Beyond Dog Agility Equipment: 3 Other Skills All Agility Dogs Need
While a big portion of your lessons as an agility handler will be teaching your dog how to use dog training equipment, there actually is more to agility than simply learning agility equipment skills. There are several other areas that need to be addressed prior to entering a competition.
Dog agility competitions are frenetic, crazy and fun. There's so much to see and both the dog and handler's senses can be on overload during those first few competitions. While it might seem like mastering agility equipment is the most important skill your dog can possess, socialization actually is just as crucial. After all, if you attend an event but your dog does not really get on with other dogs, this is going to be a problem. It could become a big problem if your dog somehow gets away from you and then goes after another dog.
Before you begin competing, make sure that your dog is able to socialize well with other dogs as well as humans. The people who attend these events typically are very good with dogs and respectful, so it's not as if there will be a bunch of tail pullers at the event, but with so much activity and chaos, an easily stressed and poorly socialized dog will have a tough time managing their behavior. Your dog needs to be focused on the course of dog agility equipment and able to tune out the outside activity a bit.
If your dog is simply a pooch that doesn't like other dogs and you don't think that dog agility competitions are a good match, that doesn't mean you still won't enjoy many benefits from setting up dog training equipment in your yard and teaching your dog how to run a course. Agility is an excellent, fun form of exercise and dogs love it. Additionally, learning all of these skills also can improve a dog's overall obedience.
That brings us to the next skill that all agility dogs need to possess.
Because the dog must obey many signals and commands and because they typically run the course without a collar, it is imperative that your dog master basic obedience skills. A dog needs to be able to sit, stay and lay down in any situation, even when there are tons of distractions. Teaching basic obedience skills can be taught along with teaching a dog how to use agility equipment. The pause table and the start line are two great places to teach a dog to sit and stay, as they must exhibit these skills during completion as well.
In general, an agility dog needs to be in good health and have plenty of stamina in order to be successful at agility competitions. Obviously, you should discuss your dog's health with his or her veterinarian prior to beginning agility or any exercise program. Once you are certain that they are healthy enough for agility, you can start training with dog agility equipment.
However, that's not the only way to improve your dog's physical strength and health. Taking long walks, playing fetch and even going on a short hike are other activities you might want to consider. These types of activities can be part of a conditioning program for your agility dog. In addition, helping your dog use agility equipment and conditioning exercises will have a positive impact on your health as well.
If you need any type of dog agility equipment or dog training equipment, we have it all at Carlson Agility. This includes all types of jumps as well as weaves, contact equipment, tunnels and chutes and even mini agility equipment. The mini agility equipment is ideal for puppies, small dogs and even rainy day indoor training.