Dog agility training is an integral part of agility competitions. Forget about Best in Show, agility training is all about skill. Thousands of Americans and their beloved best friends compete in agility trials all over the country, winning ribbon after ribbon. Dogs of all varying skills compete in various sections, but overall, these canines must complete agility tasks that include certain equipment.
Whether your goal is to buy and RV and roam the country entering every agility competition you can find, or simply want to train your dog to be more agile, we will look at the following equipment used by the pros.
This is an easy one to start off with. However,about half the dogs who encounter a tunnel find it unnatural and scary. The feeling of being enclosed is too much for some dogs, however, they can get rid of this fear. If your dog is weary of tunnels, start with short one, about 3 feet long. You’ll need to people to train. One to stay with the dog on one side and another on the other side coaxing the dog with a treat. Over time, you can increase the length of the tunnel.
This is another piece of agility equipment that is easy to start with. Keep in mind, however, that it’s not about how high the dog jumps, but rather performing the action of jumping, regardless of how high. In fact, training your dog to jump too high at first will only put unnecessary stress and wear and tear on their muscles and joints.
Weave poles are all about muscle memory and probably the hardest to teach in an effective way. The pattern created by weave poles is difficult for dogs to understand at first. To combat this, enclose the weave pole area in wire mesh to help your dog learn the weaving pattern. Note: Weave poles are not recommended for dogs under a year old. The constant bending is not healthy for developing dogs.
Cone sets are helpful to teach commands like left, right, and go around. By using cones your dog learns to follow commands while working away from you. This easily translates to the agility field where your dog will have to work on their own while following your commands from a distance.
Teeters are another challenging piece of equipment used for agility training. It’s best to start with a low teeter with a 4 inch drop otherwise you’ll scare your dog to death! As your dog becomes more confident, you can raise the height of the teeter.
The Bottom Line
When training a dog in agility, it’s not about having control over the dog. It’s about keeping the dog confident and having fun while doing it. To do this, always start off small. Low, not high, and gradually increase the dog’s confidence as you increase the agility challenges. Seeking a professional to help you get started is also a good idea.