How and When to Start a Dog in Agility Training
Agility training is a canine sport inspired by the famous obstacle courses crafted for horses. This canine sport mainly consists of a series of obstacles of different levels of difficulty, strategically laid out by an agility judge. Because dogs run off leash during this competition, communication and reliance on the handler are key to success. In order to excel in this sport therefore, dogs require a high level of obedience and versatility.
Agility Dog Training Galore
Provide interactive fun and exercise for the family dog with this agility starter kit. Agility training is a popular dog sport that can be learned relatively quickly. The kit comes complete with the supplies needed to perform the following agility tests: weave poles, high jump, open tunnel, and pause box. On command, the dog must accomplish the tests by racing against the clock or other dogs. The agility tests keep the dog's senses sharpened, body properly exercised, and brain occupied. In addition, it enhances the bond between dog and human.
Dog Agility Training Tunnel with Collapsed Chute by AKC Features
AKC Junior Series Agility training tire jump
Tips on Agility Training for Dogs
Agility training is a fast growing sport that attracts more and more dog owners. Because it can be quite exciting to watch, many spectators find this sport very engaging. Top qualities dogs must have in order to excel in agility are speed, flexibility, versatility, obedience, and agility, of course. Handlers on the other hand, must be able to guide their dogs and communicate with them effectively. As such, when put to the test, both dog and human form a team that will ultimately significantly strengthen the bond.
• Watch the Age
Young dogs should not be started in agility too early since their bones and joints may have not had time yet to fully develop. Indeed, no respective agility club will take a dog that has not finished developing. This is to prevent major injuries ands stresses on joints in such a delicate phase as development. This especially applies to those large breed pups that significantly grow and mature slowly.
,• Have a Check Up
It never hurts to have a dog seen by a vet before engaging in a sport as agility. This will help point out any weaknesses that can be detrimental if not discovered in time. Conditions such as hip displaysia, may be worsen significantly and be agility training may be contraindicated.A vet check up is always in order for those breeds prone to orthopedic problems since some motivated dogs with high drive levels may be unlikely to demonstrate significant discomfort during agility work.
• Start Early
While engaging in agility too early may negatively affect the puppy's development, this does not mean that a puppy should have to wait past its adolescent stage in order to get started. Your puppy may be able to perform some basics (such as climbing steps, stepping on different surfaces, climbing over logs etc.) It's all good experience for him and starting early can really make a difference. Discuss with your vet what you are planning to do and ask specifics about what your puppy can do or cannot do at this stage.
• Know the Basics
A good level of obedience training is required before enrolling a dog in agility training. In order to excel, dogs and owners must be able to communicate effectively. Because agility courses are carried out with the dog off leash and without the aid of treats, toys or other lures, the ability for the handler to communicate only through voice, movement, and various body signals is key in order to succeed.
• Start Easy and Slowly
In order to help your dog succeed start easily and slowly progress to more challenging obstacles. Start out by offering simplified, small and low agility equipment and then work your way up to progress. Some timid dogs may need loads of encouragement in order to build up their confidence levels, while others may have little hesitation.
• Practice at Home
You do not have to regularly attend agility training classes -even though a few classes are highly recommended to get a grip on the sport- to get started in agility. Today, agility courses can be easily assembled at home by purchasing dog agility kits. If you are creative enough, you can also assemble your own agility course by purchasing some items from your hardware store, but safety comes always first. Do not assemble anything that is not safe and secure for you and your dog.
As seen, agility is quite an addicting sport that is growing in popularity. Basically any dog can enjoy agility training if it has the qualities that makes him or her ultimately excel. Agility training is also a great way for hyperactive dogs to get rid of pent up energy and ultimately bond with their owners as they work as a team.