Training Your Dog to Become a Show Winner

dog show winnerHave you been inspired to introduce your dog to the show circuit after watching Crufts? Training will be key to your potential success. Here’s what you need to know about training your pet to become a show dog.

Agility Training

Jumping comes very naturally to dogs and many will find agility events to be a fun activity. Avoiding jumping with dogs that are less than one year old. Large and giant dog breeds should be aged at least eighteen months before they learn to jump.

Introduce your dog to the idea of jumping by encouraging them to leap over your legs. Dog treats will be useful in this. Throw the treat to the side of you so that your dog has to jump over your legs to get to it. Once this has been mastered, you can progress onto using props, such as a broomstick. Eventually, you can move onto using agility poles.

Before you look to compete in agility shows, your dog will need to be fully socialised and extremely well trained. Regular practice will be absolutely essential for success. Your dog will need to be accurately measured to decide whether they fit into the small, medium or large grades. There are 7 grades that your dog can move through, and agility classes will need to be won to move on from grade 5.

Obedience Training

Good Citizen Dog Scheme classes are a good place to start with obedience training. From there, you can move onto more advanced obedience classes. Lots of obedience shows are held in the UK in the average year, with 3 of the most prestigious taking place at Cruftseach year.

Pre-Beginners and Beginners obedience shows are ideal starting points. Other options include Companion Dog Show and Limited Obedience Show events, and the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Special Pre-Beginner Obedience Strokes class.

Heelwork to Music Training 

Heelwork to Music involves performing a routine of up to 4 minutes with your dog.

Obedience training forms a large part of this activity, especially as it will be done off-lead. The activity also tests programme content, accuracy and execution, and musical interpretation.

Basic Heelwork to Music involves a key focus on heelwork positioning while the Freestyle version dictates that only one-third of the routine should include this. The pinnacle of Heelwork to Music is the Best in Show event at Crufts.

Your dog should have mastered basic sit and down commands before you look to start Heelwork to Music training.  Lots of patience will be required here but with perseverance, moves such as spinning, leg weaves and paw lifts can be achieved.

Again, treats will prove useful in encouraging your dog to master tricks.

[Photo Credits: mikebaird]

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