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Greatmats Introduces Dog Agility Training Mats
If there’s a drawback to being a dog-agility enthusiast, it’s that there really isn’t much online information available on the subject. Surf the internet and you’ll find a few sales pitches, a couple magazines, some organizations, but few answers to specific questions.
One of the most important questions you should ask as a dog agility trainer is, “what type of flooring should I use to train my dogs?”
Before we answer that, let’s look at those flooring options that are NOT great for the sport.
1.) Rubber. Perhaps the biggest misconception out there is that rubber (rolled or interlocking tiles) provides some sort of spongy, super surface that provides great traction while also providing comfort for animals and trainers alike. This notion is false. Rubber, while a great surface for protecting floors from heavy equipment like treadmills or weight benches, does not provide much fatigue relief at all. In fact, a rolled rubber floor isn’t much softer than the concrete floor it covers. And while rubber may be easy to clean (usually a damp mop will do the trick) it is NOT waterproof. Also, because most rubber floor products come in black (they are made from recycled tires) they show dirt immediately. In short, rubber has it’s place but that place is generally not in a dog training facility.
2.) Vinyl/Plastic. Another seemingly great choice for flooring your training facility would be vinyl or plastic. It’s waterproof, easy to clean, it looks nice…However, like rubber it is generally an unforgiving surface. Products made of these materials are also often slippery making for a treacherous area for both trainer and dogs. Slippery = no good for training dogs.
3.) Carpet/hardwood. These products get destroyed quickly by animals and are a nightmare to keep clean. Enough said.
Believe it or not, the best flooring for dog agility training is foam. Not just any foam, of course. Kids mats from the local box store will be shredded in no time. However, dense EVA foam that is designed specifically for dog training provides everything you’re looking for for your facility. It is waterproof and easy to keep clean. A high-traction, commercial grade carpet top provides excellent traction and is resistant to dog claws. Superficial scratching and tears will happen, to be sure. But the quality and performance of the floor will remain unaffected for years. Dog Agility mats are simple to install. Puzzle tiles that simply piece together, they require no adhesives. For a wall-to-wall installation, you simply cut them to fit with a sharp utility knife. Also, if one tile gets damaged, you can simply replace it and carry on. Not so easy with a roll of rubber or hardwood floor.
Greatmats provides an easy-to-use online room designer that allows customers to create their room layout to scale and to determine the number of floor tiles they will need for their area by simply typing in the dimensions.
About Greatmats: Headquartered in Milltown, WI, Greatmats is a leading online dealer of residential and commercial specialty flooring options. Greatmats is 100% solar powered and has been named one of Inc magazines top 500 fastest growing sites three years in a row. They hold a Triple-A rating with the Better Business Bureau. For further information, contact Greatmats at 877-822-6622 or visit http://www.greatmats.com.
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Dog Clicker Training Information
Dog clicker training is undoubtedly one of the most reliable methods of training a new pet dog. Beyond obedience, the clicker is an effective tool for pre-conditioning and reinforcing positive behavior in your dog.
Clicker training derives from the precepts of behavioral psychology which marks and rewards desirable behavior. It’s an excellent method in animal training as the distinct clicking sound serves as a communication tool – it tells your dog exactly when you like what he’s doing. As opposed to the use of punishment, dog clicker training’s click-and-reward principle works to encourage positive behavior by rewarding it right away. When you start to clicker-train your dog, remember to:
1. Practice and time your clicks before working with your dog. It is important that you learn to click at the precise moment your dog heeds your command. When your click is ahead or behind the precise moment of obedience, your dog’s association of the sound with the behavior could be confused.
2. Click when he’s doing it. Clicking should be done while your dog is doing as commanded, not before or after. This is important in order to communicate exactly what the treat – that follows the click – is for. Timing the clicks is very important.
3. Be consistent with the number of clicks. Click only once to mark the behavior. Don’t overdo it. If you like what your dog is doing so much you want to let him know you’re delighted, give him more treats but stick to one click. Consistency is as important as timing.
4. Less is always more. Keep your training sessions no more than five minutes at a time. You can do several five-minute clicker training sessions in a day. This is more productive than hour-long daily sessions as the repetitiveness of routines bore intelligent dogs.
5. Clicking for small steps is an encouragement. When you’re ordering your dog to sit, click as he starts to bend to the position. When you want him to respond to, “Come!” click as he takes a few steps toward you. When you’re dog learns to associate the sound with your approval, he’ll know when he’s on the right track.
6. Don’t get mad holding a clicker. When you’re mad, you’re likely to scold or jerk your dog’s leash. Be sure not to use or have your dog see/hear clicking. Dogs can sense your mood. If you confuse the clicker with scolding or correction, he’ll lose confidence in the clicker.
7. By all means, carry the clicker in your pocket. Click for voluntary or good behavior. When your dog cocks his head to one side (imitating the human pose for listening), click. When it sits still when a guest arrives instead of barking incessantly, click. Marking good behavior with a click as it happens is excellent reinforcement and won’t confuse your dog.
Training with a Clicker
Dog clicker training is a wonderful experience for both owner and pet. As your dog learns to understand you, you also grow toward understanding your dog. Often, the clicker is useful in gauging your dog’s abilities and reaching their potential by constantly striving for more. If you find yourself not progressing on a certain behavior, it’s likely that your clicks are ill-timed.
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