Archive for dog agility

Molniya Tries The Agility

Posted in dog training, pets with tags , , , on May 15, 2013 by rattlerjen

Our little puppy is growing so fast!

She did an amazing job on the agility today.

Are there treats in that hand?



Arrr!  I walk the plank for those tasty morsels.


walk the plank


Treats?  I don’t need silly treats!  Even this swinging plank is cake!


swinging plank


I think I might need a bit of help with this one

pipe bridge


Climb the stairs?

open stairs


Almost there.

almost there


I did it!

i did it


Down under we go!

short stuff


You want me to go in there?

tunnel 1


For a frisbee?  SURE!



Woo hoo! Let’s do more!


Fun and Useful Tricks To Teach Your Search Dog

Posted in pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , on May 31, 2012 by rattlerjen

Here are a few new skills you can practice teaching your dog that you will find very useful out in the field.

Lifting up over a fence

Those fences are found in the middle of nowhere. Topped with horrible rusty barbed wire that must be just crawling with tetanus. Leave the worry out of how to get your dog safely over it. Teach your dog to tolerate being picked up and passed to another person. I have seen this used on several occasions on encountering nasty obstacles. All you need is a pocket full of treats to make it fun and a friend who wants to work on his biceps.


Sometimes it is just easier to go under a fence. Teach your dog to crawl under a broomstick you progressively lower each time he successfully ducks under. First try luring him with a treat, then wait until the dog does it by himself before giving the treat. No treats for jumping over, just raise the bar and try again. Yeah, I made a funny.

Jumping up on top of an object

Very useful if you need your dog to get up on top of something. I love using this trick when I need to pick ticks or prickly seeds of my dog without having to bend down. I just ask him to hop up on a nice stump or boulder.

Being carried by you

Search dogs can get hurt. Don’t find out your dog cannot stand being carried when you need to get him back to base.

Wearing a Muzzle

Even the sweetest dog will turn into Cujo if he is hurt and scared.  Get him used to a cage muzzle by wrapping foil around it and pour some nice broth in the end and freeze.  Remove the foil and hold the muzzle out while your dog tries out his new muzzle popsicle.  Move on to smearing peanut butter on the end and practice putting the muzzle on and adjusting while he happily eats his treat.

Ride a litter

Don’t just think about evacuating your dog on your shoulders, put your team and equipment to work and get him used to riding in a litter. Twelve hands are better than one!

Learning to Ignore BOOM!

Do you live out in the nice quiet country? Get him used to the loud noises that may occur during a search. Simply fill your pockets with the tastiest treats you can find (I like hotdogs diced to the size of peas) and go on a field trip. Go to a fire station, construction site, or near train tracks and with leash tightly in one hand, feed your dog tiny treats one at a time when sirens wail, trucks roar, or trains blast by. If your dog is too scared, start out far away and move in a bit closer on each field trip. Always make sure to end on a good happy note!

Where is your toy?

Practice a bit of search and rescue in the house from the comfort of your sofa. Teach your dog not only to find people, but to find his toys hidden around the house. Start easy and let him watch you hide his toy at first. Move on to more advanced stages by hiding the toy up high or in cabinets and other inaccessible places. This will teach your dog to look high and low for the source and to work out complex scent pictures.

Finding your Keys

Tie some fabric or leather to your keys for easy doggie retrieval and teach your dog to look for your keys. Now that is useful!


Zig and Zag around obstacles can be a great way to prevent your dog from going around one tree and you the other when on a leash.

Leave it

Yummie! Dead Skunk! Teach your dog to leave things alone that he should well, leave alone.


If your dog is a spaz like mine, he dashes around at full speed through brambles and quicksand alike. Teach your dog to navigate treacherous terrain by using the slow command.

Walk it

Much like the slow command, teach your dog to carefully walk up, on, and down obstacles slowly rather than leaping. I love using this trick when there is a nice thick downed tree providing a path across water.


Wouldn’t it be nice if your good dog stays in his crate after the door comes open, or patiently sits at the door before going outside? Here is a great trick that will keep both of you safe.


Danger ahead! Teach your dog to hit the brakes when you tell him to stop. My dog screeches to a halt and hits the deck when I yell Platz!

Show me your belly

Roll over halfway there buddy, I wanna see some tummy! I love using this trick to check my pup’s paws and legs for cuts. If it is really hot outside, pouring water on a pups inner thighs will give him a good cool down. It is also popular for tummy rubs.


We are told to drink before we are thirsty. It’s a useful thing to teach your dog to drink when you ask him too. I will set an alarm and make sure to water my dog at timed intervals. That way he can stay nice and hydrated no matter what.


What better way to make friends than to teach your dog to meet new friends politely. A good ol shake of the paw will do the trick.


Have a dog nervous person around? Warm their hearts with an adorable wave.

