Agility training for dogs is a great way to channel all of their abundant energy, and give it a productive outlet. The agility training gets him into the best shape of his life, and also increases his mental sharpness through problem solving.
A dog that is well exercised and happy is much more likely to refrain from bad behaviors. After all that training activity he will just want to relax-he’ll be too tuckered out to cause mischief.
Of course, not all dog breeds are well suited for agility training. For instance, dogs descended from the working breeds such as Retrievers, Shepherds, Herding Breeds (collies, cattle dogs) Spaniels and Terriers are physically more suited for the agility training than very large breeds such as Great Danes, St. Bernards or a Mastiff. That is because the larger dog breeds are more likely to tire quickly and don’t have the active personality needed for this activity. If a breed of dogs is too small, it is also unable to meet the physical demands of agility training-for instance, they can’t make it over the jumps.
If your dog seems to have the right personality (very athletic and energetic), you might want to train your dog for agility contests. Make sure you have already obedience trained your dog before trying to teach him the agility exercises. That is because your dog will really need to listen and pay attention to your directions and hand signals to do the agility tricks required.
On the agility course, your dog will need to follow your hand signals to turn left or right, go fast or slow, etc. So, get a good foundation first with obedience training that includes using dog training hand signals, before you even start in with the agility training.
Wait until your dog has grown to full size prior to starting the agility training. A puppy won’t be ready for the obstacle courses until he has become full grown. That usually means waiting until your puppy is at least a year or so old, (perhaps a bit longer for a larger breed) to get started with the agility training exercises. This kind of training for dogs over about 8 years old is not recommended since the training is harder for an aging dog’s body to handle.
If you want to see a close up example of how the agility training is done, look up a Dog Agility Club in your area and check it out. I think you will really enjoy watching the dogs perform the obstacle course. If you have seen a competition on TV, you already know how amazing these dogs are. Obviously the agility training prepares the dogs to do some amazing tricks. Without some very good training and ability, there is no way a dog could perform these courses.
When you watch an agility match, it is obvious that both the dogs and their trainers are really enjoying themselves. Any dog lover will get a kick out of seeing the end results of the agility training. It is no wonder so many people are becoming interested in dog agility clubs.
Through the agility training exercises, your dog will learn how to do things like crawl through a tunnel, walk over a teeter-tooter, jump over hurdles, climb up and down a tall A-frame structure, and weave his way through a series of “weave poles”. By combining all these exercises together, your dog will be sharp both mentally and physically. Another good side benefit of the training will also be exercising you right along with your dog.
To get started with agility training for your own dog (if he fits the profile of being physically active and the right size for the training) check out to see if there is an agility training club near you. Don’t be intimidated by how difficult the exercises look. By teaching each step progressively the training becomes something you and your pet can handle.