Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Agility Training 101- Introduction

Have you ever seen a dog fly through an agility course or jump through a hoop with such ease that you thought, “That looks like fun.  I wonder if my dog could do it?”  Or perhaps you have considered enrolling your dog in an agility class but didn’t have the extra money to do it just yet.  Well, lucky for you, agility is a series of well rehearsed tricks that you can easily teach your dog at home.
Agility training benefits dogs in many ways.  It sharpens their minds, and stimulates them by giving them challenges and obstacles to overcome in a positive way.  It gives them plenty of exercise and will get you running and active as well.  Agility also helps build confidence in dogs and a stronger, more obedient relationship between them and the handler (which is best if it is you).  All of these results lead to an overall better behavior and well-balanced dog.
While not all breeds are considered ideal for agility competition, every dog is capable of learning new tricks.  What matters most when preparing to learn a new trick is a good base foundation of obedience.  Mastery of the simple “Sit” and “Stay” commands will make all the difference while you attempt to improve upon a dog’s skill set.
Remember, whenever teaching a dog a new trick or command, you need high value treats.  High value usually means bits of hot dogs or pieces of cheese or a savory treat from the pet store.  If your dog isn’t motivated by food, then a high value reward would be his favorite squeaky toy, or your praise.  Whatever it is, it needs to be something that will continue to reward and therefore motivate your dog to do what you ask.  
I took one agility class with my terrier/dachshund mix, who loves to jump, to get a good introduction to the sport.  From that class I learned different in-home training techniques I could use with my dog to get her ready for next week’s class.  I also asked my classmates what they did for in-home training as well to give you this little pre-introduction instruction to classic agility training.
If you would rather learn from a professional, take an introduction class, or use actual agility equipment to train your dog, here are a few suggestions to help you find the perfect class for you and your pup.
K-9 Companions does boot camp obedience training as well as agility training. They are located at 13703 J J Lane, Perris, CA 92570. For more information on their services and next available classes, you can call (800) 870-5926 or (951) 780-5810.
Dogs Etc. has a regular 6-week class called “Just for Fun Agility” located at 1431 N Daly St., Anaheim, CA 92806. For more information on her next classes, you can contact trainer Cindy Scott at dogsetc@yahoo.com or call (714)393-0432
Carlson Dog Park in Riverside has it’s only agility section where you can train and practice your dog’s agility skills.  Just be aware that it is a part of a dog park so be prepared for lots of distractions.  Carlson Dog Park is located at 4700 Buena Vista Dr and Mission Ave (next to Mt Rubidoux Park) Riverside, CA. You can check out reviews and pictures on Yelp.com and Doggoes.com 
You can easily find dog agility equipment and literature for sale online if you are serious about training your dog.  But these in-home techniques I will give you over the course of the week may be the best starting point to see if your dog has an interest in agility before investing in the equipment.
Stay tuned…

No comments:

Post a Comment