Agility Training At Home For Dogs
- October 14, 2021
Dog agility is one of the fastest-growing canine sports in the United States because it’s exciting, challenging, and a whole lot of fun.But perhaps your dog is still a puppy, you’re still training basic obedience, or you want to get a feel for things before investing in lessons.In that case, there are plenty of things you can try at home to prepare your dog for agility obstacles and gauge your interest and his enthusiasm for the activity.And as an extra bonus, even these basic skills can help build your dog’s confidence, decrease his anxiety, increase his trust, and introduce him to new experiences.Set your dog up for success by starting small and raising your expectations slowly.You can foster greater attention by teaching your dog to make eye contact with you on a cue like Watch Me or Look.This is handy when teaching him to enter the contact zones at the end of an agility obstacle.Back Up teaches your dog basic body awareness because he must pay attention to what all four paws are doing.According to Spooner, tricks that increase a dog’s flexibility are great for agility training.That includes sending a dog out in front, moving him from one side to the other, or having him work at a distance.Spooner suggests, “When the dog is comfortable walking on the side you indicate, try jogging and running.Try tossing a treat in the desired direction to help him get the basic idea that he doesn’t need to beside you all the time.Start by rewarding any approach to the object and work your way up to having your dog walk around and return to you.Use an upside-down sturdy box, plastic bin, or even a foot stool and encourage him to interact with it.Flip the box or bin over and lure him in or reward any exploration until he’s willing to fit his whole body inside.Lay a ladder flat on the ground and with a food lure or a hand touch, entice him to step through the rungs.Instead, start with lower objects that move so your dog gets used to shifting ground beneath his paws.It’s a piece of plywood, at least two-foot square, with something small underneath, like a brick or a tennis ball, to make it unstable.Drape the blanket over the spaced-out chairs and teach your dog it’s fun to walk through to the other side.Use a broomstick or other pole and balance it between two low objects like a stack of books or flower pots.The weave poles are probably the most challenging obstacle to teach, and there are many different training approaches, so you’ll likely need expert guidance to help your dog master this skill.But for an easy at-home version of the weaves, you can stick tomato stakes or similar sized poles into the ground outside.By mastering these basic skills at home, you and your dog will be ahead of the game when you enter the sport.For help finding local clubs and a chance to try the obstacles, look for AKC’s My Dog Can Do That events. .
How to Create a DIY Agility Course in Your Backyard
For active, energetic dogs, an agility course you can set up in your backyard can be just the outlet for their endless reserves.A homemade backyard agility course is also great for those times when you want to stick close to home and provide the exercise your dog needs to stay active and healthy.The training and responsiveness required on the part of your dog gives them plenty of mental stimulation — more so than the typical jog in the park — and physical exercise.You as a pet parent also benefit from canine agility training because it can teach you a great deal about working with dogs, and how to communicate what you want from them.Best of all, because you have a fun activity you enjoy doing together, agility training forges a deep bond between human and canine.Watching your best friend weave and dart happily around and through objects on your command will bring both of you a lot of joy that will be hard to match.But if you’re doing it just for fun (and not to enter your dog in the local competition, which will have its own set of requirements that take extra time and training), there’s no need to shell out hundreds of dollars.Even if you choose to construct your own out of PVC pipe, as you’ll find in this detailed tutorial, obtaining the needed materials can set you back.Weaving back and forth through the row of six upright poles works the dog’s flanks, joints and muscles.Agility weave poles are not suited for dogs with a history of ACL tears, given these quick, tight maneuvers.Even if your dog’s old injury healed up without surgery, your vet will likely strongly recommend that you omit the weave poles altogether.Creating a homemade jump can be easily accomplished with a few objects found around the home and garden shed.(The withers height of a dog measures the distance between the highest point of the shoulder blades to the floor.).As you get started on agility training, keep in mind that most dogs in good physical condition can learn and master the different obstacles.But like any lesson, some dogs catch on more quickly than others, so if it’s taking awhile, keep at it, be patient, and if one method doesn’t work, try a new approach.These small bites are highly fragrant so you can keep your dog’s attention without piling on to their daily calorie count. .
