I recently got myself a very nice gift, a sheltie puppy from Sweden. He’s definitely a character and he soon became the creative director of AgiNotes. He’s creative and he’s productive. However, he lacks some education, as regarding his hoped for career as an agility dog. So, I started looking for puppy courses that are safe for a young puppy (I want to keep him healthy), and fun (I want to build a strong team out of the two of us).
I found a lot of courses! They are scattered in different places so I collected them here in one place. I also asked Dan Shaw and Dave Munnings to tell us all what the most important things when training with a puppy are. So, here we go!
Dan Shaw and Dave Munnings’ five passions regarding young dogs in sport:
1. RESPECT THE BODY:
A sound and strong body has to be our top priority with our performance dogs. Smooth and powerful movements as well as career longevity are only possible if the dog’s body is well looked after. We are passionate about not teaching things too young and allowing the dog’s body time to grow. Core training, proprioception work and correct exercise are vital components to the success of agility dogs. And perhaps our strongest passion on this topic is planning quality training sessions to reduce the quantity of training.
2. ENJOY THE GAME:
Puppies have one thing on their mind ... fun! When puppy training is presented as a game rather than a ‘serious job’, the results can be amazing! We want our puppies to think we are a great source of fun; we can provide them with treats, toys, love and silliness (Boffin certainly loves my moments of weirdness!). It is in these early stages that fun can be used to help create a pushy dog that will have the confidence to attack a course and bounce back from failure. We love the mantra ‘just play, have fun, enjoy the game’
3. BUILD RELATIONSHIP:
It’s so exciting to experience the relationship growth with a puppy. As you get to know the individual character and personality of your puppy and he your’s, you truly get to know your dog, the way they work and what makes them tick. It is true, that no two dogs are the same and it is probably this that keeps us all so addicted to dog training. When we focus on what makes the puppy in front of us special, brilliant and amazing, we in turn open every door that can lead to this puppy’s future success.
4. PAY ATTENTION TO REWARD STRUCTURE:
The best bosses look after their employees, they reinforce them well with pay, bonuses and other reinforcers suitable to the job. Great trainers do the same with their dogs. How, where and when to reward, when to jackpot, when to ask for more! There are so many amazing books that can provide us with the theory of learning but puppy diaries provides a practical and visual learning tool to see how these come to play in agility in foundation tasks.
5. REMEMBER THE LIFE SKILLS:
A great pet dog who can live as a family member is one of the first aims we have for our puppies. In both our pet life skills classes and agility foundations groups we ask our students to practice their puppy’s behaviours in the three p’s: pet shop, pub and the park. A dog who can behave and ‘perform’ in such environments is set up not only for a brilliant pet life but lays a brilliant foundation for agility performances at a later date. We obsess with recall, collar grabs, retrieve and nose touches; these critical ‘life skills’ are the relationship builders that help keep us an important part of our dog’s world.
Teaching the dog to relax is also a top priority. Our home is a ‘calm place’ and the down time offers the dogs a chance to rest, which helps them with recovery, concentration, arousal recovery and stability .... our sports dogs do not need to be hyped up at all times.
Online courses and diaries for puppies from 8 weeks old
Puppy Diaries by Dan Shaw and Dave Munnings (Q-me agility) https://www.qme-agility.com/shop.php
Dan and Dave are both part of Agility Team UK and Dave won bronze in individuals 2018 with his border collie Fame. Their Puppy diaries introduce step by step what they have done with their puppies Boffin and Commotion from 8 weeks to 14 months. There are over 500 videos about relationship building, play, recall games, socialisation, proprioception, motivation, self control, wing wraps, jump skills, tunnel games, see saw foundation, running dog walk foundation and many other topics. In addition to videos, they offer live chats to answer questions about videos or participants’ own puppies.
Price 185 UK pounds (about 215 €)
Silvia Trkman: puppy diaries and puppy class
Silvia Trkman is part of Agility Team Slovenia and she’s famous for her running contact online courses.
