The Foundation Of Dog Agility Training
It’s difficult to tell if dog agility training is more fun for the dog or the trainer. A relatively recent sport, thanks to television coverage, the internet and the need for events at dog shows, agility training is as popular with spectators as it is with participants.
The Sport Of Dog Agility
In dog agility, dogs compete against each other by running an obstacle course, guided by a trainer. The fastest dog, including faults for missed obstacles, running overtime, etc., is the winner.
Dog agility obstacles can include:
- Walk-over obstacles – including A-frames and teeter-totters
- A variety of miscellaneous obstacles like weave poles and pause boxes
During competition, dog trainers are allowed on the course, but can’t touch the dog or the obstacles and they can’t use incentives such as toys and food.
Dogs are classed by size and experience to ensure as much fairness as possible in competition.
Dog Agility Training
Just like regular training, dogs can begin agility training at any age, but caution must be used on dogs less than a year old to make sure their joints are not hurt. Training on full-sized equipment should not happen until after a dog has finished growing.
Training techniques and pace are often determined by your dog’s personality. Timid dogs may take a longer time to get comfortable with equipment, but more rambunctious dogs might jump on equipment right away.
You face two opposite challenges in training these two personality extremes. Quiet dogs need to become familiar with equipment and confident in their ability to use it, while livelier dogs need to be trained to use the equipment properly, without hurting themselves.
Another agility training challenge is posed by dogs who are enthusiastic for one obstacle, but reserved about another.
Meeting Your Dog Agility Training Challenges
As with any thing you do with your dog, the more time you spend doing it, the easier the training becomes and the better the results.
In addition to devoting time and focusing on your dog, the following can help your dog agility training:
- Having the right equipment
- Getting help from an experienced agility trainer
- Using available facilities. Many off-leash parks have some standard agility obstacles in place
Dog Agility Training Advice
If you’re not sure whether you or your dog are ready for agility training, you should consult a professional to help you decide.
Alpha Paws offers professional dog training in Toronto and the GTA. From puppy training to agility training, the professional instructors at Alpha Paws have the skills and experience to assess your needs and recommend the right approach for you and your dog.