Tips for Getting Started in Dog Agility – American Kennel Club
If you’ve ever watched an agility competition, you know it’s basically a canine obstacle course.The dog must run through tunnels, leap over jumps, and weave through poles.But is it right for you and your dog?Read on and see how you can get started in this dynamic sport.According to accomplished trainer and agility competitor Arlene Spooner, an AKC Executive Agility Field Representative, there are many benefits to participating in agility.And working with their person (rather than just fetching a thrown ball) builds teamwork, trust, a deeper level of communication, and a stronger bond.”.“Agility taught her self-control and how to work for things she wanted in a socially acceptable way.Spooner says many handlers with older dogs use that option.And Spooner suggests if you do start training, “start slow and let the dog’s muscles build up.”.Spooner says, “AKC gets all types of physical abilities from world-class athletes to, well a few weeks ago I was at a trial where a woman in her 90s was competing.Spooner also suggests going to local trials to become familiar with how the sport works.And remember, you don’t have to enter competitions to benefit from the sport.Classes and a backyard course can provide all the fun, exercise, and challenge you need.You can’t touch your dog, so using only cues and body language, you must direct him where to go because the order of the obstacles changes every time.Then work toward moving, slowly at first then building up to a run.Another basic move is teaching your dog to go out in front of you to tackle an obstacle.Don’t forget to play this game with your dog starting on both your right and left sides.These basic moves should get you started at home.The following list explains the basic agility equipment you will find in the ring:.The dog must run up the side touching the ground then ride the seesaw down the other side as it pivots with his momentum.No matter how you start your agility journey, you can look forward to a stronger bond with your dog and years of fun. .
How To Get Started With Dog Agility Training
Many of the materials needed to craft a backyard agility course can be purchased at local hardware stores, yard sales, flea markets, or even found lying around your home.Use a picnic bench as a dogwalk or construct one by placing a 12-foot piece of plywood across 2 cinderblocks.A plastic collapsible children’s tunnel can be purchased from a department store and will make a perfect obstacle for your dog to crawl through.Teeter boards can be built with a long piece of wood and some PVC pipe.Mix an antiskid additive with paint and cover the entire board.Purchase a large plumbing pipe from a local hardware store.Place a carriage bolt through each of the holes and through the pipe to attach it to the board.Once you have the above obstacles created, you are ready to work on training your dog on the agility course.Before you get started, make sure your dog is able to follow basic commands such as sit, lie down, come, and stay.Once your dog has mastered the commands necessary to finish the course, you can start picking up the pace and working on his speed and accuracy. .
A Beginner's Guide to Dog Agility – 3 Lost Dogs
“I think if every dog owner engaged in agility training with his or her dog, the dog world would be a better place.Then agility might be right for you!Agility training is all about building a common language between dog and owner.Another benefit of agility is that it provides the kind of exercise that actually improves a dog’s behavior.Have you ever taken your dog for a long run, only to bring him home and find that he’s actually more hyper and crazy than when you started?Bonus: The skills you learn in agility class will make you a better dog owner or trainer overall.Now what exactly IS agility?It’s a timed obstacle course for a team that consists of a handler and a dog.A course usually has 12-18 obstacles, like tunnels, jumps, tire jumps, weave poles, and the big “ramp” obstacles collectively known as the contacts.In a trial (aka competition or show), the dog runs the course off-leash and the handler can’t touch the dog.The ones you’ll hear about most often in the US are NADAC, AKC, and the USDAA (see below for a more complete list of national and international groups).This sport is open to people of all ages and athletic ability.At any given trial you’ll find junior handlers, veteran handlers, and everything in between.Most sanctioning organizations allow mixed breeds to compete.When I was training competitively, the time commitment per dog was this:.1 one-hour class per week, about six months out of the year.Agility trials are usually weekend-long events put on by local clubs, who play by the rules of their preferred organization.Each trial consists of a few different courses, or runs.If you’ve ever been to an agility trial and seen a group of people walking around in the ring with one arm out and muttering commands to an invisible dog, you’ve just witnessed the walkthrough portion of the trial.The first team is called to the starting line.The dog failing to complete the next obstacle (this is called a runout or refusal).If a dog has a clean run without any faults, it’s called a qualifying run or a “Q,” and they’ll get points added to their official record.However, the Qs are important – with enough points, your dog will earn a title.As you earn each title you stick it to the end of your dog’s name, so Fido’s name can eventually start to look like Jonas’s.If you want to take classes, watch an agility trial, or just find local people who can introduce you to the sport, finding a training club is your best bet.United States Dog Agility Association – This is a good organization to start with.North American Dog Agility Council – My dogs are registered with NADAC.This is a good way to check out a club before you take classes.), making some of your own equipment and training your dog on your own can be a lot of fun.Important: Avoid letting your puppy or teenage dog jump over any obstacles.Check with your vet before you start agility training.Just for Fun Agility – More ideas for homemade obstacles.Introduction to Dog Agility – This book was my agility bible for years.Youtube: a self-taught learner’s goldmine.Pamelamarxsen’s agility videos playlist – Videos of agility training as well as other training how-to’s that will help with agility.You can play this game as a casual way to have fun with your dog or push yourself and your canine athlete to see just how far you can go. .
