Those planning to institute a regimen of dog agility training need to be prepared to donate a lot of time, effort and praise on teaching their dog the tricks of the agility trade. Dog agility training can be common among breeds as well as size as most agility contests are based on the animal’s size and relative ability based on past competitions, as opposed to breed. Teaching the dog to conquer an obstacle course neither it nor its handler has seen before, will take a lot of dedication for the real competitor to become part of the team.
A competition of a dog’s agility goes beyond simple handling by command and begun in England patterned after certain horse competitions, dog agility training takes into account fence jumping, teeter-totter, wing jumps a tire jump and more. The idea is to have the dog complete the course, in a prescribed order with only voice commands given by the handler. The tricky part is the 100-foot square course and its obstacles are set the day of the show and the handler is allowed one walk through to become familiar with the layout.
Most believe that dog agility training should be done one obstacle at a time and once the dog successfully and repeatedly is able to overcome an obstacle, it can move onto the next one. Attempting to have the animal run a full compliment of obstacles everyday during training may cause the animal to become confused on the day of competition.
Dog And Handler Must Agree To Work Together
Similar to a dog show, the handler is not always the dog’s owner, rather the handler is the one who has administered the dog agility training and to whom the dog faithfully listens. However, the dog must be of the right temperament for agility competition and one that will not be intimidated by the obstacles. A shy or timid dog would not fare well when faced with obstacles and probably will not perform well.
In dog agility training the handler will have to know what motivates the dog to want to please the handler. The dog and the handler must both be in good enough physical condition to complete the obstacle course as, although no physical contact is permitted, the handler typically stays with the dog through the course, giving the voice commands.
The event is judged based on correctly completing the obstacles and is a timed event so speed is of the essence, as well as the dog being able to recognize each obstacle and know exactly how to meet it quickly.