Arranging Your Dog Agility Course Equipment
When you first get started with dog agility training, you probably will have just a few pieces of agility equipment. Eventually, though, as your canine companion begins mastering equipment you will have a good collection of all of the essential components of a true dog agility course. Once you have a full set of agility equipment, it’s time to think about arranging a course.
First of all, it’s important to understand some facts about dog agility contests. At competitions, dog agility course equipment is rarely set up the same way twice so you never really know quite what to expect. Before a competition begins, handlers are able to walk around a course (without the dog) and get a feel for the set up. A course map also usually is passed out to handlers.
Because agility equipment is always set up differently, this means it’s more important for a handler to work on skill mastery in general. A dog needs to have complete confidence when approaching each obstacle. Your dog also needs to be in tune with you, obeying all of your signals and verbal commands. After all, at competition, dogs do not get to practice running the course, so they must follow your commands perfectly during their run.
Your first weeks or months of training will simply involve learning skills and obeying commands and learning how to run through a course correctly. The actual configuration of your dog agility course equipment is less important than your dog’s ability to follow directions and complete each skill correctly.
Part of your research as an agility handler will be to learn about the rules and regulations set by the organization hosting your dog agility competitions. You will need to determine your dog’s competition class as well as the number of obstacles and type of obstacles that are sure to be on the course. There are also several websites that provide course maps from previous competitions. These are an excellent resource and you can simply print several different course combinations and practice a variety of course arrangements.
There are several good reasons for rearranging your agility equipment often. The main reason is because the competition courses are never the same and you need to be able to navigate a course no matter how it is arranged. Another reason is that changing it up can show you areas where your dog really excels and areas where you dog needs improvement. This provides you with an opportunity to work on issues prior to competition.
While this all sounds a bit complicated, dog agility and using dog agility course equipment is really all about having fun with your dog. Winning a competition is always a thrill, but the biggest prize of all is sharing a fun experience with your furry companion.
At Carlson Agility, we sell every type of agility equipment that you might need. Our dog agility course equipment includes all types of jumps, weaves, teeter totters, chutes, tunnels, pause tables, A-frames, dog walks and much more. We have specialty agility equipment and even a full line of mini equipment for the small agility dog.