After you teach each individual obstacle, you can begin putting them together into a course. Agility courses can be any length, from only a few obstacles, to a longer course with several obstacles. If your guinea pig is new to agility, it is best to start by teaching them a couple small courses with only a few obstacles and then go from there. Bar jumps and open tunnels are the best obstacles to use when you are first starting out. Be sure to check out the Agility Equipment page for information about each obstacle, and the How to Teach section for steps on how to teach each of these obstacles to your guinea pig.
Before teaching a guinea pig to run a course, make sure they can confidently complete each individual obstacle. To teach your guinea pig an agility course, first figure out what type of course you want to teach them. After you have the course set up, you can begin to teach it to your guinea pig. Start by luring them at the start wherever necessary. Most of the luring should be after each obstacle, just to show them which one to do next, as they should be able to complete the obstacles fairly independently at this point. If you are teaching a longer course, you may want to teach it in shorter sections and then put the smaller courses together afterwards to make one longer course.
Try to use a lure as little as possible during the training process so that it will be easy to fade entirely at the end. Eventually, you should be able to guide the guinea pig with only your hand whenever they get stuck, without the food lure. Continue to repeat the course consistently until the guinea pig knows it well enough that they can complete it independently, without any guidance from you.
An important aspect of teaching an agility course is when you reward your guinea pig. Don’t reward them in the same place every time(ie. at the end) or the guinea pig will quickly figure out that the only obstacle they get rewarded for is the last one, and they may decide that it is easier to skip right to that obstacle rather than completing the entire course. To avoid this, vary the locations that they get a reward. For example, one time, reward them after the first obstacle, then next time, after the third obstacle, then after the fourth, second, etc. Basically, make sure that you reward them at a different obstacle each time. This is always good to keep in mind, as it is an important detail that is easy to overlook. 🙂
Overall, enjoy the time you spend teaching your guinea pig agility. These obstacle courses are intended to be a fun activity to do with your guinea pig, so always keep this as a top priority and have fun teaching your guinea pig to run agility courses!