Wag It Games are great!
by Suzanne Clothier
A fine summer day. People laughing, dogs smiling and wagging their tails. Green grass, blue sky, fluffy white clouds, the whole gorgeous cliche. Add an enthusiastic instructor named Sumac Grant-Johnson, beautiful equipment that can best be described as looking like pure fun, a variety of challenging games, and you've got the new, exciting Wag It! Games.
I absolutely love when good things are available that help people and dogs enjoy each other in new ways. So I was flat out delighted to be introduced to Sumac Grant-Johnson's creation, Wag It! Games (WIGs). After taking a good look at what she was offering, I invited Sumac to bring Wag It! Games to my annual Trainers' Workshop to give us a demo of what WIGs is all about. Trainers from all across the US, Canada, Italy and Belgium were as delighted as I am with this new organization.
Not surprisingly with games described as "designed to bring smiles & wags to pet dogs & their owners," there is a solid emphasis throughout Wag It! Games on relationship, teamwork, and safety & joy for the dog/handler team. Accomplishing this while also providing meaningful training challenges -- ah, that's the genius of Sumac, an experienced trainer who has been there, done that on many levels. Her attention to detail, her gift for creating a playful & joyful environment for all, and her keen understanding of dogs and people shine through at every turn. Combine all that with her tremendous enthusiasm and skill as a instructor, throw in a huge dose of humor, and you've got some geunuine fun for everyone involved.
Wag It! Games feature 6 Skill Divisions:
- Shadow Skills Teams peform a course with the dog shadowing the handler's movement from both sides, and including twists, turns & other moves.
- No Need for Speed Obstacle Skills A course of obstacle based exercises ranging from climbing steps and crossing bridges to passing through hoops and riding scooters. There is no need for speed but team work, confidence and skill make this game.
- Sniff It Sniff it is comprised of two elements;
The dog must find and identify canisters charged with light scent or morsels of food.
The dog must find and identify mats charged with the handlers scent.
- Dog Ball Inspired by sheep herding. Dogs gently direct exercise balls through courses that include various challenges such as gates and pens.
- Water Skills Dog swims a course as directed by the handler.
- Agility Lightly competitive, emphasis on the dog's safety & well being; no see-saw or full size dog walk, lower A-frame; creative obstacles. 5 different classes.
I think Wag It! Games are the perfect addition to any training school or club's curriculum & offerings. With WIGs created for everyday dog loving handlers and their dogs, neither dog nor handler need to be a physical superstar or lightning fast. In fact physically challenged dogs are both welcome and safe playing these games,
The training skills developed as handlers & dogs prepare for these games are considerable, with the added bonus of being practical in real life. For more serious competitors aiming at formal obedience, agility or rally titles, the skills learned in Wag It! Games will only enhance training proficiency while allowing handler and dog to "put on some miles" of experience in the ring while having a blast.
INSTRUCTORS: Want to offer Wag It! Games to your students? Become a certified WIGs instructor. We are super pleased to be hosting a Wag It! Games Instructor Camp here at our farm in St. Johnsville NY. This 3 day course taught by Sumac Grant-Johnson runs from Sept 21-23, 2012. See the Wag It! Games website for complete details & registration.