Posts tagged ‘agility questions’

Tips for Socializing your puppy for success!

We all want to give our puppy the best start in life when it comes to socializing them properly. Everyone seems to have their own idea of which ways are best in terms of socialization.

I find the key is always making sure that YOU have more value than anything in the environment while making sure a puppy feels safe and confidence. With my sheltie Dice, I took a rather unorthodox approach to socialization. Since she was so nervous of her environment (people, dogs, objects etc.)

I only exposed her to these things in situations where she was in control. For example, people would ask if they could hold her and I’d say, “no, but you can sit on the ground if you like and see if she chooses to come up to you.”

The reason I choose to raise her in this manner was she had very little resiliency at a young age to get over things that scared her. She is now very comfortable in her environment, so I feel I made good choices in this area when she was young. I didn’t want her to feel any form of fear when it came to things she was already nervous about.

Keep in mind that your dog doesn’t have to love people, or other dogs to be a great agility dog…they simply need to not react their environment. This is why I am always working on my dogs coming to me after they have met a person, another dog, or explored a new object. I want to promote confidence, but I also don’t want them to learn that life is a party and that I wasn’t invited!

The end goal for socialization is a well-balanced, confident, but responsive puppy that loves to play with you above everything else.

Happy socializing!

Jess Martin

October 14, 2013 at 10:06 am 2 comments

Solving Frustration Barking

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian blog followers!

Today’s question is one that we’ve all probably witnessed at some point while watching agility…even if it wasn’t with our own dog.

Frustration barking!

Have you ever seen a dog that gets confused on course and then comes flying back at the handler barking, spinning, and sometimes even jumping up and biting at the handler? Yikes! This is not something we want happening at all is it?

Over my years as an agility competitor and coach I have seen this problem countless times and even had to deal with in my own dogs from time to time.

In this video, I have suggested not only how to help get the dog back under control in these situations, but also how to help PREVENT this from happening in the first place.

Afterall, we can’t be perfect handlers all the time! Helping to teach your dog to deal with their frustration in a positive way can help relieve the stress of both the dog and the handler!

Don’t forget to submit your training questions at!

Happy Training!

Jess Martin

October 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm 2 comments

Start line question: getting your dog into position faster

Hi everyone! Today’s question is about how to get your dog into position at the start line without “arguing” with them. Have you ever experienced this? I sure have! Sometimes we feel like we are fighting the dog and we haven’t even started the run yet!

Let me ask you a question…do you feel like a team with your dog at that moment? Of course not!

In this video, I discuss some of the ways I’ve found to have my dogs WANT to move into position at the start. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel like a team right from the beginning?

Thank you to everyone for posting your questions at! Keep them coming and I’ll do my best to answer them all!

Happy Training,

Jess Martin

October 11, 2013 at 7:46 pm 2 comments

Transitioning between running and stopped contacts

Today’s training question inquires about how to transition between stopped and running contacts. I’ve gone both directions with this…transitioning my duck toller from a 2 on 2 off contact to a beautiful running contact and my border collie from a running dogwalk to a 2 on 2 off contact.

Here are a few ideas for making these transitions as smooth as possible.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s video where I’ll share some tips for creating an effective start line routine!

Happy Training,

Jess Martin

October 11, 2013 at 2:58 am 1 comment

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