What is Dog Agility?

Dog Agility with a Border Collie doing Weave PolesDog agility is a great sport for dogs, as it requires a dog to complete an obstacle course with the guidance of a human handler. This activity is all about speed and accuracy, as a dog usually can’t complete one of the obstacle courses without the help of a human to guide them. Training your dog for this sport is a great way to bond with your pet, as dog agility requires the usage of your dog’s instincts. Your dog will get the opportunity to use his or her natural instincts, as in the wild they have to force their way through the woods, where fallen trees and bushes are everywhere. Dog agility is also a great sport for keeping your dog in shape, and you as well as long as you are the handler during training and competitions.

The obstacle courses are far from simple and it would be a miracle if a dog completed one without the help of a human to guide them. Before competitions, the handlers are usually allowed a quick walk-through of the obstacle course. They take a quick walk through the course so they can get the best understanding of how they will guide their dogs; however they can’t bring their dogs with them. Although it doesn’t take long for the run to be over, the planning process might take longer as the handler figures out how they position themselves in the obstacle course.

Dog agility is a relatively new sport for dogs, as the first example of one was held in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. That example was at the Crufts Dog Show, and dogs were running around an obstacle course similar to a horse jumping course. Ever since the first demonstration of dog agility, people wanted to see more, and so the competitions spread around the world. Today, dog agility competitions are quite common and there are trainers who are willing to help both the owner and dog prepare for agility events. There are numerous obstacles, such as tunnels, ramps, teeter-totters, and jumps. In order to enter your dog in a competition you will have to dedicate a good amount of time into training your dog how to get through these obstacles.

Dog Agility Equipment

Dog Agility Equipment Set upIf you are looking to train your dog for agility at home rather than at a class with other dogs, then you will definitely need your own equipment. Most of the dog agility equipment is large and takes up a good amount of space, so make sure you have enough room for the equipment before making the purchase. Teeter-totters are about 10-12 feet long alone, so make sure your backyard has enough room for all the equipment. If you decide to purchase the equipment and train your dog for agility at home, then you and your dog will not be disappointed.

First, you should purchase tunnels and tunnel holders to ensure that the tunnel does not flip over when your dog is running through it. Tunnels can be bought or built, either way they are not that expensive and they come in different sizes. Tunnels are not the complicated to make, as they are just made out of wire and fabric, the wiring is used to develop the tunnel frame and the fabric is a cover.

Weave poles are the next thing you should purchase, as teaching your dog to weave around the poles takes time and patience. If your dog doesn’t get enough practice then it will be difficult to train him or her, as even when you take your dogs to classes they will recommend that you purchase weave poles for home training. It can be very entertaining to see your dog use the weave poles, so it’s definitely worth the money. However, weave poles are inexpensive, and you can even build your own using parts purchased from Home Depot or even Walmart. Of course, if you do a quick search online you will find many places that sell weave poles, they aren’t that expensive.

The next thing you will need to set up a dog agility course is the jumping equipment, which for home use, can be a single one-bar jump. With the help of a PVC pipe you can make your own jumping equipment, so don’t spend too much on it. If you want more advanced jumping equipment for your dog to train with then you should purchase double or triple jumps from an online store. Then there is the tire jumps, however they aren’t necessary for at-home agility training.

That’s all the dog agility equipment needed to set up your own course at home, anything else can be added if you have room but these are the main products that you need to have. The tunnel, weave poles and jumps will make training your dog for agility competitions much easier, as they can go to classes and also train at home for fun.

Here is a great video that shows you how to set up your own pet agility course…

Finding a Dog Breeder

Border Collie Puppies from Dog BreederFinding a dog breeder can be difficult depending on where you’re located, but when you’re looking for the perfect dog to teach agility, it’s more about picking the right puppy from a litter. If you are looking for an affordable dog breeder then it would be worth your time to check out your local Craigslist postings. Many people are rehoming puppies for under $100; just make sure you pick the right puppy. Try to meet the parents of the puppy in order to find out if the breeder knew what he or she was doing, as some breeders will sell you flea infested puppies from aggressive parents. There are certain traits you can look for to see if the puppy you want will be good at agility, but mainly you want a dog that is eager to please his owner.

Which dog breeds are the best for canine agility?

There is not a specific list of dog breeds that are best for canine agility; however some dogs are obviously bad choices. Your dog doesn’t even have to be purebred; mixes have performed well in competitions many times. Over 150 dog breeds have performed well in canine agility, so it is very likely that your dog is capable of learning and doing well. Obviously, an English bulldog will not be athletic enough for agility training and events, while a herding or working dog will likely be fantastic at agility.

