Agility training comprises of jumping over obstacles, entering tunnels, and running along walkways. It is a sport mainly for pets but involves humans to handle pets and guide them over obstacles during the training session. The work of pet handlers is to guide the pet over any obstacle along the path during competition or training session.
Any input from your vet is important when starting to train your pet. However, at the age of one year, your pet could be eligible for basic training packages. A basic training package consists of light training programs that do not involve jumping over tall obstacles. It includes instructing the pet to stop, sit, jump, lie down, sleep, come, go, stay etc. Some local training classes are also available within the area you stay in. Find these out and enroll your pet in one of these peer group sessions to train together with other pets. Find these in the directory or go online and do a search for pet training experts within your locality. If you succeed in getting a local pet trainer, you will save the cost of having to buy training kits for your pet, which I guess, is not cheap either.
Identify training kit
Agility training is not just about issuing instructions or orders for the pet to obey. However, guide the pet to obey lawful instructions and act over obstacles. It is very important to identify these obstacles one by one assuming you want to train your pet. List all the obstacles you need together with the cost.
It assumes the shape of a cone. You are to guide your dog to pass through it to the other side. Order you dog to A-frame repeatedly to get it to move inside the cone and out at the other end. Every instruction you give must be specific to the obstacle. You need to buy this obstacle before you schedule any training your pet.
This obstacle looks rather like a seesaw. Use need to guide your dog to move from one end to the other. It teaches the dog how to balance its wait to pass safely to the other end. Instruct your pet to teeter-totter by pointing towards the obstacle. You will marvel to see your dog move over the lower side of the seesaw object and walk over it to the other side. You need to procure this obstacle for you to start any agility training.
- Pet walk
Pet experts recommend at least a half an hour of pet walk or physical program per day. This is quite critical for any agility training session not only for pets but also as a fitness-training program. As you walk your pet, you will realize that you also exercise which is good for your overall health. The distance travelled here does not matter as long as a schedule for pet walk exists.
- Dog jump
Give it instructions to jump over hurdles while on a leash. You can set hurdles to its lowest and guide your dog or pet to jump over it. To achieve good results treat it to some meat for every successful jump made. The younger the dog the easier it becomes to teach and that answers the question of when you should start agility training. You can also lead the way and jump over the obstacle as the dog follow suit. If you opt for a home training package, then you will have to procure the right hurdles to make this training session a success.
Order the dog to the tunnel and through some pieces of meat inside the tunnel and see what happens. Start with short ones and upon success move to longer and more curved tunnels gradually. You need to purchase appropriate tunnels for this agility training session. Get an assistant at the tunnel end to give the dog a treat as it exits the tunnel.
Use poles for agility training. Put a leash on your dog and walk it between the poles until it clears the last pole. The dog is to move between the poles in a zigzag manner until it reaches the last pole. Adjust the distance between poles accordingly as the dog master the art slowly by slowly. Treat the dog for after every successful manoeuvre.
- Table stay
Order the dog to do a jump and sit by patting the top surface of a table. Treat the dog accordingly for any action done with obedience. Order a jump down for the dog to do the opposite and lie down under the table. These are techniques critical to instructing dogs during agility training programs.
This article is not in any way exhaustive of all the preparations you need to put in place before you start any agility training. There is room for research on a variety of other options including online resources. However, as an instructor, you should arm yourself with all the basic instructions you need to enable you to handle a dog. You should start agility training only when you are conversant with the basics about dog behavior and communications.
Proper sequencing of training activities is important for any dog to finish its training program successfully. Sequencing is about what the dog should do first and what follows next without delay. Acquired the basic resources or training kits and arm yourself with basic knowledge about dog control.