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Most dog owners will introduce some type of training to their dog, whether it is home command training such as the basics of sit and stay, or they can take their dog to a training school for more advanced commands and tricks.
However, if you are looking into training for your dog, we recommend taking a look at agility training basics. Agility training is quite easy to master and it doesn’t matter if Fido has been to various training classes before or he is just starting to learn simple commands.
How does Agility Training Work?
When you decide to begin agility training with your dog, unless you have been through training before, it is recommended that you go to a class or personal trainer for help. You will be a huge part of the process, so you cannot miss nor have someone else fill in.
When training begins you will need a positive reinforcement and a leash (most individuals use a dog’s favorite treat as positive reinforcement). You will start with extremely basic commands and you’ll learn to be excited when Fido does things right. After all, you’re there to tell him he’s a good boy! For instance, to teach your pooch to go over the jumping post, you will start by lowering the bar almost to the ground and walk the dog over using the leash. Once over, you will reward and show Fido he did a fantastic job.
The main idea is to get your dog to feel safe around the equipment and slowly work them up to using it properly, while also relying on you to give them the command. If your dog does not succeed the first time, don’t worry about it! It’s absolutely normal, but you must not show disappointment!
If you feel Fido is not motivated enough by just treats, you can also reward him with an interesting toy after every successful session. There are plenty of toys that are interesting and affordable and here you can find some of the coolest dog toys for a very good boy.
Now that you have a quick idea about agility training, let’s see why you should take the time to consider signing yourself and your dog up.
#1: Everyone is accepted
No matter the size, age or skill, agility training is a great option for all dogs. Even dogs that are deaf, blind or both are able to join in on the training. There are instructors out there who have experience helping disabled dogs be able to still do normal things.
Keep in mind: If you are starting with a puppy, then you will begin slower, and don’t do any jumping until the puppy’s bones and joints have developed. If your dog is older, then you will also start a little slower, giving their joints time to re-establish themselves for exercise.
#2: PTSD and Anxiety
Agility training is a really great option for a dog that is struggling with PTSD due to trauma or if your dog has bad anxiety. Many trainers highly recommend this because it allows you to create a safe and trusting new environment.
When you begin training there are simple instructions and instant rewards. This allows dogs to find comfort in a neutral situation that doesn’t have any repercussions. Also the training ground is a positive space for dogs, even though they may be nervous at first. This training has proven to be a way to help heal dogs and allow them to find a solid link of trust.
When you start agility training with your dog, a new bond will be created between you two. Your dog will lean on and trust you more since they need to follow your commands to get around the obstacles. This type of training is not about forcing, pulling or yelling at your dog.
If you go to a certified trainer, then they will show you how to encourage your dog to be comfortable around the obstacles and slowly begin to use them. You are the leader and you will point, signal, command and reward your dog as they run through the course.
#4: Staying Healthy
Nothing is better for a dog than being able to play and run! Agility training provides both in a safe and controlled environment that they will love. Most of the obstacle courses require running, jumping hurdles, going up and down doggie ladders, tunnels and a see-saw.
During the obstacle runs, your dog will be running to meet each one, not breaking speed or momentum. As your dog’s partner in the agility runs, you will need to run to keep up with them so this also promotes good exercise for owners.
#5: Promotes positive training
Agility training focuses on a fun and positive experience for your dog and for you. There may be moments of frustration but, when you hit a wall, you have to find a different approach that doesn’t scare the dog. When you don’t scold, scare or drag your dog through an obstacle, then you create a safe area for the dog to learn and play. Also dogs will see other dogs performing and can mimic their behavior or understanding of an obstacle.
In closing, agility training can be rewarding not only for the pets, but for the owners as well. It is a great change of pace from the standard tricks and commands. If your dog is good enough with agility, you can enter competitions to show them off.