Training a dog to overcome obstacles
We will overcome everything on our way!
When training a dog, considerable attention should be paid to the ability to overcome obstacles. After all, teaching this dog, you will not only provide it with the necessary level of physical activity, but also provide benefits in the future. Because if once the dog meets a rather big obstacle on the way, which can be “taken” only by jumping, or it will have to meet a fallen tree on a narrow forest path, on which it will have to go, it will not stop in confusion or fright. After all, she had already encountered similar actions on the training ground, i.e., in “peaceful” conditions.
Obstacles can be natural or created artificially. They can be found or made everywhere: in normal everyday conditions or on the training ground. This can be an ordinary border or a low fence of the front garden, or it can be a tall two-meter fence. In any case, the need to train the dog in overcoming obstacles is obvious, another thing is for what purpose: whether to participate in upcoming competitions or learn some of the necessary skills as part of the service training. Or maybe the goal is just household preparation…
The most optimal age to start training is one and a half years. Of course, it is not recommended to act forcibly, but this is also possible if necessary. The puppy must understand that if the obstacle is successfully overcome, it will be rewarded with something tasty, interesting, or just approval. That is, first there is a command, then-praise from the owner. When setting an obstacle, keep in mind that it should not be higher than the level of the puppy’s chest when it is standing.
At the beginning of such activities, the animal may try to “trick”, trying to reach the goal, crawling under the obstacle from below. Therefore, you need to arrange solid barriers.
Try not to overdo it. First, do not abuse classes to overcome height, because the emerging spine of a puppy of this age is not yet strong enough, and the joints may suffer or the skeleton may not be formed correctly. In addition, you need to strive to ensure that the puppy training does not cause negative emotions, unpleasant memories, and, consequently, – unwillingness to engage in the future. And this can happen if you force the dog to train in any, even rainy, dank weather, or force it to overcome obstacles covered with ice. The latter can also injure the animal physically.
It is more difficult to go to the barrier – a higher one is possible when the puppy remembers the command ” To the barrier!”and he responds to it with pleasure when it gives him pleasure to jump over an obstacle to get a toy. Complicating the task with a barrier, you can start training with other types of obstacles: a boom, a trench, a ladder. At the same time, it is allowed to start using coercion, and not just the method of praise. You can influence the dog physically: pull the leash, drag it to an obstacle; and you can also use the word: that is, to accustom to other unquestioning commands (for example, the command ” To me!”). you need to make sure that the dog can not go around the obstacle from the side.
Overcoming obstacles is easier for dogs of certain breeds, those that differ in activity, choleric temperament, as a rule, are lean and light. Therefore, if the dog does not meet these parameters in accordance with the breed data, you should not be upset that everything is not so smooth during training.
If the dog is trained from the puppy age, then in a more adult age it is easy to suggest that there are no obstacles that could not be overcome, and teach it to take the real peaks within a few hours of training. Before jumping over an obstacle about two meters high, the dog should run well. The role of the owner at this time is to hold her hand by the collar and direct it directly at the obstacle. When the dog touches the barrier with its front paws, you will have to guide it up with your hand, and when the dog leans its paws on the edge of the obstacle, you will need to push the animal from below. At this time, you need to make sure that the dog does not jump to the side.
If there are problems, and the animal is stubborn, then you will have to involve someone else in training. Taking a long leash, throw a loop around the dog’s neck, and if the dog wants to jump off to the side during the jump, the assistant will have to pull it forward on the obstacle so that it does not spoil the jump.
It is not necessary to use methods that negatively affect the animal’s psyche, developing a stable fear of overcoming barriers in it. You do not need to drag the dog to an obstacle by force, imitating “hanging”, and also use an electroshock collar during training, which in this situation can force the dog not to overcome the obstacle at all, but to rush from side to side in horror, which will only have a detrimental effect on the pet’s condition, but will not help in any way in training.
Overcoming the boom
At the first training sessions in overcoming the boom, it is advisable to hold the dog from below under the stomach. For this purpose, sometimes a leash is used, threaded under the animal’s belly, which will not allow the dog to jump off the barrier ahead of time. After all, if once it succeeds, it may decide that at any time you can just leave the obstacle. An untimely jump is also a danger of injury.
Therefore, when the dog is on the boom – you need to encourage it with words, not allowing it to jump off, including with the help of special commands, quite decisive. At the same time, you need to understand that the dog can be very much afraid at this moment, and not make the situation worse. It is necessary to praise or treat the dog for the correct behavior, while at the same time strictly holding the dog during training and directing it along the desired trajectory.
It is very dangerous and unacceptable to work with a dog on an icy or snow-covered boom. This applies even to dogs with a lot of experience.
To train to work with this obstacle, you should start in your own entrance or house. And when the dog learns to overcome the familiar flights of stairs without problems , you can start mastering the stairs on the training ground.
You can not drag the dog on the stairs on a leash – this is traumatic. It is much more correct if the owner first goes up the stairs himself, and then calls for a pet, perhaps attracting him with a treat or toy-depending on the dog’s preferences. And only if the dog does not respond to the methods of encouragement, you can gently pull it by the collar several times.
If the dog can be picked up, it will be more effective to bring it first to the stairs, and then do not hold it – let it escape from there. If you repeat this action several times, the dog will not be so afraid to accept the need to climb the stairs on its own. In such training, patience is especially important. You need to remember that sooner or later the dog will still be able to climb the stairs on its own.
And don’t forget to reward your pet for every step that is a small victory! Initially, the dog learns to overcome the stairs with the person, after that-it is accustomed to commands that require independent action. If the animal refuses to perform a command known to it, you can use the reverse method – punishment.
Handrails at the stairs for training – only on one side. On the other hand, a person with a leash can move to make small jerks when the dog stops moving. When the dog has to go down the stairs, you can not pull the leash on yourself – but only in the direction where the movement of the animal is directed.
The overcoming of the trench
When training a dog to overcome a trench, as with all other obstacles, start small. First, practice not a small and narrow groove, using the encouragement of a game or treat. If this does not work, you will need a personal example. After jumping on your own, call the dog after you. And only if the pet is definitely afraid to repeat this action, try to make a few light jerks with the leash. If you drag the dog hard – it will be even more afraid of the trench and will rest, not wanting to jump. And if the motionless front paws slip off the edge of the ditch at this point, the dog may fall and get injured. So you need to start carefully and without cruelty