By Joel Walsh
Without agility, the most muscular person in the world
win a fight against a fifth-grader. But did you know that for
dog agility is possibly even more important?
With so many of a dog's happiest moments spent running,
jumping, catching, and stretching, dog agility training can
really help dogs age gracefully and happily.
What is dog agility training?
You’ve probably seen dog agility training on television. The
dogs run a course of tire hoops, tunnels, seesaw, dog walk
plank, jumps, hurdles, weaving poles, and a 3-meter A-frame.
Heeling, sitting, down stays, send-aways as well as walking
leash are also included.
Who can participate?
Anyone with a dog can do agility training. There is not age
limit for people or dogs. In fact, children and puppies are
encouraged to take part. All breeds and sizes of dogs without
physical disability can benefit from agility training. Be sure
to check with your vet before you begin agility training if
have any doubts about your canine’s fitness.
What equipment is needed?
You as the handler will need comfortable shoes and clothes
you can run in, because this is not exercise for the dog
Your dog needs a leather or webbed buckle collar and a
nylon or rope lead of fairly long length. Do not use a chain
lead; it could get caught in the jumps.
Agility Training Courses for Dogs
There are two sides of agility training for dogs. They are the
obstacles and the control training. There are also tips for
training your dog.
1. Obstacles. Although it seems high to many handlers, the
A-frame is the best obstacle to begin training. The dog walk
plank, low jump and the tunnel (dogs love this obstacle) are
also excellent for training the novice dog.
2. Control training is important to keep your dog disciplined
both on the agility course and off. Everybody knows that a dog
must heel and sit. You must also teach your dog to know and
obey different commands: to go left and right, lay down, and
wait. After those are mastered, the dog must learn normal
recall (returning anytime you call) and recall over obstacles.
Also important is the “send away” command, making the dog go
Tips for Dog Agility Training
• Begin training by getting your dog’s attention.
• Talk to him and offer a small treat. Coupled with the love
has for you, he’ll be all ears.
• Be sure you have the correct lead (generally 6 feet) and a
comfortable collar (measure the dog’s neck and add 2 inches)
for your dog.
• Give praise often.
• “Tune in” to your dog to be sure she and you are ready to
Here’s a final tip: Make sure that you and your dog enjoy
yourselves. After all, jumping through hoops is supposed to be
fun--at least if you're a dog.
About The Author: Joel Walsh has written more tips on dog
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