Dog Agility Tips and Tricks: the Easy Way
By: Tippy & Turbo, senior editors of our dog care section.....
It is well known that a new puppy will learn faster and
better than an adult dog. But that doesn't exclude older
dogs from beginning Agility Training. When deciding whether
or not you want to pursue Agility Training with your dog you
should ask some basic questions.
1. Is my dog impeded by old age?
2. Does my dog have any ailment or disease that would hinder it?
3. Does my dog have any kind of genetic defect that hinder movement?
4. Does may have trouble learning basic tricks?
5. Is my dog stubborn and disobedient?
6. Does my dog like to lie around and dislike being active?
If you answered yes to any of these questions than you may
want to think twice before deciding to pursue Agility
Training. You want a dog that would benefit from the extra
obedience training and exercise, a dog that loves to please
you and likes a lot of exercise.
Naturally there are some dog breeds that would do better at
Agility Training than other dogs. And in some competitions
they only allow purebred dogs to participate. Keep this in
mind. That doesn't mean that you can't compete in
competitions if you don't have a purebred, it just means at
national or highly publicized Agility Contests your dog may
not be eligible to compete because it doesn't have papers or
is a mixed breed.
The main issue with an older dog in beginning Agility
Training would be that there may be some tricks that the dog
will need to unlearn before it can do Agility Training.
That's fine if you are patient and the dog is smart and
eager to please. Remember, the more patient, dedicated and
consistent you are, the quicker your dog will learn.
There are a lot of approaches to Dog Agility Training; below
we have briefly described some methods that are used.
The first thing you want to do with your dog is to get your
dog stronger and with better agility and stamina. It is in
your best interest to do physical exercises with your dog.
If you improve your dog's physical health you will have a
dog that will live longer, and also a dog that will be able
to withstand the rigors of Agility Training.
It isn't just teaching your dog a few tricks and thereby you
can do Agility. Your dog must be able to go through several
obstacles on your command and do it precisely and as quickly
as possible off lead and by your voice commands alone. Some
dogs are just incapable of this level of physicality. Dogs
that are bred to be lap dogs usually don't have the energy
to do this type of training.
The best and easiest way to approach Agility Training is by
making it fun for you and the dog. Dogs love to play just
like children like to play. So turn the exercises and
training into games where your dog knows you are having a
good time and you can introduce the different obstacles to
it in a fun way. This makes your dog happy about the
exercises because you both are going to have fun doing
Agility and going through the different obstacles.
If you don't have enough space to set up your own agility
course for training then you need to promote agility any way
that you can. There is portable equipment that you can take
to the park with you, or smaller "mini" agility obstacles
that you can use in your home.
Don't think that you can't teach your dog Agility because
you don't have a backyard. A lot of Agility is about
obedience as well, and training your dog to obey different
commands when you give them will help you a lot as well. You
should sit down and figure out which commands you want to
associate with each obstacle so that neither you nor the dog
Limit Your Time
A dog will devote itself to you and be just as passionate to
please you as you are to do Agility. So it is really your
determination that will see that your dog becomes good at
Agility. You should practice for a limited amount of time
every day and reward your dog afterward for a job well done.
Praise your dog when it does an obstacle exceptionally well
and treat it.
You want to start out with a few minutes and then extend the
time you do agility up to a couple of hours. You need to
keep in mind that although your dog is eager to please you
will need to rest. It is very hard work going through the
obstacles and learning to do so properly on command. Take
breaks where it's just you and your dog and lavish affection
Remember never to end on a negative note when training. You
want to keep it fun and entertaining for you and your dog.
It is important to know your limits and the limits of your
dog. A dog that is pushed too hard too fast will not perform
well and will grow to dislike Agility.
Dog Agility is about three basic principles: Agility,
Obedience and Accuracy. You have to be accurate and so does
your dog. You both have to have the physical endurance and
stamina to go through an Agility Course. And you must have
absolute obedience on the part of the dog so that it doesn't
become injured on the obstacle course. Be patient and be
kind to your dog, which is doing this not for itself but for
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