What could be more exciting than navigating an obstacle course with your dog at a pace? Running, jumps, tunnels, cones, weave poles, frames, ramps, seesaws and platforms present some of the challenges.
If your dog doesn’t fit the look of the kind of breeds you usually see doing agility, please don’t shy away. If your dog is physically sound and fit, the benefits are great. The jumps are light, made of PVC and set so they will not cause injury if hit. They are also set in accordance with your dog’s individual height.
It is not every dog that can begin right away in a group setting and if this is the case for you, a trainer can help you prepare. In the early stages you would join a beginner class and start by developing a working relationship and building self-control in a distracting environment. This is taught via games and rewards. Your ‘teamwork’ will begin ‘on leash’
Your dog will learn body awareness and how to use his body and how to interact with the obstacles. You get to learn how to navigate and direct your dog and eventually progress to ‘off leash’. The dog will progress at his own pace.
Your dog gets to…
– reap the benefits of mental and physical stimulation
– regularly be around other people and other dogs
– learn how to ignore distractions
– practice self control (staying on task)
– enjoy taking direction
– build confidence
You get to…
– practice training your dog positively
– recognise and build your dog’s drive
– develop your relationship whilst working as a team
– increase your own fitness
– convince your dog that playing with you is ‘wonderful’
Building a dog’s confidence also helps to extinguish anxiety. Most folks don’t own agility equipment at home but you can still do homework with games.
If you are seeking some fun and excitement for your dog, this might just be the sport for you. Find your local club and investigate. Speak to anyone already doing agilityand find out just how addictive it can be.
Leah & Angela O’Meara
Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Cares Brisbane)