Dog Agility Training
By Zahid Sindhu
During the competition, the dogs show how they are in charge of their movements and their skill as they navigate around a path, without a leash, in positions that necessitate unexpected changes and levels of complexity. The contests have specific obstacles, grading, and measures they anticipate from each of the dogs that have entered. To receive outstanding marks for your dog, you need to be completely prepared prior to the day of the competition. The goal of a competition is for the dogs to prove to the judges and their trainers their responsiveness. You will want to spend time readying your dog in the areas of nimbleness physically (he will need to this for quick movements through weaving), self-control, and fortitude. You and your dog will need to develop an excellent team-working relationship so the dog’s ability to listen to your commands (or hand signals) is paramount to success in this sport.
You can begin training your dog for this sport as early as puppy stage (around four months old). Training during this time is more like playing and that is what the dogs like the most anyway. You never want to make the puppies jump over poles as their bones are not strong enough, but you can begin teaching them the general idea by having them cross over a pole on the ground and as they grow begin raising it until they are at competition level. Puppies love to run – in and through everything – so training them to go through tunnels is actually quite easy. As you are training your puppies to learn basic commands you can incorporate those same commands to get them through the tunnels. This same principal applies to teaching them how to lie down on the table. They will learn the quickness of the table early. You can use a touch stick to begin introducing the aspect of weaving through the poles to the puppies (they love any type of activity where they can move). Puppies are so enthusiastic to learn and so happy to please. They pick things up fast. Once a puppy learns an obstacle, they will not forget it. Another advantage to teaching the obstacles of an agility sport to the puppies is the socialization they are getting with each other.