Millions of dog owners all over the world invest time and effort in dog agility training for a number of reasons. They use it to teach their dogs obedience, give them exercise and to bond with them. However, there are also numerous dog owners that use dog agility training for competitive purposes. Any dog can compete, even older dogs, and most dogs enjoy the activities. Some dogs are, by nature, better suited to dog agility training, while others might not be as easy to train for trials.
Some breeds that historically do very well in agility trials include:
- Border Collie
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Australian Shepherd
There is no best breed for agility, but there are some characteristics that make some dogs more suitable for agility than others. They include:
- Good physical condition
- Being naturally active and enjoying active pursuits
- Social nature
- Curious nature
Before you even consider putting your dog in an agility trial, he should have some basic skills and training, most notably obedience training. A successful agility trial for you and your dog will be determined by how well your dog understands basic commands. At the very least, he should understand and obey commands like “sit,” “down,” “stay,” “watch,” “come” (for off-leash recall),” and “Ok.” Knowing more formal commands isn’t necessary (though can be helpful). If your dog hasn’t had obedience training, you and he will appreciate the benefit obedience training can have on his ability to do well with dog agility training.Your dog should possess some basic physical qualities before you consider putting him or her in agility trials. You should carefully look at your dog for the following qualities. While these are similar to those that might be considered in dog shows, it’s not about conforming to a particular breed standard but rather conforming to a particular physical ability for the rigors of the agility trial ahead. In short, your dog should have good proportion for his breed (you can look up the standards for your dog’s breed and then see how well he conforms) and should be free of hip, joint and feet problems. An agility dog won’t be overweight, but neither will he be underweight. It’s best if your dog is at an ideal weight for his breed. While a dog that is just entering agility training doesn’t have to be in tip-top shape (that will occur naturally as he moves through dog agility training and begins to compete), he should be in decent physical health before you begin training him.
The most important thing any dog owner can know is that any dog can participate in agility trials. No matter how small, large or old, your dog can likely learn the basics needed to compete in agility trials.
While competition is referred to here, it’s good to remember that many people set up agility courses in their backyards and never enter their dogs in competitions. They and their dog or dogs just enjoy the activity.
Dog agility training has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more dog owners investing time and effort into it. This competitive edge can definitely give dogs and owners alike a sense of accomplishment and enhance the bonding experience and will also help to socialize your dog and give him or her skills for so many elements of his or her life.
Before you can enjoy the benefits of dog agility training competition, though, you need to find somewhere to compete. You can find all of your local competition organizations online and contact them. There are dog agility training clubs all over the world so they will not be difficult to find. However, you should be aware of the fact that many of them have different requirements in terms of the level of behavior, level of competition and level of overall contribution and other rules regarding competition. It’s best to check all of the relevant information out before contacting the dog agility training club in question.