Agility is Fun
Agility most of you have seen on the Television. This is where dogs
run through tunnels and go over jumps and weave in and around poles.
What can you expect to see?
Jumps, hurdles, long jumps, weaving poles and a three metre 'A' frame.
No agility course would be complete without the tyre hoop, the famous
tunnel and see saw. The equipment has been imported from the UK and is
made to the highest safety standard and to Kennel Club Specification.
Can any dog do this?
Yes and all breeds and sizes provided the dog does not have a physical
disability, such as hip displasia, and is not overweight. It is not fair
to jump a fat dog. If you have any doubt about the fitness of your dog
then seek advice from your vet.
Is there an age limit for the dog or owner?
Children are most welcome to bring their pets. There is no age limit for
dogs and pups are encouraged for the tunnel work, see-saw and dog walk
plank. Of course heelwork, sit, down stays, send- away is part of the
lessons as is walking the dog off leash on the left or right.
Equipment for Dog and Handler
The most important thing is good footwear, shoes that you can run in and
have a good grip. (Not like Ivy's shprawnzy shoes) Also wear clothes you
can run in comfortably. For the dog although an ordinary check collar or
half check are both good for heelwork practice, these are not suitable
for agility. The correct collar is a leather or webbed buckle collar.
Leads should be fairly long and made of leather, nylon or rope, not of
chain, which can get caught up in the jumps.
What can we expect in the first lesson?
The first contact obstacle will be the Scale or 'A' Frame and is best
for the beginner dog, although many handlers will not believe this when
they see that the height is 2 metres. The width is wide and is a lot
more formidable looking than a dog walk plank, which is also excellent
for training the beginner dog. Many low jumps and of course the tunnel
which all dogs love so much, that the problem can be keeping them out of
the tunnel when they should be doing another obstacle. Young dogs take
to the tunnel in minutes.
This is needed to get from one obstacle to another and as the young dogs
progress we start to teach different commands to turn the dog to the
left and right. A very important exercise for any dog is the 'down' and
the wait. In agility training the recall follows from the wait and later
on we teach the recall over obstacles. Another important exercise is the
'send away' to send the dog ahead of the handler. An easy way to teach
the dog the send away is to hold your dog and get someone to put his
food on one side of the room, then send the dog to his food from
increasing distances away. Also practise send - aways to titbits and
toys, having a great game afterwards. It is also an idea when a pup or
young dog is doing instant down, to sometimes finish the send-away by
downing the dog. Always remembering to give lots of praise.
You and your dog can have fun with agility if it is timed correctly and
provided you and your dog are ready to progress. In my opinion it is
important to remember that a dog that is happy and enjoying himself, is
much more likely to try hard to please his owner, than one who is afraid
he is going to get told off for making a mistake.
Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.
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