Guest blogger and trainer Donna Magness takes readers step-by-step through training different critical agility skills.

The question we most frequently get asked at the end of our Up and Over tour is “I had no idea a dog could climb such a steep ladder. How do you teach them to do that?”

In order for a dog to be successful climbing ladders, they must be aware of their hind legs, have great confidence, and be physically fit. In this blog series will walk you through the process of taking a new puppy through the necessary steps to make them skilled and confident climbing ladders.

First, we must introduce you to the star of this blog series. Riley R. is a 9 week old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever who recently joined the Puppy Foundational Program. He was donated to the WDC by ScotiaPride Kennels.

One of the first exercises we start with is teaching Riley R. how to get “in the box”. Many dogs are not naturally skilled at manipulating the placement of their hind feet. The purpose of this exercise is to teach him proprioception (a.k.a. limb awareness) especially with his hind legs.

Watch as trainer Scott Courtney introduces Riley R. to “in the box” for the first time.

You can also watch Dr. Otto teach an adult dog this skill HERE.

Stay tuned for Climbing Ladders – Part 2!