How to Teach Your Dog Agility 2024

If you have ever watched the ingenuity of dogs on television, you will know that it is a frantic and exciting challenge for pets as well as their owners. But as much as it is fun to enjoy, it is even more fun to do it with your dogs!

Agility has benefits that go beyond exercise: it’s great mental stimulation (for high-energy pets especially) and strengthens the bond between owner and pet. If you’re thinking about trying this with your pup, keep looking for ideas on how to get started at home.

What is pet agility?

Pet Dog Prowess is a frenetic, timed challenge course completed by a pet as well as its handler. Programs typically contain about 15 or so obstacles, consisting of tunnels, jumps, weaving poles and ramps, which the pet must complete in a consistent pattern.

Benefits of teaching your dog dexterity

There are many advantages to showing your dog agility!

  • Great workout: Running, jumping, climbing, and weaving, all in a fast track, is bound to tire out your dog. Agility is especially great for high-energy dogs that require a great deal of exercise.
  • Reduces boredom: In addition to providing physical exercise, dexterity provides mental stimulation for your dog, reducing dullness as well as the harmful habits it can include.
  • Promotion of etiquette: Canines depend on their owner to provide the commands they need to finish a session of agility training correctly. Agility training increases the degree of focus your pet pays on you, and also promotes compliance with obedience commands.
  • Enhances the relationship between owner and pet dog: Many agility handlers comment on the heightened bond they feel for their dogs as a result of training as a team.

Is my dog ​​ideal for agility?

The dexterity can be practiced by all healthy, adult dogs, but is not ideal for pet dogs who have recently been injured or for older dogs with health problems. If you have a puppy, it is important that you start very gradually and also complete a full training course when he is around 12 to 18 months old. You may also need to modify or remove certain aspects, such as the snorkel, for dogs with joint problems such as arthritis or those prone to back injuries, such as dachshunds and basset hounds.

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Many owners find that agility is also ideal for dogs with common behavioral issues such as:

  • Nervous or anxious canines: Since many stressed or anxious dogs become stressed by not knowing what will happen next, uncertainty is scary for them. These agility training sessions can help dogs, just as routines and repetitive tasks can. They quickly absorb the sporting activity and enjoy the repetitive series, which helps calm their nervous or anxious disposition.
  • High energy working dogs: If your dog is a working breed, you may find it difficult to give him enough electrical outlet to use all his power. These types of highly stressed pets tend to discover dexterity as a challenge both physically and psychologically as well, which may also help to tire them out.
  • Pet dogs that do not have concentration: If you have a dog who fidgets or shakes regularly and also has difficulty paying attention, whether at home or in a training class, dexterity courses may be a good fit for your pet dog to help carry all that strength as well as help him. to focus.

Is fitness right for me?

A canine skill should be fun for you and your pet, so it’s also important to consider whether this is an activity that’s right for you. Dexterity can be fast and furious too, so if you don’t have a strong health and fitness level, you will want to create a system of training exercises for yourself that will definitely boost strength and increase dexterity and balance as well. It can support your dogs throughout the training session.

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Make sure to take it slowly until you feel comfortable completing the program with your pup.

What you should understand before you start teaching your dog agility

Establish a rule of basic obedience.

Your pet will need to follow your cues closely during the dexterity session, so review his standard obedience skills, using appropriate support techniques, including sit, stay and come. (Understanding stay is especially essential when it comes to a swing board, as your dog will need to stay still until the far end touches the ground.).

Improve your dog’s attention span

Make sure your dog can maintain his focus on you, no matter what happens. When you are on the course, there may be many interruptions, such as many other pet dogs, loud noises, and also, of course, all the fun obstacles to play with! Executing commands like “watch me” or “take a look at me” when you are out and about can also help.

Get your dogs used to different activities

Get your dog comfortable with moving in odd ways before introducing him to real obstacles. Train your dog to walk backwards, place his paws in specific areas, and have him step over spots, climb over them, as well as crawl through them. Teach her to comfortably turn around an object, move away from you, or left and right by throwing the handles in those instructions.

