Dog Agility Training
Dog agility training is a fantastic way for you and your dog to spend some quality time together while participating in a fun, action packed sporting activity. Agility training will test and strengthen your dogs physical abilities, sense of balance, patience, control, and most of all the ability that you and your dog have to work well together as a team. The sport of agility uses various accessories and obstacles in which your dog must maneuver over, under, around, and in and out of, in the best possible time, with the least amount of mistakes in order to win the competition. The course may have your dog weaving in and out of poles, literally jumping through hoops, skillfully mastering the art of a balance beam or teeter totter type object, crawling through tunnels, leaping over bars and practicing patience on a pause table.
Though, before jumping into dog agility training, it will be important for your dog to first understand the basics of obedience and know how to properly behave around many other dogs and people. Many agility-training centers offer group classes as opposed to those of an individual, one on one type. It is for this reason that your dog should enter the training sessions with the ability to respond to basic commands such as sit, stay and come, while either on or off of his leash. It is also critical to the safety of other participants in the class, that your dog be friendly and non-aggressive around other dogs and people.
Dog agility training classes are offered for many different skill levels including classes that cater to the puppy, beginner, intermediate, advanced, master and competition level dogs. This means that regardless of your dogs age or skill level, it is never too late or too early to begin dog agility training.
Many agility training schools use a method of training called positive reinforcement, which means that your dog will learn each agility challenge on a reward basis. When your dog has successfully performed a specific action or maneuver upon being given the proper cue, you can then reward him with a treat. Many dogs are motivated by food related treats, whereas others prefer a favorite toy or tennis ball. Either way, it doesnt matter, as long as you can determine what your dogs motivating factor is and incorporate that into his agility-training program. For example, if you are teaching your dog to weave through a series of poles, you can use his favorite treat to encourage him through that specific part of the course.
With patience and persistence any dog can learn to skillfully master an agility course. However you will find that your dog can be light years ahead of the rest if you take the time to properly socialize him and introduce him to different situations and settings during the phase of his basic obedience training. Much of the equipment used in dog agility training will be strange and foreign to your dog, hence a lot of time will be spent acclimating him to the setting and the odd objects within it. A great place to familiarize your dog with weird and possibly scary looking stuff that actually moves is your local playground. Take your dog over early in the morning before the children arrive and let him check things out. Encourage him to climb up the slide ladder, jump onto platforms of various heights, and show him how the teeter totter works so that he wont be frightened of similar equipment in your agility class.
Last but not least, make sure that you and your pet have fun at agility class whether its for competitive purposes or just recreational. Its a great way for you to meet other people with similar interests and a perfect place for your pet to meet other doggie friends.
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