Guide 5: Agility start line wait
Guide 5: How to use Place Boards to improve your agility start line wait
What is an agility start line wait?
In agility, you want a dog to sit at the start line and remain sitting until given their release cue.
What is the idea behind using a Place Board?
In our foundation training, we encourage the dog onto the Place Board and into a sit and remain sitting until they hear they hear us say “OK” as a release cue. We build positive associations being on the board by rewarding them for their behaviour.
Because they feel positive about being on the board, the practice makes it more likely for the dog to sit and stay on the platform than move.
More info, such as “How would I phase out the place board from dog training?” can be found in this guide: https://angliandogworks.com/blogs/place-board-training/your-place-board-questions-answered
Why do you need to have a dog with a reliable sit-stay?
- Having a dog wait steadily as you get further up the course allows you to get in a position to better handle the next obstacle
- In addition, because most dogs are faster than their humans, having them wait at a distance gives a valuable head start.
How do you train sit-stay as you walk away down a line of jumps using Place Boards?
- Have two or more jumps in a row, spaced 5-10 meters apart
- Have a place board 5 paces away at the "start line".
- Count out three food rewards
- Encourage the dog onto their Place Board and cue sit.
- Walk to jump 1.
- Return and reward to the dogs’ mouth for steadiness.
- Repeat steps 2 + 3 one more time.
- Walk back to the landing side of jump 1 and give your dog their release cue to run down the line of jumps.
- Reward at the end
TOP TIP: The last behaviour the dog did before earning the reward becomes the most reinforcing one (the reward is both the fun of jumping and the food the handler provides). Practising returning to the dog to reward them in a sit, strengthens their steadiness behaviour. Whereas a dog that gets used to always being released for a run may start creeping forwards in anticipation.
Goal to achieve: Practice until your dog remains sitting as you take 5 steps away, the other side of a jump.
Want a challenge?
You can make the exercise harder by…
- Turning your back on your dog as you walk away, rather than backing away facing them which gives a strong connection.
- Jog or run away from your dog sitting at the start line rather than walking, to increase the distraction level.
If you found this blog post interesting, you might like to look at our bronze class where Place Boards feature to train start line steadiness.
Please share your questions and progress:
We would love to see how you get on with your dog’s introduction to place boards. For tips from our trainer and to share success post your pictures and videos in the Anglian Dog Works Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/angliandogworks
Disclaimer: The content of this article does not include personalised advice and is for information purposes only. If you need individual advice or other enquiries please click here to get in contact or if you're not local to Anglian Dog Works, you can find a trainer in your area by going to the IMDT website: https://www.imdt.uk.com/find-a-qualified-imdt-trainer