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How to Start Training a Dog for Agility


How to Start Training a Dog for Agility

Dog agility training is a fun activity that dogs and their owners can do together.  It’s kind of like a combination child’s playground and K-9 law enforcement obstacle course.  Dogs get to jump hurdles, scale ramps, burst through tunnels, traverse see-saws and weave through poles.  Active dogs generally like this kind of exercise, and it’s a fun activity that we can share with our owners.


Active Dogs Love Agility TrainingDog agility training also has many benefits.  For young puppies, it can help develop a sense of body awareness.   They get to learn where there feet are in space, and how to step, jump, or climb over various obstacles.  This can also help puppies hone their sense of balance.  It can also help forge a strong bond between us dogs and our owners.  We learn to trust you, as well as learn how to communicate with you in various situations. 


What do you need to start training your dog for agility?  Well, it does require some space and special equipment.  I suggest you check your area to see if you don’t have any training clubs or schools close by.  If you don’t, and you have space in your home, it’s possible to create your own course equipment using a little effort and imagination.  For example, throwing a sheet over a coffee table can double for a tunnel (Like most dogs, I like tunnels a lot!).  Another option (although more expensive) is to buy your own portable training equipment which you can take to a park with you.


If you and your dog get good at agility training and you both enjoy it, there are also competitions out there in which you can compete.  Unlike dog shows, dog agility competitions are open to all dogs, not just purebreds.  Considered to be “the sport for all dogs”, the primary purpose of these competitions is to demonstrate the trainer’s skill in working with their dog (and vice versa).


If you have a puppy and the above sounds interesting to you, you are probably wondering when you can start training your dog for agility.  TheBonding with your Dog Exercises (adility training with ramp) truth is, this kind of training can be hard on a puppy’s growing bones.  The high jumping in particular can be tough on our joints.  If you decide to start training your puppy for agility, you will want to make sure that the course itself is puppy size.  For example, jumps should be low enough that the puppy could easily walk over them.  As the puppy matures, obstacles such as the jump can be safely increased in difficulty.  Generally speaking, the larger the dog, the longer you should wait until you start training him for agility.  Still, a good rule of thumb is 8 months.


Oh!  I almost forgot!  If you do decide to start training your dog for agility, you will need a good leather or webbed buckle collar as well.  It should also use a leather, nylon, or rope lead with a fairly long length.  Don’t use a chain lead, as this can get caught in the jumps, which is not pleasant.


Remember, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me at


- Grover