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Let Go of Expectations

Shetland Sheepdog Agility Puppy Training
Because I brought Spark home when he was four months old (long after this picture was taken), I could resist the urge to compare his training progress to his siblings and my friends’ puppies.

It has been my experience that, in our zeal to make sure our new puppy does not have the same “issues” that our last dog had, we freeze up. We fear that we will make a mistake. We know it won’t be the same mistake we made last time – but we’re afraid of making different mistakes.

Train something. Train anything. Train a trick, just for the joy of it! Don’t get caught up in, “he must know this!” or, even worse, “so-and-so’s puppy already knew this by his age!”

My Epiphany

Getting Spark as a 4-month-old puppy was oddly liberating, because I never found myself comparing him to other puppies. I had an excuse of sorts – “well yeah, so-and-so’s puppy can do that, but she’s got a two month head-start on us! We’ll get there soon.”

“We’ll get there soon.”

And you will, too! So my puppy agility training tip is to stop the comparison game and enjoy the journey with your new teammate.

Puppy Agility Training Basics

If you’re really stuck, here are some basic but often overlooked skills that are necessary for success in any dog sport!

  • Play with your puppy using a variety of toys.
  • Offer your pup many different types of treats (gradually, over the course of several days – we don’t want any upset tummies!) and take note of what her favorites are.
  • Practice loose-leash walking around your house, yard, and neighborhood.
  • Teach “sit” and “down,” then practice them on five different surfaces – such as carpet, linoleum, tile, concrete, wet grass, sand, pebbles.
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