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Dog Agility: Build Your Course, Train Your Dog

A small dog runs through an agility course with its owner

Amber LaRock Author of Dog Agility: Build Your Course, Train Your Dog

Our canine companions thrive in an environment that challenges them physically and mentally. With dog agility targeting both areas, it’s the perfect way to get your dog up and moving. So how do you train your dog in canine agility?

In this article, we’ll dive into the details of dog agility, and discuss the steps of introducing your dog to your very own agility course.

What is Dog Agility?

Dog agility is a wonderful way to offer your pup physical and mental exercise. Canine agility is not only an outlet to burn off extra energy, but also a way to improve your dog’s mental skills. An agility course can keep your dog in shape, help them meet their daily exercise needs, and even improve their critical thinking skills. With so many benefits to offer, it’s no wonder so many dog owners are turning to dog agility.

Why Build A Course and Train Your Dog in Agility?

So why build a course and train your dog in agility? Since there are multiple forms of exercise for your furry friend, you may wonder why you would take this route instead of other training options. To help you understand the positives of building a course and training your dog in agility, let’s dive into the many benefits!

  • A wonderful way to offer your dog exercise
  • Helps them meet their daily exercise requirements and burn off any pent up energy
  • Offers mental stimulation, which helps to reduce restlessness
  • A fun activity for you and your dog to enjoy together
  • In offering mental stimulation, it can improve your dog’s intelligence
  • Much easier to build than you may think

How to Build Your Dog Agility Course

Now that you are aware of the many benefits of training your dog in agility, it’s time to dive into the details of building your own canine agility course. Though it may take a bit of extra time and patience, the task is fairly easy to create in your own yard!

Building Weaving Obstacles

When creating a weaving obstacle course for your dog, you can use any object that stands upright in your yard. This can include construction cones, sturdy boxes, tall bins, or any other stationary object. Just be sure to space out each obstacle to ensure success for your furry friend. 

Building Jump Obstacles

Before you build a jumping obstacle in your course, it’s important to realize that you want to start off small. Your dog will not automatically understand the jumping trick, so the goal is to allow them to warm up to the idea of jumping. To do this, you must first begin with a jump obstacle that is low to the ground. You can do this by using a pool noodle, a PVC pipe, or any other obstacle that your pup can hop over. Once they have figured out the action of jumping, you can increase the height.

Building Tunnels

Every agility course needs a tunnel, and it’s actually extremely easy to achieve! Based on your dog’s size, you can use common items to create a tunnel affect. You can create a doggy tunnel by using a children’s play tunnel, a box with the bottom cut out, a trash can with the bottom carved out, or any other tunnel-like object. 

Building Ramps

No canine agility course is complete without a ramp! While some courses offer a seesaw like structure, it’s best to begin with a stationary ramp to help your pup get used to the idea being on an elevated structure. You can add a ramp to your course by resting a board on bricks, using doggy steps with a sturdy structure in between, or any other object that can create a ramp effect. 

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Training Your Dog to do an Agility Course

Now that you have set up your dog’s agility course, it’s time to begin their training! To help your pup achieve success in this fun activity, let’s dive into a few helpful tips below!

  • Use Positive Reinforcement: Since agility training can take time, it’s important to keep your furry friend excited about the activity. Your pup will shy away from the training if they associate it with punishment or negative interaction, so it’s important to always keep it positive!
  • Keep Sessions Short to Avoid Frustration: Our dog’s want to please us, so it can be frustrating for them to think they are not picking up on a new task. To avoid any frustration on you or your dog’s end, it’s best to keep lessons short and sweet. This can also encourage excitement, as it can be a short and fun task to perform each day.
  • Take it Slow:Your dog will not be agility trained overnight, so be ready to practice patience. To help your furry friend grasp each step fully, it’s best to take it slow.
  • Teach Them the Same as Any other Trick: You know your pup best, and you know what works best for them in terms of training. To remain consistent in your training style, it’s best to stick to the same technique as any other trick they have learned. Switching up your training tactics can be confusing for your dog, and can result in potential frustration.

As you can see, agility training is a rewarding activity that you and your canine companion can enjoy together. Be sure to review the tips we discussed above, and your pup can be an agility star in no time!

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Meet The Author 

Amber LaRock Author of Dog Agility: Build Your Course, Train Your Dog

Amber LaRock

Amber is a Licensed Vet Tech with a degree in Veterinary Technology. Recently she has specialized in veterinary and animal-related content creation and social media management. When she is not working she loves spending time with her furry friends exploring the outdoors.

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