Agility training for dogs is fast becoming an incredibly popular dog sport that has many significant benefits for the dog and the owner. This activity can be just a fun pastime utilizing a backyard agility course, or owners can enter their dogs into various agility competitions. Many dog owners question if dogs really enjoy agility training, and they also wonder if there is a way to tell if their dog is a good candidate for this athletic endeavor.
Do dogs enjoy Agility training? Yes! Most energetic dogs really do love agility training because it provides them with an outlet to channel their excess energy and challenges their minds. While just about any dog, regardless of breed can do Agility, certain breeds are better suited. Additionally, certain personality traits can indicate whether a particular dog is likely to love this adventurous sport and perform well during the training sessions and competitions.
Most dogs look forward to agility training because they live to spend more time with their owner. This dog sport builds owner/pet bonds as both must communicate and work well together in order to complete the obstacles throughout the course. Since this type of training is more like adventurous play, dogs tend to enjoy the training sessions. Dogs that are loved and well cared for naturally want to please their owners and reap the praises and attention performing well can bring.
We’ll be sharing some of our favorite tricks for teaching your dog how to complete agility training successfully without taking away the fun and adventure. Your dog’s enjoyment of running an agility training course with you depends on your teaching methods and some other essential training factors.
Effective & Practical Agility Course Training Tips for Dog Owners
There are some practical steps that dog owners can take to improve the likelihood that their dog will find agility training fun and something worth pursuing. Some of these steps dog owners should consider implementing include:
- Take the Time to Learn the Sports Rules & Proper Training Details
- Always Keep it Fun for Your Pet
- Use a Positive Training Process
- Lavish Praise Often on Your Beloved Pet
- Make Sure Your Pet is Healthy Enough for the Challenge – Ask Your Vet
- Begin Slow & Focus on Meeting Smaller Challenges Early-On. Then, Add More Training Steps Later
- Work on Speed When Your Dog Masters the Obstacles in Your Agility Course with Ease
- Safety First – Ensure That the Course is Safe Before Using
- Make Sure Agility Course Obstacles Fit Your Dog’s Size, Health Requirements & Age
Which Dog Breeds Do Best with Agility Training & Competitions?
Although a dog agility course can be modified to suit just about any dog breed, there are some dog breeds that generally do best with the appropriate agility training and possible competition events.
Some of the dog breeds that are more likely to master and enjoy agility training include:
- Jack Russel Terrier
- Border Collie
- Shetland Sheepdog
- German Shepherd
- Australian Shepherd
- Standard Poodle Breeds
- Australian Kelpie
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Rat Terrier
These breeds tend to be intelligent, social, and energetic — all of which are traits that make them excellent choices for agility training.
What Canine Personality Traits Are Better Suited for Agility Training?
In addition to breed categories, some preferred canine personality traits indicate dogs that might be better suited for agility training. Before embarking on intense training sessions on difficult agility courses, dog owners should carefully assess their dog’s unique personality traits to determine if their pet is up for the challenge.
Some common dog personality traits most likely to succeed and like agility training include the following:
- Higher Energy Levels
- Sociable with Other Animals & People
- Indicate a Higher Intelligence Level
- Loves to Please Owners
- Able to Focus on Tasks
- Possess Athletic Abilities
- Generally Motivated
- Like Being Outdoors
- Demonstrates Obedience
- Generally Friendly
Dog owners desiring to enter their pet into training for agility competitions should determine if their pet’s overall personality traits line up with some of the above-recommended ones. Dog owners can begin training for this dog sport with a dog that has some questionable characteristics if they modify the training to suit the needs of their pet.
For example, a puppy or adult dog that shows signs of fear might need more patience and time during training. Some dogs might be able to enjoy a backyard agility course with their owners in a more laid-back and familiar environment.
Other dog traits or characteristics that could indicate issues with training that dog owners should be aware of include:
- Very Stubborn
- Can’t Focus for Long
- Super Fearful
- Very Shy & Cowers from People or Other Pets
- Displays a Bullying or Highly Aggressive Nature
- Lazy or Non-Motivated in General
- Negatively Impacted by Strange Surfaces, Noise Levels or Unfamiliar People, Places or Things
- Super Attention-Getting or Too Energetic
There are other factors that dog owners should seriously consider before beginning agility training sessions with their dog. Those that want their dog to compete in agility competitions will have different expectations of their pet’s success and behavior than dog owners that only desire a fun outdoor activity to do with their dog in their backyard or nearby park.
Dogs Love Positive Attention by Their Owners
Getting to spend more time with their owners doing fun outdoor activities together is typically the main reason that any dog loves agility training. Your positive attention and praise give your pet more contentment than a pile of expensive toys to be played with alone. Agility training can be an excellent way to spend quality time with your dog.
Dogs Need Something Entertaining to Pursue to Lesson Boredom
Most seasoned dog owners know that bored dogs often get into trouble. All dogs need to do something fun and entertaining to lower the risks of boredom-related troublesome behaviors. Agility training stimulates the dog’s brain, and the results are typically fewer behavior problems like destructive chewing on forbidden items.
Most Dogs Involved in Agility Training Stay Healthier Overall
Agility training for dogs helps to keep most dogs involved in this sport generally healthier overall. Regular exercise is beneficial to dogs, and owners often find that they experience positive health benefits too due to the proper exercise and fresh air.
Regular exercise can improve moods, lower anxiety, improve mental focus and decrease pain as a result of the body’s natural release of endorphins during this type of activity. A healthy dog is more apt to be happy, less stressed and more content.
Agility Training Should Feel Like Fun Play for Your Dog
Like any creature, those things that we do that are fun tend to be the activities that we love the best. The same is true for dogs. Keep the training sessions feeling like fun play for your pet.
What If My Dog Doesn’t Like the Training Sessions?
If your dog doesn’t appear to like the training sessions, take some time to investigate why. It could be that your dog is feeling pain, is fearful of the new equipment, is overwhelmed with too much pressure or is just too young to perform the tasks. Always try to end each training session on a positive note, and be sure to give lots of praise and other tangible rewards.
How Soon Should I Start Agility Training with My Puppy?
Most dog breeds begin agility competitions at approximately 1 to 2 years of age. However, there is a lot of pre-agility training that can start with pups as young as eight weeks. Always get approval by your veterinarian before teaching your puppy to perform jumps and other harder tasks.
Well, That’s A Wrap!
Professional dog trainers highly recommend agility training to improve the pet’s happiness, health, obedience and to provide brain stimulation. This training can help maintain weight, lower pain, improve behavior and provide a healthy outlet for boredom and energy release. Most importantly, dogs enjoy agility training because they love spending time with their owners.