How To Get Started With Dog Agility
- October 14, 2021
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. .
A Beginner's Guide to Dog Agility – 3 Lost Dogs
Agility is that good, that fun, and that important.” – Sue Sternberg, dog trainer, shelter founder, author.Brace yourself, ‘cause I’m about to sell you on agility like a late night infomercial (can’t guarantee rock-hard abs, though.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?Boredom is the leading cause of behavior problems, because dogs were bred to WORK.All this sitting around at home with only a daily walk or run does not a happy dog make.And it’ll usually be something like digging up the yard or barking incessantly at all who dare pass the front window.Agility provides the perfect combination of physical exercise and mental stimulation to keep Fido entertained and out of trouble.Bonus: The skills you learn in agility class will make you a better dog owner or trainer overall.I still use a lot of what I learned from agility, whether I’m working on a new Frisbee stunt with Merlin, getting a hyper dog to chill out, or teaching puppies not to bite.It’s a timed obstacle course for a team that consists of a handler and a dog.Agility first appeared in England in 1978, as essentially a half time show at Crufts.The creators based the demonstration on horse jumping competitions, intending to show off the dogs’ natural speed and agility.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).I’ve taken classes where some of my fellow students were elementary school kids, and others were retirees.In competitions, I’ve seen everything from people in motorized scooters to Olympic gold medalists.Herding breeds like border collies are the masters of this game, which is why you’ll see a ton of them at trials, but they’re not the only players.Even the American Kennel Club, for many the very symbol of purebred snobbery, has opened up some agility trials to the mutts.1 trial per month from October to February (agility season in Phoenix is limited to fall and winter, lest heat exhaustion cause competitors to drop like flies).Many clubs offer significant discounts on training and entries if you work at their trials, which was a huge help for me.Agility trials are usually weekend-long events put on by local clubs, who play by the rules of their preferred organization.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.These people may look three fries short of a Happy Meal, but they’re actually hard at work memorizing the course and plotting out how they will run it.The dog failing to complete the next obstacle (this is called a runout or refusal).Winning a first place is a lot of fun, but in the grand scheme of things placements don’t matter until you reach high levels of competition.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.Use this very convenient search tool from Clean Run magazine to find a group near you.United States Dog Agility Association – This is a good organization to start with.I’ve consulted the internet and apparently none of the UK organizations list local groups on their sites.Check out this Wikipedia page for a more extensive list of national and international sanctioning organizations: Dog Agility Worldwide.Handlers will usually be happy to answer your questions – just make sure you don’t interrupt them when they’re at the ring preparing for their run.Important: Avoid letting your puppy or teenage dog jump over any obstacles.The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility – Hey, they stole my title!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.Whatever your style, chances are you’ll find agility to be highly addictive. .
10 Tips to Practice Agility at Home with Your Dog – American
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.Of course, agility classes are a great place to get started in the sport.Remember to use lots of encouragement and praise when your dog is successful.Teach Tricks.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.Finally, teaching your dog to jump through a hoop is a great introduction to the tire jump.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.Start by teaching your dog to work comfortably on either side of you.A treat in the hand on the side you want is a great motivator for most dogs!”.Start by rewarding any approach to the object and work your way up to having your dog walk around and return to you.But with obstacles like the dog walk, your dog needs to be aware of exactly where he’s placing each paw.There are lots of ways to help your dog increase his body awareness.You can even make a line of boxes and teach him to crawl or step through them.Build Confidence With Moving Objects.Reward your dog for any interest in the board, then encourage him to put a paw on top.Drape the blanket over the spaced-out chairs and teach your dog it’s fun to walk through to the other side.Jumping is a critical agility skill and an easy one to practice at home.As Spooner says, “What a dog can jump and what they should jump are two different things.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.Space the poles 24 inches apart and always ensure your dog enters between the first and second poles in the row from his left side.The Agility Course Test (ACT) is an entry-level agility event designed to introduce and welcome beginning dogs and their handlers to the AKC sport of agility.You can continue your training by attending agility classes at a nearby AKC Training Club or a local training facility where your dog can practice on actual agility obstacles. .
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. .
Agility: Get Started – American Kennel Club
Dog agility is a sport where you direct your dog through a pre-set obstacle course within a certain time limit.Courses typically have between 14-20 obstacles, which can include tunnels, weave poles, tire jumps, seesaws, and pause tables where the dog must stop for a set amount of time.Does he get along well with other dogs?As with any sport, we recommend you start by taking a class at an AKC club near you.Beginner courses introduce you and your dog to obstacles, and provide the basics of how to compete should you decide to go that route.Weave poles—or a few evenly spaced upright poles that your dog can run through—are another popular at-home obstacle.Count on spending at least 15-20 minutes a day practicing the moves you learned in class.Once you are ready to compete, you will find that there are three types of Agility trials (“competitions”):.All-breed agility trials for more than 150 breeds and varieties of dogs recognized by the AKC.To be eligible to compete in Agility, your dog must be:. .
How to Train Your Dog in Agility Sports
It is an obstacle course made up of jumps, tunnels, and walkways.Some people do agility training just for fun, while others enjoy competing in agility trials.Dogs usually start competing in agility between the ages of 1 and 2.You can start training your dog before they're of age to compete.Once your dog is ready to start agility training, your best bet is to find a class or group in your area.You can teach your dog to make this contact by leaving treats on the contact zone; your dog will get the treats only by putting its paw there.When you begin, make sure the obstacles are moved to the lowest position possible.Teach Jumps.Give a command specific to each jump, such as "big jump.".Give lots of treats and praise.Set up a small jump and put your dog on one side with you on the other.Once your dog has learned the basics, it's time to begin teaching agility specifics.Start off with a short tunnel that allows your dog to see through to the other side.Lead your dog to the tunnel, give the command "tunnel," and have your helper begin calling it and offering treats.After you have done this a number of times, gradually move the poles closer to the center.By the time you have the poles in the correct position, your dog should have learned the bending movement needed to weave around the poles.If you have practiced basic commands before you begin agility training, your dog will be ahead of the game.Have it stay for a count of one, and then offer a treat.Once it is able to stay for 5 seconds or more, practice with lots of distractions to mimic the experience at an agility trial.Start by linking two obstacles, such as a jump and the tunnel.Then, before it hits the ground on the other side, say "tunnel" as you move toward the tunnel. .
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: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners 2021
Sometimes getting involved in these sports can be intimidating and you might not know if you or your dog has what it takes, well that is why I am writing this how to get started in dog agility training for beginners.The Sport of agility training.Agility training for dogs is an obstacle course that consists of:.Dog agility training comes with some misconceptions about what is expected and required of both the handler and the dog itself.Just like any other sport, it is possible to train at home but this requires obstacles.Why is dog agility training good?Dogs see this training as play time and giving them tasks they enjoy with commands will get them associating you like fun and your commands as them getting to run around.Dog agility training for beginners can be hard work and may even help you get into shape, but there are also some risks.In the summer times, heat is also a concern, dogs need breaks and water too and this is a hard thing on their body.This sport can be incredibly beneficial to you, your dog, and the bond you two share. .
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. .