Agility was created in 1977 by John Varley as a spectator sport intended to fill downtime at dog competitions. Now, Agility has its own world championship and is the fastest growing dog sport in the United States.
While any sport might seem intimidating at first, Agility is much easier to get into than you’d imagine. If you’ve been thinking about getting involved, but need some details, this post is for you!
What Is Agility And How Do You Participate?
The American Kennel Club describes Agility as “an athletic event that requires conditioning, concentration, training and teamwork. Dog and handlers negotiate an obstacle course racing against the clock.”
Here are some examples of the types of obstacles that you might encounter:
- Jumping challenges (high jump, long jump, etc…)
- Tunnels and Chutes
- Elevated Walkways
All of which are safe for dogs to train and compete on, though trainers might want to watch out for wayward seesaws!
It’s important to note that Agility is a fun activity first, and a competitive sport second. Many owners prefer to have their dogs tackle courses at their own pace and you can too.
How Do I Start Training My Dog For Agility?
We already have a guide to the 5 easiest tricks you can teach your dog, and that’s a great place for beginners to start. Your dog needs to have these basic skills before you train for Agility:
- Off-Leash Walking
“Jump” is also good to know before starting agility, but this list of skills is an absolutely crucial foundation for Agility training.
Your dog can learn these skills and more at DogBoy’s basic training classes. We use positive training methods to accomplish basic obedience and teach higher-level Agility skills. Once your dog passes their beginning classes, you can start competing!
What Kind Of Dog Breeds Are Suited For Agility?
However, from the tiniest Chihuahua to this big mastiff, dogs of all shapes and sizes have a lot of success and fun with Agility. Noodle, our own little Chiweenie, tears through the course faster than we can keep up!
Agility is especially helpful if you have a dog that’s getting into trouble at home because of boredom. Hyper and active dogs can work off their excess energy through Agility, instead of tearing up your house while you’re away.
Agility is also effective at training disabled or disadvantaged dogs. Shelter dogs, and even a deaf dog that was deemed untrainable, have fought the stereotypes and overcome their difficulties to become championship-level Agility competitors!
What Are The Benefits Of Agility For The Dog AND The Owner?
Agility is among the best exercises for dogs, both physically and mentally. It’s great exercise for dog owners too! There are few sports outside of Rally Obedience that will challenge and tire your dog as completely as Agility does. But the biggest benefit is what it will do for your relationship.
Agility will give you true confidence. Through Agility you learn that you can teach so much more than you ever thought you were capable of, and you will see how your dog’s capacity and excitement for learning matches your own.
Agility is a fun sport, but it is one of the most valuable training tools we’ve ever come across. Your communication skills with your dog will skyrocket and your bond will strengthen enormously.
If you’re interested in Agility, we’d love to see you at the Ranch. We offer classes and training that will have even the biggest couch potato hopping over obstacles in no time. Contact us today if you have any questions or are interested in local Agility events!
Agility by Mark Kimpel
Agility Jump by Mark Kimpel
Dog Wants to Try Agility by Janet Hudson