The question is just who needs dog agility training? Isn’t it true that dogs are just naturally fit and agile, able to run, jump, chase Frisbees and balls.
The simple fact is that dogs are naturally gifted
athletes by their very nature. Most dogs have very muscular bodies in proportion to their weight. Because of this they are able to run very fast, jump high (you ought to see Mandy, our German Sheppard), and perform many types of spectacular stunts. The fact is, however, that dog agility training involves more than just training a dog to run or jump.
Dog agility training involves teaching your dog how to perform particular stunts and tasks on your command. It may include improving their time over an obstacle course. You can also teach them how to perform certain stunts in a special manner.
The type of dog agility training to which I refer would typically apply to show dogs. Show dogs need to run, jump or keep a certain pace according to to the show’s requirements. Besides that, those dogs also need to keep in step with their owner or trainer. They have to be able to follow an obstacle course in a specific order.
Your dog being able to learn how to perform all these things is only half the experience. Your dog needs to learn how to do these skills in a certain way, at a specific speed and when give a hand signal or a vocal command.
It is a pleasure to observe dogs that have undergone dog agility training. Before you embark on training your pet this way or consider enrolling them into a school for such training you should stop and consider certain things.
First, many schools that specialize in this type of training will only accept dogs that are at least 18 months old. There is a good reason for this. Younger dogs are still growing. If you try to force them to learn advanced or difficult tricks or routines, it is possible that you will stunt their growth or cause some long term damage.
The second thing is that it is important to keep the dog’s physical makeup in mind. Obviously, small breed dogs with their shorter legs cannot always perform jumps. Larger dogs, on the other hand, may have difficulty with tunnels. When you find a good school that provides dog agility training, they will take all of this into account. A good school will provide a curriculum that is appropriate to your dog’s breed and size. It is important for owner’s attemptimg to train their own dogs to take this same factors into consideration.
It is a common mistake to assume that dog agility training includes punishment for your dog when they do not perform as expected. Many experts say otherwise. It is much more effective to reward your dog when it performs well. Different trainers use various methods when training dogs. You can use clickers, treats or positive reenforcement for training your dog. Do your research and discover which method appeals to you. Keep in mind that dog agility training should be fun for both the dog and the owner. Dog training should not be a chore or a trauma for either one of you.
Keep in mind that not all dogs will respond in the same way to dog agility training. The plain truth of it is that some breeds are simply too skittish or hype to respond to commands. It is important that you do not allow your expectations to spoil your friendship with your dog.