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Show your pet’s ingenuity in your home

Before trying an agility class, you may want to create your own dexterity challenges at home to see if your dog enjoys them. Here are some tips on how to put together homemade challenges and teach your pet the basics.


First, be sure to ask your vet if jumping is right for your pet. Certain species, such as dachshunds and basset hounds, can be prone to back problems, so jumping is not recommended for them.

Once you get the go-ahead from your vet, you can develop a dive by placing a piece of plywood plus some posts. Make sure your pet dog will not hurt himself if he drops the jump. Start lower, and also gradually raise your diving height. For large breeds, start one to two inches from the ground; For smaller breeds, consider placing the board on the floor to start.

Tire jumping

An old bicycle tire or hula hoop can work well for diving into the tire. Just make sure it’s large enough to fit your dog comfortably. First, keep your tire steady as your dog runs through it. You can increase it slowly and at some point hang it on a tree branch.

Walk a pet dog

The pet walk is an elevated path with ramps at both ends. You can try using a barbecue bench as well as placing pieces of wood on both ends of the ramps.

You may be waiting for some canines to climb this obstacle, so you can try starting with the completion zone first. Grab your pup and place it a short distance from the end of the challenge. Most of the time, canines will take some action to get down. Then you can build until your dogs are happy with the entire barrier.


You can buy a plastic children’s walkway from a department store fairly inexpensively, or you can create a faux walkway by placing curtains over the chairs. If your dogs aren’t sure about going into the tunnel, don’t force them. Try tempting them with treats or poking your head in the opposite direction as well as calling them.

Weave Poles

One of the most fun obstacles to watch, weaver posts typically consist of 10 to 15 straight posts that your dog must weave through. You can use ski poles or plastic pipe lines that you press into the ground.

Start with the posts fairly far apart. Go through the poles with your dog on a leash to get used to the movement of the fabric. Next, draw your dog through the posts on his own. You can slowly move the posts closer together as your pet begins to explore activities. Versatility is absolutely vital here, so keep it to a minimum to make sure your dog doesn’t hurt himself.

Board reeling

The swing board is one of the most difficult obstacles for many dogs to face, because it takes a lot of confidence to move things.

Start with low objects: Get your pet used to points that move underneath, such as a skateboard, toy car, or wobbly board. Reward your pet for showing any kind of interest in the object, next when he places a paw on it, and finally when he rests on top of it. You intend to turn it into a fun game, as well as create a positive association with moving things.

When you feel your pet is ready, you can build your swing board with a long piece of wood over the pipeline. Again, you will definitely need to move forward gradually, painting your dog with treats and praising him when he touches it and takes small steps on it. When they arrive at the facility and the swing begins to change, reward your pup with a treat for staying on the swing. You can eventually change to thicker pipelines when you are completely comfortable with the movement.

Where to discover an agility course

If your dog enjoys agility, there are plenty of classes you can enroll him in to further enhance his skills. You can look for dexterity courses at the AKC club, as well as eventually apply to the dexterity program test (a beginner’s agility event) before deciding if you want to compete more seriously. The Pet Agility Association of America (USDAA) also provides a directory website for agility teams in each state.

Summary of dog dexterity training

Pet Agility is an exhilarating, fast-paced challenge for both pet dogs and their owners. Dexterity training sessions are not only a fun task, but they can be a great way to help demonstrate your dog obedience skills, improve your dog’s attention span, as well as help overcome behavioral concerns such as anxiety by providing your dog with an electrical outlet and also helping him burn out. energy.

You can start with standard dexterity at home by creating jumps, walkways and also swinging boards or try your hand at a more structured canine dexterity class if you and your pet end up loving dexterity. If you’re not sure if dexterity programs are right for your dog, schedule a health check with us to ensure your dog is vetted.

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