my dog do agility?
Baby steps in training
Basic Do's and
of the obstacles
Tips for each obstacle
What to Call Each Obstacle
dogs that are slow, scared, stubborn and crazy!
Entering a competition
Groups, discussion boards etc.
Can my dog do agility?
Age, Breed and Obedience Issues.
Age. Two common questions people have is "Can I start training my
puppy?" and "Can my older dog do agility?". The
answer is yes to both questions, within reason. To compete in agility your dog
needs to be at least a year old, but you can start to train your puppy earlier
than that. Keep in mind, however, that your dog's joints are still forming, so
jump heights should be about elbow height for the first year. Puppies will also
be more awkward and their attention span shorter. So be very patient and keep
the lessons brief. The same principles apply to older dogs. Their joints are
weaker, and they will tire more easily, so lessons should be shorter. The jump
heights might have to be lowered. Many of the organizations now have special
classes for older dogs. AKC calls these "preferred" classes, which is
a class that feature lowered jump heights. But be careful that you do not get so
caught up into competing that you are not sensitive to your dogs aging needs.
Dogs are so anxious to please that they may push themselves one day, and pay for
it the next.
Breed. You will see all shapes and sizes of
dogs (and people) doing agility.... this is one of the wonderful things about
the sport! You may think to yourself, "my dog can never do that, he's too
small", but in agility classes and trials, your tiny little guy will have
lowered jumps, a lower table, and will be competing against other dogs his size.
For example, he might be running in the 6" or 8" jump height division,
and that class will have lower time limits (because it takes longer for small
dogs to run a course than big dogs). Large breeds also can do agility, but their
bulkier size requires negotiating some of the obstacles more carefully. Also be
aware that some breeds take more patience than others. Even a bull dog can do
those obstacles, providing you find the special treat or toy that really
motivates him. Some dogs are highly motivated simply with praise.
Obedience. Can crazy out-of-control dogs do
agility? Yes, as long as you make your training sessions more exciting than the
other things around your dog that typically makes him go crazy! See the article
on "Problem Dogs" for tips on how to do this. It is not necessary that
your dog has formal obedience training if you want to do agility just for fun.
If you want to be more successful at it, however, your dog must know some basic
obedience commands such as stay, sit, and lie down. Heeling is helpful. While
taking a class is invaluable, you can (at home) train obedience and agility at
the same time. Some people train their dogs to sit for the first time using the
pause table obstacle, for example.
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