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From the Ground Up: Agility Foundation Training for Puppies and Beginner Dogs - Part 6

The sixth and final part of a multi-part series featuring a chapter from the book, "From the Ground Up: Agility Foundation Training for Puppies and Beginner Dogs."


Footwork for a Wrap 

1. Start with the dog on your left side in a sit, facing the same way you are. 

2. Place the toy beside and slightly behind your right side. 

3. Using the foot furthest from the dog this time - in this case your right foot - make a "T" with your right foot behind your left foot. This will bring your shoulder around and cause the dog to come around too. This step will become the dog's cue to wrap. 

4. When the dog completes the turn, step forward towards the toy and say, "Get it." The dog should finish on your left side. 

Up to now, we have done absolutely no equipment training. The previous exercises can take anywhere from six months to a year to train and perform well. If you start your puppy at 16 weeks on these skills, you will be ready to start some pre-obstacle training right around 10 months to one year old, at which point you should get an X-ray of the puppy's shoulders, elbows and hips to ensure that all growth plates are closed. 

Even an adult dog should have an X-ray of the hips, shoulders and elbows before he is ready to continue with training. Also, take a close look at the weight and physical condition of your dog to determine if agility should be in the dog's future. If physical issues limit your dog's future in agility, the flatwork skills you've taught him will lend themselves well to rally obedience or freestyle, sports which may be less strenuous on the dog's body. 

If you have followed the progressions in previous chapters, by now your dog should be able to do the following behaviors that, in my opinion, should be performed proficiently before a dog is on any equipment. 

  • Sit-stay 
  • Down-stay 
  • Wait in the crate 
  • Front 
  • Back up 
  • Side/close 
  • Swing/around 
  • Hand target 
  • Drive in for a tug toy 
  • Retrieve a toy back to you 
  • 10 (plexiglass or lid) target touches in 12 to 15 seconds 
  • Wiffle-ball target from 15 feet away 
  • Go! 
  • Footwork for front cross 
  • Footwork for rear cross 
  • Footwork for wrap 

If you missed the previous parts of this series, you can find them here:

This chapter is reprinted with kind permission of Dogwise Publications. Dogwise has provided a discount code for USDAA! Use code USDAA for 10% of this book and others.

Kim Collins has lived with dogs all her life and has been training dogs professionally since 1992. After starting with competitive obedience, Kim quickly discovered the growing sport of agility in 1995. Kim went on to win the 2000 USDAA National Agility Championship with her Shetland Sheepdog, Piper, and three Canadian National Agility Championships, two with Piper and one with her Border Collie, Feyd. Kim has also won seven Regional Agility Championships with three different dogs. Kim and her two Border Collies, Bryn and Feyd, were members of the Agility Association of Canadas 2004 IFCS Canadian World Team and traveled to Valencia, Spain to compete.

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