dog training, dog behavior, dog health

Dog Agility Training: Competitive and Fun

Because dog agility requires considerable skill, the proper dog agility training is essential to keeping the sport safe for both dogs and handlers.  Modeled after equestrian jumping, agility has become popular, implementing its own set of rules, obstacles and scoring system.  It’s become a great spectator sport with lots of appeal at the competitive level.

In agility, the handler leads the dog around a course where a number of obstacles have been set up. The dog has to demonstrate versatility and skill as well as agility in order to overcome them so proper training is vital if the dog is to be successful. 

These obstacles include a dog walk where a large beam is placed atop ramps at either end and the dog has to cross as quickly as possible. Timing is critical since agility is also judged according to the length of time the dog can overcome a particular difficulty.

Another obstacle on which the dog is judged is the see-saw. This is self-explanatory since more than likely, as a child you played the game.  The dog must go up and down the see-saw then exit over yellow zone. Other obstacles include the Pipe Tunnel, the A-Frame to name a few.

Most dog owners who are interested in having their dogs compete in agility start to train the dog at an early age. The first principle in this training is basic obedience training.  This includes being able to stay, down, sit, heel, and the dog should accept being handled by strangers.

In the initial phase of agility dog training, the dog should be introduced to miniature versions of the basic obstacle work they will be encountering in competition.  Over the training period, the size of the obstacles is increased until you reach competition level so that the dog becomes familiar and confident.

Throughout this stage the dog is also conditioned to respond quickly to commands.  This is a critical step because you want the dog to be able to perform the maneuvers instantly—as soon as the handler directs—while performing at full speed.

Hair or nails that are too long will get in the way of your dog’s performance so it’s crucial to maintain your dog’s grooming during dog agility training.