What To Know About Starting Agility Training with Your Dog

    Dog agility shows began in 1978 and showcase the awesome athletic talent of dogs. Ready to get involved with your pup? There are many training styles and programs to help you along the way, and you can tailor the hobby to your budget. You can splurge on state-of-the-art equipment or create your own.

    Training is not always one-size-fits-all, some things will just not work for you, whereas it is the only thing that may work for another person. It is imperative for you to diligently research so you can find an exercise that is just right for you and your furry companion. This training isn’t just for obedience, it will also create a strong bond and form of communication that will last your dog’s lifetime

    Types of Equipment

    Weave Poles can be made by putting 10 to 15 sticks in a row. Be sure to leave enough space in between the poles so your dog can weave between them easily.

    Tunnels are a fun part for both children and dogs. You may borrow a child’s pop up tunnel or create a makeshift tunnel using cardboard boxes.

    Jumps are quite easy to make yourself. You can use cinder blocks, plywood, or a limbo-type set-up.

    Teeter Boards are a bit more difficult to recreate. Depending on the size of your dog, you can build a sawhorse, attach a dual hinge and bolt the board to the hinge and horse. Be sure to alter the height for your dog.

    Tire Jumps don’t need to be monster truck tires. As long as your dog will fit while jumping through, it won’t be a problem, even if it’s just a bicycle tire.

    Pause Tables can be anything that will fit your dog’s entire body as long as it is stable. Your dog will be jumping onto this surface, and their body weight will need to be supported.

    Dogwalks are similar to the catwalks that you see gymnasts use. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a stable, elevated board that your dog can balance on while walking.

    Tools, Tips, and Tricks

    Agility training isn’t just for the athletic types, it is for everyone and every breed. There is a common misconception that the trainers need to be professional or in shape and that agility only pertains to large dog breeds. This is simply not true, as long as a person is educated and motivated, they can be a trainer. Your dog learns from your body language and movements, as well as the tone of voice while training.

    With agility training, especially competitive agility shows, your dog’s body is being put under pressure. You must be sure that your dog is happy and healthy, so be cautious during training on hot days and always have water available. It is recommended that you always consult with your veterinarian before starting training.

    Dogs get more than just exercise from agility. Going through the obstacle course stimulates your dog’s brain and releases endorphins making your dog feel good. You’ll also notice that they’re seemingly more responsive to commands, this is because they have started to view training as playing.

    You Don’t Need To Drain Your Wallet

    Money is an issue for many people, but training doesn’t have to be draining! Training costs time and effort more than it does money. You can spend an hour a week at a professional training facility, or 20 minutes a day at home. Many handlers offer free trials or very inexpensive, discounted classes.

    There are a variety of products and tools out there to assist you in training. The prices and uses are quite varied, but there is certainly something for everyone. From easy, handheld clicker for good behavior to rechargeable dog shock collars. While training it is crucial that you follow through with punishments as well as rewards. Having a stable, regular routine will make this training phase much easier.

    Starting, Succeeding and Failures

    As you may have guessed, beginning the training is the toughest part. Your dog may be distracted, overexcited or may refuse to have any part of it. It will take much time and patience to get them to run through the course successfully, so don’t expect it to happen overnight, or even in the first week or so. Praise and reassurance are very important at this time, your dog wants to please you, you have to teach them how.

    After some time together, your dog, and possibly you, too, will begin looking forward to these training sessions. These will be the moments you will bond and will strengthen your relationship, as well as form a means of communication.

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    • Tom La Vecchia

      Founder of New Theory & X Factor Media

      Founder and Publisher of New Theory Magazine and Podcast. Serial Entrepreneur who loves wine, cigars and anything that allows to people to connect and share experiences.

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