Go to your place

What if you get stuck somewhere waiting around with no crate in sight? Teach your dog to lay next to or on top of an object like your camp towel anytime you tell him to go to his place. A nice down stay after that does the trick.

Paws up on back of truck

I learned this little gem from a border collie running team-mate. In order for her dog to get his search vest on, he had to put his paws up on the back bumper of the car and keep them there so she could easily put on and adjust his harness. No bending over, I am a fan!

Bobbing for toys or treats

You never know what clues might have been dropped in the water. Teach your dog to snorkel for goodies by dropping sinking toys or frozen broth ice cubes in a kiddie pool.

What cute tricks have you taught your dog that has turned out to be useful in the field? We want to hear from you!

Bouncing, Wobbling, and Sliding!

Posted in dog training, life with a working dog, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , on September 20, 2011 by rattlerjen

A little bit of agility fun at the playground

On our little trip to New Mexico, we ran across a very nice playground to practice a bit of agility on.  This little park had everything a search dog needs.

It had a suspension bridge, a wobbly set of disks, slides, ladders, and tunnels!

Watch the little fuzzball run through a few of the obstacles in this short video.

Rocky Rocks the Agility

Posted in dog training, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , on August 9, 2011 by rattlerjen

Let’s show them how it’s done!

Wait for it.


And out for the toy.

agility dog tunnel

Up the steep A-Frame

dog up a frame

I’m On top of the world!

dog agility top of a frame

Time to go down.

Mom says I have to slow down.

Search and Rescue dogs are careful.

 This is no race.

Look how good I am doing, Mom!

Balancing on the teeter-totter

dog teeter totter

Whoa!  This thing is moving.

agility teeter totter


agility border collie teeter totter

No problem.

How about that toy for rockin the course?

Oh Yeah!

teeter totter end

Dog planks the high ground

Posted in dog, dog training, life with a working dog, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , on August 3, 2011 by rattlerjen

Wow! Look how high up that dog is.

 That is one brave border collie up there.

You want me to go up there?

If you insist.

How about I do it for treats?

Not looking down.

What do you mean slow down?

That wasn’t so hard.

 Now let me grab this one last treat.

Look mom, I can do this all by myself!

No treats needed this time.

Woo Hoo! Check out this view.

Obedience and Agility Test

Posted in dog training, life with a working dog, pets, Rescue Training, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , , , on June 21, 2011 by rattlerjen

Last Saturday Grom the search and rescue dog completed his Agility and Obedience Test at the Urban Disaster Dog Search and Rescue training facility in Maryland known as Search Assist.  This is where they train those awesome disaster dogs you see on TV.

This is the very first time he has been on a big boy teeter totter.  This thing was huge!

It appears it did not phase the boy much.  All of that climbing and trouble making around the house finally paid off!

One of the more difficult elements in the Obedience is the emergency down or platz. Grom must hit the deck when we tell him, a very useful command to learn, especially if he is about ready to cross a road with a car coming or some other danger.  I was strolling along waiting for the dog to wander far enough away from me.  Grom was quite impressed with all of the fun training rubble piles and buses he saw.


And Yes, he passed both tests.

Tire Success

Posted in Dog diary, dog training, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , , on August 23, 2010 by rattlerjen

Wilderness dogs are able to cross ravines on fallen trees with the grace of a ballerina.  Disaster dogs tiptoe along metal beams and concrete suspended above danger without concern.

They did not know they had back legs…

They had to be taught.

The tire ladder is daunting.

It is there to teach dogs that in fact, they have back legs.  Those feet in the back simply follow the front feet.  A search dog must learn otherwise.

The tire ladder is scary.

Most dogs decide to not even try.

It has huge holes that you can see right through to the ground.

You could fall into one.


With a brave heart

And a few helping hands

Any obstacle can be overcome.

Yeah, I earned it

Walking the Plank Takes Lots of Practice

Posted in Dog diary, dog training, life with a working dog, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , on July 6, 2010 by rattlerjen

First I am lured across with a handfull of smelly treats in the hand

dog agility 1

It’s a long way down.

dog agility 2

I don’t notice.  I am focused on those yummy treats.

dog agility 3

Look!  I can do this by myself following a trail of treats.

dog agility 4

There were far fewer treats to follow the third time.  Who needs them? This wood is delicious!

dog agility 5

Agility work is quite tasty.

dog agility 6

I can do this whole thing for treats given only at the end now!

A Swingin Good Time

Posted in dog training, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , on June 30, 2010 by rattlerjen

At least that’s what the humans say.

dog on swinging bridge

Really, sometimes I think the humans ask us to do really bizarre things.

dog on swinging bridge 2

Do humans walk across such things that move to and fro?

dog on moving bridge

Whoa!  Steady now.

dog finishing swinging bridge

Piece of Cake

%d bloggers like this: