your dog to do many agility drills without jumps first, then you add the jumps in when they have those basic skills down. These basic skills include: teaching your dog to shadow you, going fast and slow, by using acceleration and deceleration cues. Teaching him to shadow you in circles by using your supportive hand, and teaching him to switch directions and sides using a front cross (you switching direction and supportive hand).
The basics: your dog is always on the side of your supportive hand. If you switch hands, dog switches sides. If you switch sides, you must switch hands. You support jumps, direction, etc, with your supportive hand.
You show your dog that he can speed up by leaning forward and going faster. Acceleration means keep going straight.
Show your dog that he needs to slow and stop going forward by standing straight up, and slowing down. Deceleration means a turn is coming up. Drills will help you both understand how to communicate which direction the dog will be jumping.
Pivot turn: First teach your dog to shadow you in a pivot circle. Then add the jump.
Keep your supportive hand up, while pivoting on your outside foot.
Front cross: First teach your dog that switching hands means switching direction. You do this by putting treats in both hands and pivoting while switching supportive hands. Treat with new supportive hand.
The real front cross:
Turn your shoulder into your dog, while bringing your away hand up and dropping your current supportive hand. Pivot on inside foot and treat with new dog side hand.
Practice first without the dog The dog should come toward your new supportive
(Switch hands, pivot) hand when he understands the front cross. Teach it by having a treat in both hands