It’s Train Your Dog Month! Why not celebrate by trying out agility training?
What is agility training you ask! Simply put, it’s a timed obstacle course with anywhere from 12 to 18 obstacles for the dog to navigate through. During the trial (show or competition), the dog runs the course off-leash following hand signals, body language, and vocal cues to complete the course. Obstacles include tunnels, jumps, weave poles, ramps, and see-saws.
If you do it just for fun, there’s no stress on you or your dog to learn these skills quickly. Of course, once you’ve tried it, you may decide that you’d like to be a competitor and enter trials! If you think you’d like to give agility a try, see if there are clubs in your community. You can always try a few simple training exercises at home and see if you and your pup enjoy it!
While Border Collies and German Shepherd Dogs tend to excel at agility training, there is nothing stopping you from trying it out with your Yorkshire Terrier or your “Heinz 57”. Even senior dogs can participate in modified agility courses! In order to prevent strains, courses for senior dogs often cover shorter distances and jumps are set up at lower heights.
Agility training has great benefits for both you and your dog – here are a few great reasons to give agility a try!
- Agility can provide exercise for your dog’s body and mind.
- If your dog is bored, agility training can help add mental stimulation for him.
- Agility training can help improve off-leash recall.
- Agility expends a lot of energy, so your pet should be better behaved after training sessions.
- Training, of any sort, will help build a strong bond between you and your dog.
- It adds another activity that you can do with your dog.
- You and your dog can make new friends.
- And finally, it can help all aspects of training and communicating with your dog.
Anyone can compete at agility training. You don’t need to be an athlete or in great physical shape – one of the added benefits is that agility training will help get you in shape!
Before you sign your pooch up for agility training, be sure that he’s fit enough to participate. Just as for people, before a new sport is introduced it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor – in this case, your veterinarian! Puppies that have not yet matured should not participate – their bones are at risk of breaks if something goes awry.
A great way to start off the New Year is to add in a new activity – why not include your pup and give agility training a try!