She has a DVD “Puppy diaries” In the video she explains how she chooses her puppies, their breeders, and she shows what she has done with her puppy from the start to 5 months and how to build a good start for an agility dog.
Silvia’s Puppy course consists of six lessons every two weeks. She concentrates on developing a pup’s physical and mental factors and the ability to learn.
Price 160€ (auditor 110€)
Follow Nemi Fun Class by Martina Magnoli Klimesova
Martina Magnoli Klimesova is part of Agility Team Czech Republic and the current World Champion in medium class. She’s a dog trainer who has done miracles by putting a lot of emphasis on the relationship with her dogs and building them up to become the best versions of themselves.
In her Follow Nemi, she shows what they’ve done with Nemi during her first year. The course includes a lot of tricks, “special games”, stride regulators, directional verbal cues, a fitness program and running contacts basics. The participants may ask any questions and can post their own videos. Auditors may ask but cannot post their own videos. To participate, contact Martina directly.
Price 280€ (auditor 200€)
Nadine Alshut: Pashion’s puppy & young dog 1x1 (Peak Performer, in English and in German)
Nadine was a part of Team Germany 400 in WAO 2018 with her sheltie Chaim, and she is an excellent dog trainer. In her puppy diaries she shows how she has prepared Pashion to agility and to life in general. The entity covers their training from 8 weeks to 8 months.
Shape Up Pup by Justine Davenport
Justine is part of Agility Team Canada with her border collie Summit. On her online course Justine shows how she has raised her puppy from 8 weeks to 6 months old. The entity includes exercises for both sports dog foundations and for a family pet.
Price 420$ (about 370€), auditors 210$ (about 185€)
Basics for puppies by Claudia Zenner (Sportstaff, in German)
Claudia Zenner has been part of Agility Team Germany several times. In her “Basics for puppies”, she goes through the three main basic elements of dog sports: coordination, motivation and courage. She aims at building a self-confident and curious dog, who can handle new situations perfectly and shows mental strength; who can coordinate their body and knows how to learn. The course is designed for puppies from 8 weeks to 8 months.
Price 160€, auditors 80€
Puppy Hu’s online videos by One Mind Dogs
Mari Kaplas who, among other things, has been part of WAO Team Finland 2018 and who is a very good dog trainer, shows what she has done with her Australian kelpie Hu from 11 weeks to 8,5 months. One Mind Dogs
29,90€-39,90€ per month
Basic skills by Harri Katainen (Ilomme)
Harri has been part of Agility Team Finland with his border collie Herr Günther. In the basic skills modules, he shows e.g. how to build learning skills, ability for self control and how to calm down.
Free’s puppy journey by Ashleigh Serrem
This is a free puppy journey, in which Ashleigh Serrem shows what she has done with her puppy Free from 9 weeks to 6 months.
Price 0€ (an ebook with links to YouTube videos 10€)
Puppy course by Imke Niewöhner (in German)
Imke Niewöhner is a vet for chiropractic and physiotherapy for dogs and she has done agility and other dog sports for 20 years. Her puppy course is designed for puppies from 8 weeks to 11 months, and it is divided in different age sequences with different tasks:
-Relaxing and observing things
- Active socialisation
- Playing- how and how not to
- Knowing one’s puppy and what special needs it might have for training?
- Building healthy muscles without joint pressure
- Body awareness
- Basic groundwork
- Building more muscles and learning how to collect
- Cavaletti work
- Balance work
- Proprioceptive and isometric training
- "Stay calm on your blanket" training
- Foundations for starting ritual
Price 35-40 € per month
Record your training sessions from the beginning
Remember to record your training sessions right from the beginning in your AgiNotes! How cool it is to have all training sessions in good order in one place, and how cool it is to watch later on how much you have achieved during the first 6-12 months! Read more and try for free.
Later this spring we’ll publish a list of foundation courses for puppies over 8 months :)