Dog Agility Training: The Rules
Agility training for dogs is more than a training, it has become a sport. It involves getting a dog to climb, weave, tunnel, and jump through a series of obstacles efficiently. But let’s focus on the training part first.
Are you ready?
The first rule for agility training is knowing if you and your dog are both ready to go through this training. Your dog needs to be a full grown adult dog and mentally and physically ready for the tasks to be presented to him.
Your dog should be in good physical condition. You can check in with your vet and discuss your intent to do agility courses with your dog. You’ll be advised whether your dog is ready or if he needs a little more time to prepare.
You should also be ready and committed to this training. You will need to devote a lot of time, effort, and patience. If you’ll be the one doing the training with your dog, you need to be physically ready. You can also have a handler, if you prefer a professional doing the training with your dog.
Is it fun?
Of course it is fun. As long as you make it fun for your dog. Make sure to use positive reinforcement with all training you wish to go over with your dog. Always have treats, smiles, and positive vocal tones ready.
Do not pressure your dog. Once he feels the pressure your dog might just not cooperate with the training. It’s okay if he makes mistakes or takes a bit longer. Take your time in doing the courses with him. Do not give him an angry look or use an angry tone of voice with him.
Remember that positive reinforcement if far better than punishments.
Has he had basic obedience training?
Before you go and start you agility training, you have to understand that your dog should have a good grasp of the basics of his obedience training. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting a lot of time trying to get him through agility training.
In order to get you’re be successful with agility training, your dog should be obedient as he will be given commands that he needs to follow.
If he knows the basic commands and has a good grasp of his obedience training, it will be easier to give train him for new commands needed in his agility training.
Are you careful with giving directions?
Remember that agility training is a series of obstacle courses that your dog must maneuver through. It is important that you are deliberate in giving out directions or commands to your dog.
You don’t have to yell or raise your voice at your dog when you’re giving out directions. You just have to be firm – positive but firm. Be clear with what you want him to do and give that command clearly.
Second guessing yourself when you give the commands won’t help either. So look at the course, then firmly give the command necessary.
Observe and make necessary corrections
Lastly, make sure to observe your dog as he goes through every obstacle. Correct him if he makes errors, but do not scold him. Gentle and patiently correct any errors or bad behaviors your dog may have shown as he maneuvers through the courses. Again, always use positive reinforcement.
Agility training involves a lot of work and a whole lot of dedication. Who knows, your dog could be a player in agility competitions.