Have you ever watched those small dogs in the agility competitions on TV? Have you watched as they jumped over obstacles, raced through tunnels, and zipped around curves? Have you ever thought that your dog would love to do that, or that he could complete the obstacles just as well? Perhaps your dog just has a lot of energy or is very intelligent and you would love to give him something fun to do. Perhaps you would like to build your dog's confidence or to bond with him.
Agility is a wonderful sport. Not only is it great exercise, but it is also a great way to stimulate your dog mentally, to build his confidence and trust, to meet other dog lovers, and to generally have fun. Whether you are wanting to compete with your dog or just to wear him out at home, there are a lot of fun tasks involved in agility. The open tunnel is a favorite among many dogs, and teaching your dog to do the open tunnel can be a lot of fun.
Whether you are wanting to teach the open tunnel for competition purposes or just for fun at home, there are a lot of benefits to training your dog how to do the open tunnel. Practicing the tunnel can be a great way to build your timid dog's confidence. It can be a great way to bond with your dog and give the two of you something fun to do together. It can even help to build your dog's trust and focus because your dog will have to take direction from you and watch for your signals. The tunnel is also a great way to exercise your dog and, when combined with other obstacles, can be a great way to mentally stimulate him too.
If your dog is unsure about new places and obstacles then go slow to help him to get comfortable with the tunnel. The enclosed space can be hard for some dogs to get used to, and if you choose to practice the tunnel with a curve in it later on, not being able to see the exit can be difficult for your dog the first few times. Keep things fun and positive and allow your dog time to build confidence and trust. He will likely be racing through it before you know it.
Because your dog is small, you might choose to purchase a shorter tunnel. If your tunnel is small and you are using the 'Following' method, you will need the help of a confident small dog that your dog gets along with well. It will also help things to go faster if the dog helping you knows how to go through the tunnel already.
To get started you will need a couple of things. You will need lots of small, tasty treats. Preferably treats that are very easy for your dog to eat while moving. Something very soft such as real meat or cheese or soft freeze dried treats should work well. You will need a positive, fun attitude, and patience. You will need a tunnel wide enough for your dog to fit through without him hitting his head. If you are using the 'Lengthening' method, you will need for your tunnel to be collapsible, so that it can become very short. If you are using the 'Following' method and your tunnel is not large enough for you to crawl through, or you do not wish to crawl through it, you will need another small dog to show your dog how it is done. This dog should be someone that your dog gets along with and preferably one that is already comfortable doing the tunnel.