Just like for humans, agility training for dogs makes them more confident, increases their speed, and increases their overall flexibility, while doing things on their feet. Agility training for dogs is one of the fastest growing sports for dogs in the world. This relatively new dog sport is not only fun for the dogs but fun for the owners as well.
A small piece of history about Dog Training
Agility training for dogs started in the late 1970s in England, and its invention was based on horse show jumping. Agility training for dogs and horse jumping help to make a strong relationship between the owner and the animal. Curiously enough, this kind of events are useful also to develop strategy and teamwork. You win an agility event with your dog if you and your dog complete the course in the fastest time with the fewest number of faults. As you can see, it is very similar again to horse jumping when the horse knocks down one of the poles of the fence.
Positive Benefits for Dogs
Another benefit related to agility training for dogs is the mental effect it produces on dogs and owners. Maybe this is why they often show an increased confidence in eachother after successfully negotiating an agility obstacle course as a team. Most of dogs have a dramatical physical coordination improvement after completing the basic training exercises that are used to teach jumping and ramp work.
If you have an hyperactive dog, agility dog training provides him with a method of releasing some of that extra energy in a positive manner. Also, the mental workout has a greater benefit for the dog than the physical one. This kind of sport builds a sense of teamwork between the owner and the animal, and the level of communication between the two of them is very similar to the way humans communicate.
To make a great team in agility training, both your dog and yourself must be perfectly synced, because there is no leash or collar allowed on an agility course. There is a big variation in the order of obstacles on each course and the pathway twists and turns, so the dog has to lean a whole new vocabulary in order to be successful in this kind of events.
A good advice is to start your puppie training with regular walks through the agility courses as early as four months. As they get older, it is recommended conditioning walks of two miles or longer, so they can get a better physical stimulation. A good idea is that dogs must be trained not to rush the obstacles, because they can hurt themselves by falling from an a-frame or a dog walk. Usually, ramps have cross-laths to help with traction when the dog sprints up the ramp.
If your dog is afraid of heights, you will coax through the uncertainty and by doing so will help your dog-friend and yourself.
I wish you the best success in training your dog!