Never forget the importance of foundations

This morning I went to a young dog / puppies flatwork agility session with Jen Lewis. I was a little apprehensive as I haven’t taken Zebby to a class for a few months so I wasn’t sure how he was going to cope, but I’d emailed ahead to ask how the class would be set up and find out how many dogs would be working together.

I’ve recently bought a soft crate for Zebby to have at classes as his safe zone in between turns. This was the first time we had taken it on the road, and in hindsight I would have done more with it at home first, but he still took to it well and was more relaxed while in his soft crate than if he had been just milling on lead around the other dogs.

The workshop was brilliant, working on those all important foundation skills. Jen is a big fan of doing agility training without equipment, working on flatwork skills that then transfer to sequencing.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt through dog training is how important foundations are. If you teach your dog basic concepts such as problem solving, self control and frustration tolerance then those skills can be used in a wide variety of situations, for example, when you drop some food on the floor, a dog with self control and frustration tolerance is more likely to hold back rather than diving in to steal it.

Foundations can also come in much simpler forms, such as teaching your dog a front foot and rear foot target then putting this in to place on a dog walk or a-frame. Equally teaching your dog to run around a cone can easily transfer to a tight, independent wing wrap.

Working through some simple, fun foundations with Zebby today really gave me a boost to work more on our agility skills, after all there’s so much you can do without any equipment.

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