Spending time with your dog just got a lot more exciting thanks to a great new activity you and your dog can do together: agility training for dogs.
This sport was first introduced in the U.S. in the 1980’s and has grown in leaps and bounds (pun intended) ever since.
What is agility training? It is simply an obstacle course that you will coach your dog through. You can do it as a hobby in your own backyard or you can train extensively with the ultimate goal of having your dog compete against other dogs.
Before you start training your dog needs to understand and follow basic commands such as sit, stay, down and heel.
The obstacle course usually consists of various planks and tunnels the dog has to navigate through in a certain amount of time. You will use specific commands for each obstacle such as, fast, slow, left, right, etc. Always praise your dog when they successfully complete an obstacle. Never yell at them. Don’t ever forget, this is supposed to be fun. If your dog doesn’t seem to be having fun than it might not be for him, don’t push.
While this is a great sport for you and your dog to share it isn’t for every dog. Medium sized working breeds such as collies, shepherds, corgis, spaniels and poodles are some breeds that tend to do extremely well.
For obvious reasons, smaller dogs with shorter legs or a lower energy level don’t do as well.
Your dog should be at least 9 months old since they are still growing and developing and probably don’t have the attention span needed to learn the commands. If you are working with a puppy make sure to limit any jumps to no higher than shoulder level since their joints are still developing and you could cause injury.
Generally you wouldn’t want to train a dog older than 8 years, although if your dog is still healthy and active and you keep the jumps to a minimum you might be able to do a modified course.
Your dog can gain many benefits such as, increased confidence, better behavior, physical health and well being, and a better bond with you. Allowing your dog a constructive way to burn off excess energy is also a good way to discourage bad behaviors such as chewing or bad toilet habits.
You can also benefit from this time spent building your skills and bonding with your dog.
If you and your dog would like the opportunity to build a stronger bond and learn new skills agility training for dogs might just be the way to go. It can be a really fun and challenging activity that will keep you and your dog mentally and physically healthy and strong.