Finding new ways for your dog to spend excess energy is always a challenge. Whether you decide to go the route of longer walks, finding a job for your energetic pooch, or trying out a doggy sport, each one requires a bit of effort in order to get the most out of the activity. While these activities may seem higher energy and better suited for larger breeds, even small breeds may get just as much enjoyment out of them, provided they are tailored for a dog of smaller stature.
While small breeds may not be able to train as intensely as their larger counterparts, don’t count on them being idle or lazy. Small dogs like terriers, spaniels, or miniature poodles can excel at agility, especially, using their speed and size to their advantage to weave in and out of poles, rocket through tunnels, and leap over some shorter hurdles. But even smaller dogs need proper training, especially when it comes to the daunting obstacle that is the large, imposing seesaw or teeter-totter.
Unlike the changeable hurdles that can be adjusted to fit your small dog’s stature, the seesaw is generally one standard size that must be mastered by dogs of all sizes. The tipping of the plank and the loud bang it makes when it strikes the ground may both prove to be tricky when training, though they can be overcome with enough persistence.
Smaller dogs should only begin agility training once they are entirely done growing. Too much excess physical activity can wear down on joints and other growing areas. Agility is also not appropriate for some senior small dogs as it can cause injury. Having your dog’s health assessed is important, but once he receives a clean bill of health and approval from the vet, be ready to set aside at least three to four weeks to become familiar with the seesaw portion of agility training.
Before starting with seesaw training, you’ll need to invest in a safe seesaw with which to practice on. Some agility clubs may offer the use of their equipment, or you can choose to build one yourself if you have the know-how. Ensure that any equipment you use is safe and sturdy to prevent any injury or accident.
Once you’ve secured the equipment, then gather up some of your sporty pup’s favorite treats in order to reinforce positive training techniques. Depending on which route you go down, you may also want to get a leash ready for use. When you’ve got all that ready to go, then you can begin your training!