How to Pick the Best Puppy – Traits to Look For

Basically, you want a dog that wants to please his or her owner, as these dogs are going to be easier to train. You also want a smart dog, so do a check online to see how smart the breed is, as some breeds are more intelligent than others. When you are picking out a puppy, pay close attention, as an eager to please dog will often make eye contact. Also, the puppy should be energetic and curious, not scared or overly calm. An energetic dog will love agility training, and you will not have to worry about some of the common behavioral problems that high energy dogs have when they don’t get proper exercise. So, you want an energetic dog that is eager to please you, and the breed is not that important, as long as the dog is athletic enough to jump a certain height. I have 2 goldendoodles. THey are very intelligent and love to learn. Our breeder for GoldenDoodle puppies was Blue Ridge Goldendoodles. There are jumping requirements for dogs who want to compete in agility competitions, you can find the information on  USDAA.com.

Resource: http://blueridgegoldendoodles.com/

How to Train Your Dog for Agility

Rough Collie Training for AgilityTraining your dog for agility is not an easy thing to do, which is why many people pay for classes instead of trying it at home. Of course, you can set up an agility course in your backyard so you can train at classes and at home if you want. Either way, training your dog for agility requires a good deal of time and patience. Classes can be quite expensive; however they will teach you and your dog, which is often necessary as most people don’t know how to train their dog for agility. It’s not as simple as teaching your dog basic commands, so it usually requires help from a professional or extremely experienced individual.

First, make sure that you have a dog that is capable of competing in agility competitions, as some dogs are not healthy or athletic enough to participate. Your best bet is to take a visit to the vet and see what a professional thinks about your dog’s ability to participate in that kind of activity. Make sure your dog knows basic commands and listens to you well. If you have problems getting your dog to do as you say and learn basic obedience training, then you will have to wait before starting agility training. If your dog is good for it, then you can get started.

Now you have a few choices, you can train your dog by yourself at home, or you can take classes with a professional dog trainer. Another option is to do both if possible, as doing both will ensure that your dog learns quickly. If you only train your dog at classes, then there are many hours of the day that your dog is missing out on practice. Actually, both you and your dog are missing out on practice, and if you want to compete then you will need the experience.

There are many tricks you will need to do your dog, such as climbing through tunnels or performing jumps. A dog agility course is full of obstacles that you and your dog need to be prepared for. Each organization has a different set of rules and different equipment used. You should take time out to look at the requirements for each organization; there are just a few of them. UKC, AKC, NADAC, and USDAA are the big four organizations and you should read through their rules and requirements before training your dog for agility.

Here’s a video with tips on dog agility training from a professional dog trainer. Learn how to train your dog for agility, then take action and join a class or start training at home. This video covers the basics of dog agility training.

Why Dog Agility is Good for Dogs…

Exercise benefits from agility - running through a tunnelNot all dog breeds are energetic and built for dog agility, and so this article only pertains to the 150+ dog breeds that are able to participate in agility competitions. Small, medium and large dogs can participate in dog agility, and it can be very therapeutic for them, as exercise will calm them down. Does your dog have excess energy? Dogs with excess energy often let it out in destructive ways, such as tearing up your home, chewing up furniture and ripping down curtains and lamps. Some dogs even get aggressive towards their owners, as they are too excited and can’t control their energy. When an energetic dog breed has excess energy and begins to misbehave, it is time to start exercising them. Going for a walk or a run every day will calm dogs down, but agility training will knock them out for the rest of the day.

Exercise is good for dogs just like it is good for us humans, so don’t think you will be harming the dog in any way. They love to exercise and learn new tricks, so teaching your dog agility is perfect. Agility is a healthy activity, one that stimulates the dog both physically and mentally, as they are learning and working hard to make it through an obstacle course. Keep your dog well fed and hydrated at all times and he will just fine. If your dog begins to get tired and its affecting the training, then take a break and give your dog a chance to catch his breath and relax.

Dog agility is good for dogs because it stimulates them in a way that regular exercise doesn’t.  The obstacles, jumping and crawling definitely make them use their brains a little more than they would with a jog around the block. This kind of stimulation will leave your dog satisfied, and if your dog has been destroying the house due to excess energy it will definitely be put to an end after a few agility training sessions.

Finally, dog agility is good for dogs and their owners because it gives them a chance to bond, which is enough to make everyone happy. Dogs are fun to be around and it’s really exciting to see your dog learn new moves as you help guide them through the different obstacles. There are so many dog agility benefits that one must experience it to fully understand what we are talking about. The dog’s health, bonding, and fixing behavior problems are just some of the dog agility benefits that you will commonly hear about. If you are interested in getting your dog involved, then get started as it’s a great experience.