Dog agility training can be great fun for you and your dog. Consisting of many high energy, quick thinking and team building exercises, the sport of agility training can change your dog from being idle and sedentary to becoming up and active.
More than that, with some simple agility training for your dog, you will also help build up your canine's confidence, allows for mental stimulation and physical development of your dog.
What is Dog Agility Training?
The physically challenging leash-free sport of dog agility training consists of running through an obstacle course together. Through body language and verbal cues, either you or a trainer guides the dog, who is off leash, from obstacle to obstacle. The trainer needs to know the order of the course and the dog needs to listen and focus their attention on the trainer, who cues them as to which obstacle to conquer next.
A typical obstacle course consists of a variety of challenges for the dog such as:
Objectives of Dog Agility Training
The main objectives of agility training is to have fun together, while at the same time, provide some much needed exercise – both for you and your dog!
If you are intent on competing, your other objectives are to successfully tackle all obstacles, with your dog touching his or her paws in specific locations, in the fastest amount of time.
Benefits of Agility Training For Dogs
Beside the fun of learning agility course obstacles, there are many benefits as well to dog agility training.
For example, agility training helps in the bonding of both human and animal. It also keeps your dog physically and mentally stimulated by learning new things. Tailor-made obstacle courses out there can also help develop and hone your canine’s talents such as balance, speed and directional reflexes by providing a range of obstacles for your pet to overcome.
Some dogs are naturals on the agility course, confident and comfortable approaching objects that they have never seen before. Even if your dog isn’t a natural, he or she can learn to enjoy running the course with you. Agility is open to dogs of every ability, size and breed (as long as they are healthy enough to participate in intense exercise.)
You can also employ dog agility training around the house yourself. You can set up cones in the front yard, for example, guiding your pet in and out of them. Or, you can utilize an old wide tire, some rope, and a tree branch and create a makeshift ring obstacle. Keep in mind, not to set the tire too high, lest your dog injure itself while jumping. And if you are handy enough, you can even build your own ramp for your dog to climb!
These dog agility-training obstacles will quickly get your canine in shape, but you must keep in mind that there are gradual stages that a dog must go through before tackling this level.
When first starting, there are several things you should consider. Dog agility training can only begin once your dog reaches physical maturity and respond well to basic dog obedience commands otherwise, you may find that you are doing more bad than good for your canine and none of us want that!
Dogs, like people, all have different starting points, so it is important for you to recognize where your dog’s starting point is. For smaller dogs, weighing less than fifty pounds, you will want to wait till they are between 9 and 12 months old. Heavier dogs, fifty or more pounds, on the other hand, will want to wait a bit longer between agility training. For them, you will want to wait somewhere between 10 and 14 months of age.
Failure to adhere to these guidelines, and pushing your dog to unnecessary limits before they are ready, will only contribute to needless injuries.
Injuries can range anywhere from sprained or dislocated joints to broken legs to much worse. Of course, no dog lover wishes this upon any canine, let alone your pet, so it is important to remember that dog agility training need not be rushed and is a gradual process. If injuries do occur, moreover, take your pet to your local veterinarian immediately. In other words, take the training process as slowly and as much time as needed by your dog as possible. What’s the rush anyway?
There are a few basic rules everyone, whether inexperienced or professional, should have handy while agility training their dog:
We all begin somewhere, and your pet is no different. Still, with a little help, a little guidance, and a little assistance, your pet can easily master the world of dog agility training. And, if you feel that your canine has already mastered these obstacles, there are even dog agility training contests that you can enter your canine in. There is prize money to win, national recognition to be garnered, and loads of fun to have! What could be better?
All you have to do now is be able to keep up! Good luck with your dog agility training!