Perhaps you?ve heard of agility training for dogs, and are wondering whether they might be good for the special Rover in your life. Or perhaps you recently saw some dog agility training equipment on sale at your pet store and wondered ? what the heck is that? No matter what got you interested in the topic of agility training, it?s a great interest to have. Agility training is good for you, for your pooch and for your relationship with one another. Convinced yet? It?s probably time to learn more.
What Is Agility Training for Dogs?
If you want a visual, you can compare agility training for dogs?to horse jumping. The sport uses an obstacle course to direct the dogs along a preordained path. The path might be set by you, by a course instructor or by judges at an official dog agility event. Dog agility courses contain several different types of obstacles, including tunnels, ramps, hurdles and more. The dog must follow the path by paying attention to human commands, giving them an opportunity to exercise their body while exercising their minds.
How Does Agility Training Help Your Dog?
Agility training for dogs is a huge benefit to both dog and owner. Unfortunately, family dogs today are not living out the same roles for which they were bred. Most dogs are meant for working: herding, hunting, running, and so forth. When they just lie around all day, they get bored, anxious, unfriendly, food-obsessed and otherwise behaviorally maladjusted. Agility training helps fix that. Its benefits include:
- A deeper relationship between dog and owner
- Greater use of mental faculties, which ?wears out? the dog much more effectively than even exercise does
- Excellent exercise
- Daily training tasks that interest the dog
- A schedule on which both dog and owner can rely on?for routine exercise and bonding
- Calming of multiple behavioral traits
- Establishment of you as the Alpha dog, because on the agility course you are the one to whom the dog looks for direction
Those aren?t the only benefits, but they are among the most important.
How Do You Get Started?
Because one of the most important components of this sport is the presence of dog agility training courses, most people choose to take a formal dog agility training class at the beginning. That way, you don?t have to buy or rent any equipment or head to special facilities and try to figure it out yourself. Instead, you can just head to your class in the company of other owners and animals?and learn about it in a comfortable beginning setting.
Many owners who enjoy agility training will continue going to classes, which progress from beginner levels through intermediate and advanced training. Dogs who are truly advanced understand the purpose of various obstacles and are excellent at taking direction from their owners, so the owner-animal team can aspire to ever-greater challenges.
Should You Compete?
You can choose to compete or not. If you do decide to have your dog compete in agility tournaments, you can expect to pay more in entrance fees and probably in professional classes as well, needed to get them ready for the big show. It’s important to be sure your dog is getting the necessary vitamins needed to compete as well. Products like NatureGood’s Hip + Joint?are great to help your dog stay active and enjoy a better quality of life.
However, many owners prefer to take a more sedate route. Instead of signing up for regular classes and then competing on a circuit half the year, they instead opt for a few introductory classes to teach them the basics of human-dog communication, then do it alone. It?s easy enough to make an obstacle course for your dog using typical garden instruments or kids? toys, and you don?t need to train or race competitively in order to give your dog that feeling of challenge and satisfaction that will keep them young and healthy.
If you decide to compete, however, you?ll want to assess your options carefully and choose a group that works for you. 3 Lost Dogs has an excellent list at the bottom of this article.
Give It a Go!
At the end of the day, your decision to engage in dog agility training or not will be based on several factors, including time, cost, energy and whether it?s a good fit for you and your dog. Make sure, however, that you give it enough of a go to really see whether it works for your dog. Chances are your pooch will love the exercise and mental stimulation, and agility training could become a lifelong obsession for both of you.
Are you considering agility training for your dog? Please let us know in the comments section below.