Training your Dog‘s Agility
An active, agile dog makes for a fun pet and no matter what your reasons for owning a pet is, be it for entertainment, security or just for bonding purposes, your dog will be required to be agile and active enough. If he is not agile enough, there are some agility training procedures that you can make your dog undergo to ensure he maintains a high level of agility.
First, you need to know your obedient dog and know what makes him think, as well as what he is able to do. You do not need to be a dog trainer to train your dog. You should also know yourself and how far you are able to go with your dog as far as agility training is concerned. You may be a born athlete or not, what matters is you are interested in taking your dog through agility training which can be quite high-paced for you as much as for your dog. However, if you are unable to go through such intense activity, you can hire the service of an instructor who can train you in the art of agility distance control. This makes it possible for you to just stay on a spot while your dog does all the running around and agility exercises.
Agility training should be started as early as possible right from the moment the puppy starts moving around. Note however the kind if activities your pup will be involved in, simply because his bones and muscles are still in the developing stages. You can let the puppy walk on different surfaces so he can get used to them. Don does not allow him to climb over standard agility equipment or do high jumps until he has grown older and stronger. You should also get to know your dog properly if he enjoys being with people or other animals. Agility training involves competing with people or other dogs in form of races and competitions. If your dog does not enjoy being with others, then the true test of his ability will not be realised.
So, to get started on an agility course in your backyard, there are some materials you would need which are readily available at local hardware stores, a market close to you or even within your home. These materials will be used as obstacles as a basic agility course would be incomplete if your dog is not trained with these obstacles.
Using a tire jump involves having your dog jump through the hole in a tire while the tire is strung to the branch of a tree or any other support. This agility training trains your dog to be able to jump and be precise while at it. You can get an old car or bicycle tire and tie it to a tree branch. The opening in the tire should be large enough to allow your dog through. At the beginning of the training, hold the tire for your dog to jump through.
This is another obstacle that helps train your dog’s jumping power. You can start with low heights, then gradually increase the height as your dog grows. You can construct standard jumps by piling several cinderblocks and placing plywood on top of them. Adjust the height of the standard jump to suit the height of your dog.
Weave poles help train your dog’s ability to avoid obstacles in its way and find its way around things. You can construct weave poles by drilling PVC pipe or ski poles into the ground. Let there be enough space in between each of the poles so your dog can easily meander through the poles.
Any kind of table would be suitable for this as long as it is firm and stable. Get a table, e.g. an old coffee table that is not too tall.
A dog walk can be improvised by using a picnic bench or by placing a long piece of plywood across two cinder blocks.
You can purchase a children’s tunnel, preferably one that is made from plastic and is collapsible. This can be used as an obstacle which your dog can crawl through.
With this hardware and obstacles in place, you are good to go on with your dog’s agility training. However, before you get started on this training, your dog must have mastered other forms of dog training and obedience. The fundamental commands such as come, go, sit, stay should have been mastered by your dog.
Agility training for your dog will require you to teach your dog how to jump over hurdles, jump through tires, and crawl through tunnels, weave through poles amongst other activities. At the beginning of the training, go slowly and gradually your dog will pick up the needed skills. Once your dog has mastered the necessary commands, you can then increase the pace and focus on his accuracy and speed.
An important fact to also note is to figure out what motivates your dog. Is it food? Is it some other object such as a tennis ball? Some dogs enjoy fetching so you can introduce this into the training and monitor the progress. Also, treats and toys should not be withheld for every successful task your dog completes. This makes the dog feel encouraged and will look forward to getting those treats from you.
You should also set achievable goals at the start of each agility training lesson. Try as much as possible to achieve these goals and even after achieving your set goals, you might as well go further. Overall, the most important part of having an agility training session with your dog is having fun. It is a great opportunity for you and your dog to create a special bond. You work with your dog, learn new skills with him and this is a great way to bond. It would be a much easier activity if the focus is on how well your dog is able to master these skills, rather than how quickly he can.