Do you have a high-energy dog on your hands that you think would benefit from having a positive outlet for all that excess energy?
Dog agility might be the answer you’ve been looking
for. Combining speed, accuracy and obedience, this canine sport utilizes your dog’s physical and mental prowess while also building an even stronger relationship between you.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, dog agility is a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles. Consequently, the handler’s controls are limited to voice, movement, and various body signals, requiring exceptional training of the animal and coordination of the handler.
In its simplest form, an agility course consists of a set of standard obstacles laid out by a judge in a design of his or her own choosing in an area of a specified size. Obstacles include jumps, tunnels, see-saws, weave poles and A-frames. Dog and handler must complete the course as quickly as possible, and any errors are faulted as added time.
Not only will regular practice and dedication to training in agility improve your dog’s physical and mental well-being, but you will also notice overtime a closer relationship between you and your pup. This sport builds a strong foundation in obedience, but also teaches your dog to attune to your every move and que, which translates to both on and off the course.
Getting started is pretty simple. There are plenty of DIY obstacle courses and training techniques you can find on the internet, but if you’d rather have the extra help and resources, look for a local class in your area. Classes can range from private to large groups and are led by experienced handlers who can introduce you and your dog to the world of agility.
Keep in mind, two or three classes usually aren’t enough to start running through an obstacle course perfectly. Agility takes lots of time and practice, not to mention patience! But the rewards are big and, who knows? Maybe sometime down the road this could be you and your faithful friend: