Agility is defined as a combination of balance, speed, endurance, coordination, reflexes and stamina in relation to moving the body’s position. Without agility, a person would not be able to react to stimulus such as sports, whether as a spectator or an active participant. For a dog, agility plays an important role in his physical well-being for exercise as well as his ability to enjoy running, jumping and playing catch with his master. Agility keeps your dog younger and healthier.
If you have ever watched a dog show on television then you have seen the results of Dog Agility Training. When the master runs each dog through a series of hoops, planks, through a tunnel, over and under fence poles, which is dog agility training. When the dog follows commands such as sit, heel, and stay and follows commands with or without the leash, and comes, he is using dog agility training.
Age Limits for Dog Agility Training
There are no age limits for dog agility training. The oldest and youngest person or dog able to train and is trainable can participate in dog agility training. They recommend that even the youngest child begin training their dog as a puppy for the best results. As the long as the dog is in good health training can begin no matter what breed it is.
A leather halter or webbed buckle collar and lead made of either rope, leather strap or nylon rope for the dog, and comfortable running shoes and clothes for the handler, as the handler will be going through the training too.
Training Courses for Dogs
There are two types of agility training courses for dogs. Obstacle training includes the A-frame, walking planks, the teeter-totter, the tunnel and the low jump. The A-frame is the best tool in obstacle training. It is usually three feet wide at the bottom and eight to nine feet tall. The painted section on the lower part of each upright are painted a different color and indicate a contact zone where the dog is required to place at least one paw ascending and descending. The walking plank is a ramp on either side of a flat surface. The ramps also have a contact zones at the bottom of each ramp. Some organizations require the ramps built with slats. There is the teeter-totter with contact zones and the board is placed off-center to the same side always returns to the ground. The tunnel constructed of flexible tube will be placed in a straight line or any turn configuration the judge desires. The low jumps will be different heights depending on the height of the dog running the course. They may be different shapes, sizes and colors.
Control training is the discipline part of the training. There are many commands used off and on the course that a dog must learn for a handler to have control of their dog at all times. These do not only include the heel and sit command. The dog must have a close relationship with the handler because commands must be given and obeyed immediately. They can be verbal commands or the use of body language. The handler often is given a course map just prior to the competition and allowed to run through it himself to determine how he will execute the commands. The judge can arrange the course any way he chooses. The course will makes twists and turns, including U-turns and 270-degree turns and it may even cross back over itself. The handler must have complete control of the dog at all times while on the course because there will even be obstacles between the handler and the dog at times and sometimes obstacles next to each other. The dog must make proper choices when it comes to the obstacle in front of him and obey which to take. The dog will run the course with the handler running next to him giving the commands.
Dog Agility Training Tips
Training a dog can be easy if the proper techniques are used. It starts with simple commands and the tunnel is a good starting point for novice dogs. Having the dog chase a toy or go to its master at the other end of the tunnel are good starting points. Training your dogs to run through the poles can be more challenging. Using the dog’s collar to guide him through the poles at first or staggering the poles wide at first then slowly moving them in closer and closer until the dog will run through them on its own. There are training classes available in many areas. Most of all remember that it is supposed to be fun for the handler and the dog.