What is Dog Agility Training?

5:58:00 AM

Have you thought about enrolling your dog in agility training? Why not? Agility training doesn’t just teach a dog how to respond well, it also enhances a dog’s physical and mental capacity. Furthermore, agility training strengthens the bond between a dog and his human.

Dog agility started in the United Kingdom at the “Cruft’s” dog show in 1978 when dog trainer Peter Meanwell demonstrated a dog’s ability to take on an obstacle course in front of a big audience. It became such a hit that official dog agility training and competitions were started.

Dog agility competitions have become a popular sport among dog lovers and dogs alike. In the US, several dog organizations such as the American Kennel Club(AKC), the United States Dog Agility Association– just to name a few- host these prestigious competitions regularly. National championships are held annually by the USDAA and AKC to award the best dog for the year.

What is agility training and how is it done? During the actual competition, dogs are expected to complete obstacles with only the support of their handler. The most common obstacles used is the A-frame, the dog walk, the teeter-totter or see-saw, the crossover, tunnels, jumps or hurdles, the pause table, pause box, weave poles, swing plank, sway bridge and others.

Handlers are not allowed to give treats to the dog through-out the obstacle course. A handler can only give direction and encouragement to help the dog finish the obstacles. A dog must not be distracted by other things or smells around him as to let off from the course.  

Thus, the competition not only tests a dog’s physical strength and intelligence, it is also a test of the dog’s ability to focus on the task at hand. Training a dog for a competition requires patience and a lot of practice. Still, winning a competition can be a really fulfilling experience for both the dog and his handler.

I had a wonderful surprise yesterday when I visited Johann’s blog. She made a post just for me, I feel so special. Johann has been training since 2005 and has competed in both the USDAA and AKC agility competitions. He is a 2007 Cynosport World Games Dog Agility Grand Prix and Steeplechase Qualifier! Yup, that’s Johann right there training! Way to go, boy! If you have more questions about agility training, ask Johann! He'll know!

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