March 9, 2016

The Benefits of Agility

Author: Gail Brasie


Agility Can Be Fun For Many Types Of Dogs

Walking and daily play with your dog is rewarding and fun for both of you, but do you and your pet yearn for more activity and challenge in your lives? Is your pup bored? Some dogs benefit enormously from having a “job” to do. If this is the case for your floofin, consider agility classes and competitions.

Agility is a kind of timed obstacle course for you and your dog—although you won’t be expected to jump over bars or crawl through tunnels—that’s your dog’s job. During agility, your dog needs to successfully navigate an obstacle course in the correct order and within a certain length of time with as few mistakes as possible. Courses will vary, and each organization has their own rules. There’s so much for your dog to do in agility! Some of the various obstacles include:

  • Jumps
  • Tunnels
  • Teeter-Totters
  • Contacts (places where the dog must make “contact” with his paws)
  • Weave Poles
  • A-Frames

Certain obstacles are harder than others; weave poles, for instance, are considered one of the most difficult obstacles encountered. Jumps are common and often great fun for the dog. Concentration and training are essential, and agility is a beautiful way for your dog to put her thought-power to the test, as well as a great outlet for energy.

Your job is directing your dog through the course, without treats or physically touching her. Generally, you lose points based on the number of “faults” in your dog’s performance, like going over the time limit, doing the obstacles out of order, failing to complete the course or a specific obstacle, etc.

Despite the amount of work involved for your dog (or because of it!) agility can be wonderful fun for all types of dogs. Additionally, the bond that forms from the intensive training required is one of the best rewards of agility. The whole thing is really based on the communication between you and your pet, and this kind of bonding very well may follow you off the course and into your day-to-day lives together.

If the competition aspect makes you cringe or dismiss the idea of agility altogether, keep in mind you don’t have to compete to reap the rewards of agility. Several training clubs will allow you to take classes without entering competitions, so you and your dog can do agility without the stress of competition. For those of you who relish competitive sports, the chance to have your dog win may be too great to pass up.

Remember, safety is more important than winning, and because of the nature of the sport, safety needs to be the top priority. Another thing to keep in mind is that agility is not for every dog. Some dogs just won’t be interested in this sport and some dogs, based on age, physical fitness level, and health concerns, shouldn’t go through the stress of agility. Also, save the agility training for when your puppy is fully grown; it may seem like a perfect way to direct that off-the-wall puppy energy, but jumping isn’t good for their growing joints.

If you’re on the lookout for fun, challenging and intense activities for you and your dog, you may consider enrolling your floofin in an agility class.

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