The more I see puppies that have been thoughtfully introduced to games that build up their co-ordination and balance, the more I am convinced of the massive value in making that investment. Take for example Karens 9 week old sheltie puppy, Yazoo. She has been boldy jumping onto little wobble boards etc. I am amazed at how co-ordinated and bold she is for such a young puppy. That is a huge advantage to a prospective agility dog. When Karen and Bernadette asked when the next co-ordination and balance workshop was (when the puppies are older - not the one tomorrow!!), I stopped to think about what their puppies would gain from it, bearing in mind they will already be doing plenty with their puppies. I realised that the beauty of the workshop is that there are many different types of exercises, all of which are safe for puppies; everything is done in a slow controlled way and there is no impact, stress or twisting. The amount you can do is controlled by attention span - and often the handler gets bored of it quicker than the dog does! The puppies might already have started doing many of the things that will be done on the course, but the new environment will offer many new challenges; different smells, sounds, the equipment will look and feel different, and of course there will be other dogs around (safely concentrating on their handlers). Everything is done for reward, lots of fun! So it offers a very positive experience, building up the working relationship with the puppy despite lots of distraction. All while improving proprioreception ('position sense'), correct movement, and especially engagment of the hind legs, which are the main source of power for accelerating, braking and turning (even though some dogs do not learn to use them to their full potential without a little help in learning how)! Of course, the workshop is not just for puppies, any dog needing that kind of help can benefit, and I have seen some dogs on the course completely change the way they move during the workshop, which has been amazing and very fulfilling for me. So I'm really looking forward to the workshop tomorrow- I just hope everyone can travel safely throught the snow!!
Picking myself up
3 weeks ago