How to Teach Your Dog Agility
Courses usually contain around 15 or so obstacles, including tunnels, jumps, weave poles, and ramps, which the dog must complete in a predetermined pattern.Great exercise: Running, jumping, climbing, and weaving, and all at a fast pace, is bound to tire your dog out.Reinforces good behavior: Dogs rely on their owner to provide the commands they need to complete the agility course correctly.Teaching agility increases the level of attention your dog pays to you, and reinforces compliance to obedience commands.Your dog will need to follow your cues closely during the agility course, so brush up on her basic obedience skills, using positive reinforcement techniques, including sit, stay, and come.Get your dog comfortable with moving in strange ways before introducing her to the real obstacles.Teach her to turn around an object tightly, and to move away from you, or to the left and right by tossing treats in that direction.Certain breeds, such as Dachshunds and Basset Hounds, can be prone to back problems, so jumping isn’t recommended for them.Once you’ve got the go-ahead from your vet, you can create jumps by laying a piece of plywood on top of a few books.Flexibility is very important here, so take it slow to make sure your dog doesn’t hurt herself.The teeter board is one of the trickiest obstacles for many dogs, as it requires a lot of confidence with moving objects.Start with low objects: get your dog used to things moving underneath her, such as a skateboard, toy wagon or a wobble board.Reward your dog for showing any interest in the object, then when she puts a paw onto it, and eventually when she balances on top of it.When you feel your dog is ready, you can build your own teeter board with a long piece of wood resting on top of a pipe.Again, you will need to progress slowly, luring your dog with treats and praising her whenever she touches and takes small steps onto it. .
Dog Agility Training Drills You Can Do at Home
If you would like to get starting doing agility training with your pup but don’t know where to start, here are five simple drills you can do at home.Instead, to get your pup started training as a puppy, use planks or bricks to create a low-lying dogwalk—no more than a few inches off the ground.PVC piping can be used to create weave poles.Start slow and stay close to your dog the first few times to get him or her used to running the weave pattern.Some dogs won’t be very comfortable with tunnels, so sprinkling treats through the tunnel or crawling through with your pup may be necessary to build confidence.In time, your pup should be able to run through quickly and go right on to the next drill.Use a teeter board. .
Dog agility training at home?
Whether you want to just have some fun with youror get some background in agility before actually starting classes - there are quite a fewand skills you can practice at home.Just make sure the bar is displaceable, i.e. can be knocked off/down if the dog hits it, to avoid injury.What is holding it up is irrelevant, so you can get a hoolahoop at a local dollar store and bungee it to a fence post, side of your deck, a chair in the house, etc.So we break them apart and teach them separately — to work on motion, you can put a small board on a brick (so that it tips back and forth), teach the dog to slam doors and drawers, ride a skateboard and/or walk across playground sway bridges.Balance and body awareness - For the dog to safely negotiate any agility obstacles safely, they need to have a good sense of balance and good body awareness.â€¢ Teaching the dog to bow, dance or do a kick back stand.The key principles involved with all of these are good dog training skills — i.e.
the correct and appropriate use of positive reinforcement and firstly, at all times, being aware of your dog’s safety.Debbie Harrison is a community contributor on AnnArbor.com's pet section and entered the world of dog agility back in 1992.She has since loved, trained and competed with two Dalmatians, two Jack/Parson Russell Terriers and three Border Collies in several dog sport disciplines. .
The Benefits of Dog Agility Training (and How to Get Started)
The sport challenges dogs to learn new moves, perfect for brainy pups who need to burn physical and mental energy.What Is Dog Agility Training?Dog agility training teaches your dog to run through obstacle courses.Why Dog Agility Training Is Good for Dogs.Like other canine sports, agility is good for dogs both physically and mentally.So small dogs compete on lower jumps than large dogs.Dog Agility Training Equipment.You can purchase dog agility equipment online, but it's relatively easy to create mock courses and obstacles at home.Learn how to turn these simple items into a DIY dog agility course with jumps, tunnels and weaving poles. .