Active people have equally active dogs. The best way to maximize your pet’s abilities, channel his energy in the right direction and achieve complete mutual understanding is to participate in competitions. Agility is the most popular dog sport. It requires good coordination, reaction, flexibility, and, of course, obedience.
How Did It All Start?
Agility for dogs is a fairly young sport. The first competition was held in the UK at Crufts in 1978. The dogs overcoming the obstacle course delighted the audience, and from that moment agility competitions became an integral part of the show, and later gained popularity in other countries. Agility creator and show organizer John Varley was an avid equestrian fan. Therefore, it is believed that it was the equestrian competition that was taken as a basis.
What is Agility?
Agility is the overcoming of an obstacle course by a dog. This is a team sport, the dog and its owner take part in it, who gives commands and directs in the right direction.
The main thing in this sport is contact and complete understanding between man and animal, as well as good training since the cleanliness and speed of the track, depends on this.
Agility tracks consist of various obstacles that must be passed in a specific sequence. These obstacles are of various types:
Contact obstacles are those that imply direct contact of the animal with the obstacle itself (usually a slide, swing, tunnel, and so on);
Jumping obstacles, that is, those that involve the dog making a jump (barrier, ring);
Other obstacles. This includes agility equipment such as slalom (parallel sticks arranged vertically in a row where the dog snakes) and square/podium (fenced or raised square platform on which the dog must freeze in one position for a set amount of time).
Experienced handlers take into account the individual and breed characteristics of each dog, as well as its “guide”. This allows you to achieve good results and successfully complete the course.
There are various agility competitions and certificates that are awarded for successfully completing the track several times in a row. These competitions have their own requirements, marks, and penalties for mistakes.
How to Start Exercising?
If you decide that such a sport as agility is to your liking both you and your pet, you must first teach your dog the basic commands. This will help you make contact.
After you complete the initial training course, you can start training agility. It is best to attend classes in one of the dog training schools, as they usually have special sites for agility. Also, group activities will help you and your pet learn to focus and work in an environment where there are many distractions (people, dogs, noise) around.
Try to diversify your training so that the pet does not get bored and does not lose interest. Remember that you cannot scold him for incorrectly passing the projectile, and even more so beat or shout, because for a dog agility is entertainment and a way to give free rein to the accumulated energy. It is better, on the contrary, to praise your pet as often as possible when he does something right. Then the dog will associate training with fun and joy, and he will be happy to do whatever you say.
Agility is available to every dog, regardless of its breed and age. After all, the main thing in him is not speed and victory, but the connection between the dog and the owner and the pleasure of both from spending time together.