Jump (Weave, Teeter & Tunnel) for Joy!

Agility Tips for the Nervous Newbie

So, you’ve decided to get off the sofa and into agility training with you dog this fall? Excellent!

In the beginning, you might be intimidated by the course. All those obstacles, all those commands—yikes! But when you break it down step by step, and apply consistent commonsense training, you’ll be surprised how naturally a dog takes to agility. Let’s get started with some tips for a few of the obstacles encountered on a typical novice course.

Tire Jump

Start with a low tire, gradually raising the height; use a barrier to block the space between the tire and frame, so your dog has no choice but to jump through the tire.

Weave Poles

Begin training with offset or tilted poles in short, frequent sessions; a dog should drive forward, not meander in loose S-shaped patterns.

Bar Jump

Start with low jumps; with a puppy, set bar at elbow height; increase height only when your pup is physically mature—don’t rush it!


Have your dog stop just after reaching the pivot point and lower the plank gently; later, allow your dog to control the plank without waiting.

Open Tunnel

Start with a short, straight tunnel; gradually add length and bend; coax reluctant a dog through tunnel from inside the far end.

Broad Jump

Begin with closely spaced boards, increasing the width—and distance of jump—gradually; if your dog insists on walking over the boards, turn them on their side until he gets the idea.

Find a dog trainer near your location and take the Canine Good Citizen test for your dog.