Dog Agility Training Tips

Agility is a fast, exciting and fun activity for you and your dog. It involves handlers (you) directing dogs around obstacle courses, attempting to negotiate the obstacles correctly and to make or beat the course time set by the judge. The obstacles comprise various types of jumps, tunnels, hoop, a-frame ramp, elevated walk, see-saw, and poles that the dogs weave through.

The sport of ‘Agility’ includes Agility courses with the above obstacles as well as Jumping courses with just jumps, hoops and tunnels. It is structured for all breeds of dog.

  • Develop a great relationship with your dog.
  • Always have fun with your dog; training and play should all feel like the same thing.
  • Keep your dog in good physical condition.
  • Do whatever it takes to build your dog’s confidence. A confident dog runs faster.
  • Make sure it’s your dog who’s asking you to work with him, not you asking your dog to work for you.
  • Do lots of shaping (Operant Conditioning) with your dog. Then he learns to think more, understands each new skill, learns to fail and try again, and your relationship with him improves.
  • Teach your dog rear end awareness and balance. There are a lot of tricks you can teach that help your dog gain good rear end awareness and balance.
  • If something goes wrong it’s always your fault, either through your handling or your training.
  • Be consistent with your handling for each scenario. So your dog knows exactly where he’s going at all times, giving him maximum confidence to run faster to go there.
  • Trial results don’t matter; it’s how well you are working as a team that matters.