Showsight Presents The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

to equipment for practice in between lessons you might find that monthly pri- vate lessons allow you to progress more steadily than weekly group classes. To get the most from your agility training, you will need to do some practice at home. However, agility equipment can be very expensive and requires a lot of space. You will not need a full agility course at home, but will probably want a few jumps, a set of weave poles and some small traffic cones to use when practicing handling maneuvers. Mas- tery of the sport of agility is as much about the ease with which a dog moves between the obstacles as it is about the way he completes the obstacles them- selves. Practicing handling skills and teaching your dog exactly what each handling move means to him will make you a more successful competitor.

Agility dogs need to be able to main- tain a state of high arousal and transi- tion smoothly between focusing on the handler and the obstacles. Having a variety of ways to reward your dog is important. When you want to reinforce your dog for watching you (handler focus), the reward should come from your hand, or be an interactive game such as tug. However, when you want to reward the dog for independent performance of a piece of equipment or for distance work (obstacle focus), the most effective reward will be delivered at a distance, such as a tossed ball or a treat from a remote dispenser. Most PBGVs are more excited by food than toy, so you may have to get creative about how you deliver the reward. Training a PBGV for agility may take longer than other breeds, but many of

them are competing successfully in the highest levels of the sport. In summary, the PBGV is a dog with a hunting purpose, interesting to train and a natural at the show, easily adaptable to a home environment

friendly and fun to live with. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kitty Steidel—JEC for the PBGVCA for 29 years. Columnist for Sight and Scent. Author of Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen—rustique french hound (1987) first book any lan- guage devoted exclusively to the PBGV. JEC for PBGVCA. Delegate representing Channel City KC. BOD of Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen Club of America. Approved to judge Sporting and Hound Groups, BIS, MISC.

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