A-Frame a contact obstacle


Agility training is a fun-fi lled activity for both, you and your dog. If you wish to increase your pooch’s endurance and balancing capacity, then A-Frame is the best agility equipment.

A -Frame is a very important obstacle in the agility course, it is one of the ‘Contact Obstacles’ in the shape of letter ‘A.’ This two-platform equipment helps a dog to increase his endurance and test his balancing capacity. It is called a ‘Contact Obstacle’ because the dog is supposed to touch the ‘Yellow Contact’ zone with his paws while climbing and getting down the A-Frame.It is the largest of the obstacle and usually made of aluminum frame to make it easy to move around. Its height can be adjusted during training. A dog is supposed to walk up the ramp from one side and climb down from other. There is an ‘Yellow Contact’ zone on each side of the A-Frame. The length of A-Frame is 9 ft, while height is 5.10 ft approx (at full height in competitions).
Steps to follow while training your dog for A-Frame:

  1. Start with a plank placed fl at on the ground. Get your dog to walk on it from beginning to end.
  2. Once he is comfortable walking on it, you can try walking him from both sides, work on improving his speed.
  3. You should always teach him to take a straight approach to the plank and stop him from jumping off the plank in between.
  4. Initially praise him for walking on the plank while he is on the plank.
  5. Slowly work on his speed to attempt the frame and complete it.
  6. Only when the dog is confi dent to walk on it properly you can start sending him from one side to other, recall him over the frame, run with him from one side to other with changing routine.
  7. Slowly start increasing the height of the frame according to the confi dence level of your dog.
  8. Spend enough time practising at each step and at each height. In case the dog starts to lose his confidence, you can always lower the frame and practice again.
  9. Use treats and praise to make training sessions fun for your dog and yourself.
Training your pooch for ‘Two Off’ method: In this method we teach the dog to keep his two paws on the A-Frame and two on the ground. It is used to make sure that the dog learns to touch his contact zone and never misses it. During initial training, once your dog is comfortably walking on the plank, you can start praising him just at the end of the plank. With practice, you can teach him to wait at the end with his two paws on the ground and two hind paws on the plank. This method is very useful when the dog learns to attempt A-Frame in full speed and has a chance of missing the contact zones.
A-Frame can be a lot of fun for your pooch and it is not diffi cult to teach. It just needs a lot of patience and practice from the handler as well as the dog. And when it means loads and loads of fun, who cares for the hard work!
(Pooja Sathe is trained under Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour and Training, UK.)