Are you looking for a new sporting challenge for your dog and want to improve communication with your four-legged friend? Then get to know agility!
What is Agility for the Dog?
Agility is a fast-paced dog sport for four-legged friends and owners. In agility, communication between humans and dogs is improved. Agility comes from English. Translated it means mobility.
Where Does the Dog Sports Agility Come From?
It is about completing an obstacle course without errors within a certain time. The dog runs without a leash and collar during the time. Agility was originally a break filler at the Crufts Dog Show. From there, the sport began its triumphal march all over the world. Today there are no longer only club competitions, but also state and federal championships.
Dog Breeds for Agility
Agility is a movement sport. Of course, this is of particular benefit to dog breeds that are extremely fond of running. You can often see them at tournaments in agility.
- Border collie
- Australian Shepherd
Of course, all other dogs can also take part in the agility. It generally makes no difference whether it is a pedigree dog, a mixed breed, a bitch, or a male. However, large, heavy dogs such as Great Danes, St. Bernard dogs, Newfoundlands, and also smaller ones with very long backs such as bassets or dachshunds are disadvantaged here. The load could be too high here.
Agility has to bring joy to the dog
Agility is suitable for every dog who enjoys new challenges. It is not a purely purpose-oriented sport, fun is just as important as variety. The dog must be interested in it. If he’s not having fun, motivation and cookies won’t help either.
Agility is a sport for dogs and humans
In agility, the fun and sporting activities of the dog and owner are the basis. Trust is built up and communication is improved. This is also noticeable in everyday life. According to the rules, the owner is only allowed to steer his dog using body and voice signals. Touching is not allowed.
Condition for Agility: Fitness & Health
In order to be able to do agility with the dog, he must be healthy. For this purpose, a health check should be carried out at the veterinarian. Testing for joint diseases such as hip dysplasia (HD) and elbow dysplasia (ED) is advisable because the dogs jump a lot, accelerate quickly, and brake abruptly.
It should go without saying that the dog has the usual vaccinations. If the dog already has illnesses, especially those affecting the bones or muscles or the joints, the fast-paced sport could worsen the illness. It is therefore a good idea to have the dog checked thoroughly before the first training session, possibly with x-rays of the hip and elbow joint.
Agility for Dogs: Training
Dog and owner need a high level of skill to cope with the most diverse obstacles. In addition, both of them need a healthy dose of fitness. And they have to work well together and harmonize. To begin agility, the dog should have largely completed its growth. At the age of 18 months, it is officially allowed to take part in tournaments.
Agility Set: Tunnel, Seesaw, and Co.
The devices for agility are very versatile. There is:
- Slalom poles;
- Fabric tunnel;
- Fixed tunnels;
- Sloping walls;
- Long jump.
The dogs overcome the obstacles in a constantly changing order. The whole thing is about speed.
The dog must of course first be introduced to the obstacles before he knows what to do. Depending on the requirements of the course, it can be faster or slower. Which route is valid depends on the judge.
How Long is Agility Course?
The length of the route is between 100 and 220 meters. All devices must be on a field with a minimum size of 20 x 40 meters. Young dogs are only slowly introduced to devices that do not require high jumping power. Regular training gives the dog security and over time he will master all the devices in his sleep. The best way to train is in a club or in a dog school. What, on the other hand, will not take long is the dog’s and owner’s enthusiasm for agility.