Dog agility is a timed dog sport wherein the dog, will have to pass through various obstacles to reach the goal. Dog agility tasks include but not limited to climbing, weaving, tunneling and jumping. Fastest dog to complete the task, with the lowest number of faults will be declared as the winner in any dog agility competition.
One of the reasons why some dog owners choose to have their dogs trained for dog agility is the possibility of increasing their dog’s mental and physical capabilities. Dog agility is also great for establishing bonds between the dog and his human handler.
Agility training is far more complex than obedience training, but you can opt to have your dog trained for dog agility.
Here are some of the things you might want to consider prior to dedicating your time to dog agility training:
Assess if you’re passionate about the sport
Just like any other sport, dog agility requires dedication and perseverance, both from your end and from your dog. Dog agility training requires regular time for training, so it’s crucial for you as a trainer to set aside some time every day to dedicate to training. Also, learn to assess if your dog is capable to undertake strenuous physical activities on a regular basis. Dog agility is a strenuous activity, so it’s much more suitable for dogs with so much energy to spare. If you’re uncertain, an opinion from your trusted vet could come in handy.
Training could be boring on its own. So, as a trainer, it’s crucial for you to set activities that could be fun and stimulating for your dog, while at the same time allowing him to learn the fundamentals of dog agility training. You may do so by allowing your dog to play “educational” games. Dog treats and toys may also encourage your dog to participate actively in the activities you set for him.
A word of caution, though: never show negative emotions during training sessions. Anger could be interpreted by your dog as some kind of punishment, and punishments often take the fun away from training.
Train your Dog with Obedience First
Dog agility training is more complex than obedience training, but the latter is ingrained in the former. In other words, the basics of dog agility training involve obedience training. Prior to dog agility, your dog will have to learn about simple commands that are basically taught in obedience trainings. Obedience trainings will help your dog recognize simple words that will trigger him to act.
Give clear commands and direction
Your dog’s success in dog agility is not entirely dependent on him; you, as an owner, trainer, and handler, also play a big part in his success!
As a handler, the commands and the directions you give your dog will have to be clear enough for him to execute. Otherwise, your commands might mislead your dog. Learn to give clear commands that your dog will surely understand, and practice as often as possible so that you and your dog will be in perfect sync with each other during the actual dog agility competition.