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This Dog Has a Work Ethic? You Bet
Scorn the use of the term "work ethic" if you like or instead adopt the more pretentious but scientifically correct "learned industriousness." But recognize that reinforced behavior persists. The types of challenges mastered and the pattern of rewards doled out can produce dogs with varying degrees of zeal. Continuous reinforcement for passable performance can lead to a reliable dog that methodically racks up the Q ribbons. But intermittent rewards, doable challenges, and differential reinforcement of extra effort and excellence can produce a tireless, prodigious, and fanatical dog: a dog with an inspiring work ethic.

Removing the dog during a run is a form of "time-out." When implemented properly, time-out is a negative punishment procedure because the dog learns that when he emits the specific behavior, he is prevented from the opportunity to earn further rewards for a specified period of time. What should you contemplate before using time-outs in your agility training?

Shape for Demand
When shaping for demand, don’t just gradually up the ante on complex tasks. Each element of difficulty deserves separate attention. Regulation obstacles bring too many challenging variables into play at once. So, you need to start with downscaled and simplified toys that will allow the dog to develop. Let him enjoy and explore the skill you want. You want the dog to own that piece of equipment, to play “101 things to do” with whatever contraption you’ve devised to isolate that particular skill.

Teetering on the Edge
The teeter can be a nemesis for many dogs. There are many different training techniques for trying to treat teeter phobia, but these can often make the situation worse rather than better. Learn how you can make the teeter reinforcing for your dog that's having a problem.

He's Not a Natural... So What! Training the Unusual Dog
When I think of an unusual breed as it pertains to the sport of dog agility, I think of any breed that is not “predominant” by sheer numbers. I also think of one that is not necessarily built for speed or turning ability or that may not have a genetic predisposition to work with humans. Each breed is designed for a purpose, whether it be herding, guarding, hunting, or being a companion. They will have temperamental tendencies, but with some guidance, a trainer can turn on the agility star inside.

Motivation Dos and Don’ts
The concept of playing with toys and frequently rewarding behaviors to increase drive and motivation is not new to agility handlers. Still, the practical application of this concept is often not so easy when attempting to increase motivation. To address the problem let’s consider three major topics: handler interaction, reinforcement, and handler habits.