There are various types of dog training from easy to complicated. Recently, I had the pleasure of watching a local dog agility contest. It didn’t spark my interest initially as I have never considered entering my pooch. But after chatting to some of the participants and finding out the benefits I’ve changed my mind! I quickly began looking into the best dog agility course training materials.
What are Dog Agility Course?
Inspired by horse jumping dog agility debuted in England in 1978. A dog agility course consists of 12-18 obstacles including ramps, weave poles, tire jumps, hurdles, jump bars, and tunnels. The pooch has to maneuver his/her way through the dog agility course within a certain amount of time.
Although the trainer is allowed to guide the unleashed canine in competitions and trials with hand movements and the occasional voice command, no physical contact is permitted.
In the US, these dog agility course shows are governed by various organizations such as American Kennel Club Agility (AKC), North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC) and the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) which also helps you find dog agility groups in your area.
Successful completion of dog agility courses awards your dog with Q’s (qualifying runs). This gets your canine a ribbon for his/her successful efforts and a title if the score is high enough. These scores will also affect whether or not your dog can progress to the next level of the competition. Take a quick glance at 4 best dog agility courses:
Are There Rules When It Comes To Dog Agility?
If you are joining a club or association, the rules and the courses will differ. For example, the courses used by the USDAA are more complicated and technical. Competitions may also have age limitations.
Generally, dogs that are over 8 years of age and younger than 9 months are not allowed to participate. In the case of the latter, this is because a puppy’s bones are not properly developed yet and strenuous activity can result in injury.
Other Common Dog Agility Tournament Rules That Can Cause Disqualification Include:
- Jump bars or other obstacles being dislodged or knocked down by the dog.
- Paw placement on contact of obstacle’s down ramps.
- Failure to complete the succeeding dog agility course obstacle.
- Completing the dog agility course in the wrong order.
- The dog taking too long to finish the dog agility course.
Must My Canine Be A Specific Breed To Succeed In Dog Agility Course?
No, actually any dog with a patient and dedicated trainer will be able to participate in dog agility course exercises. Although there are some breeds that excel in this sport like Border Collies, Papillion, and German Shepherds, even the AKC has broadened the intake of participants to include mixed breeds.
The only drawback when it comes to competing in a dog agility course event may be your pooch’s physical limitations. My dachshund’s legs are just too short for some of the jumps. Also, dogs with breathing problems like bulldogs and boxers may have a hard time simply completing the dog agility course.
Dog breeds that don’t have much energy may also have difficulty. But just because your pooch cannot compete for fame or glory, it doesn’t mean that dog agility should be discarded. Just think of it as an advanced type of trick.
I actually found it great fun to build my own dog agility course from everyday items too. If you would prefer, you can also buy dog agility course obstacles or take your dog to the neighborhood dog agility gym.
What Are The Benefits Of Dog Agility Course?
Besides competing in trials and shows on a local and even an international level, dog agility course training is worth considering because:
- It is great exercise – for both you and four-legged friend!
- Dog agility courses are mentally challenging for your pooch. This helps combat boredom and other pooch behavioral problems.
- It improves communication particularly through body language and helps strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
- Dog agility course training helps to control our pet when he/she is not wearing a lead.
- It can help improve your dog’s overall manners and enhances other types of training.
- Just like tricks, you can be a proud pup parent when showing off your dog’s speed and agility.
- Dog agility boosts your canine’s confidence. This is super for dogs that are shy although this trait may prohibit them from competing professionally.
- It’s just oodles of fun!
What Do I Need To Get Started With Dog Agility Course Training?
The good news is that you can do this at home without having to do it through a club or association, although that would be best if you are planning on competing. There are several dog agility course training materials available that can help you in this regards.
To successfully begin dog agility course training, there are some other training basics that need to be covered. This includes obedience like being able to follow commands. It is also necessary, particularly if your dog will be participating in events, that he/she has been properly socialized with other dogs.
In addition, your pooch must be able to focus on the dog agility course when it is time and not be distracted by other hounds or humans...
The Top Best Dog Agility Courses
So whether you have decided to do dog agility courses just for fun or to enter your pooch into the competitive arena, here is my list of favorite dog agility course manuals.
Best Overall Course Material Before Beginning
Dog Agility Training
- The charismatic Doggy Dan is an experienced professional dog trainer and animal behaviorist.
- There are over short 250 videos covering training techniques, behavioral problems.
- This extensive training course is approved by the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RNZSPCA).
- Doggy Dan explains the why behind certain actions and techniques. I appreciate this insight into pooch psychology.
- You see Doggy Dan putting his advice into action in actual consultations.
- This training course covers everything you need to know, the basics required for dog agility training like obedience and aggression towards other dogs and more. I think this is a must-buy for every pooch parent.
- This package includes optional audio books, PDF documents and articles.
- There’s an online forum for members which is fantastic for connecting with other likeminded people. Best of all, Doggy Dan answers most of the questions himself!
- Videos can’t be downloaded to your hard drive so you need an active internet connection to view.
Best Beginner Dog Agility Course Training Material
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- Steps for each obstacle are clearly explained with photos.
- The sections on dog etiquette and how to build your own dog agility course obstacles are handy.
- The author competes nationally in agility and is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America.
- Includes pre-agility course materials.
- Only available as a paperback/for Kindle. No supplementary materials like videos/audio files.
- Although it's a great beginners’ dog agility course manual, the author makes the assumption that competing is the end goal which is not the case for me. Not recommended if you are only looking for backyard fun.
- A clicker is required for some of the training methods.
Best Overall Dog Agility Course Training Guide
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- Both authors have competed nationally in Europe.
- Approach to this dog agility course training is systematic and effortlessly guides you through the process.
- Reward system works well for speeding up of training.
- Images and charts cannot be enlarged which makes some of them plain difficult to see in Kindle format. The font is too small.
- No supplementary dog agility course materials like audio books or videos however; there are some videos on the official website.
Best Guide To DIY Dog Agility Course Building Handbook
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- In this revised edition, the author has responded to reader’s requests and comments.
- Lists all easy to obtain materials that are required for building your own dog agility course.
- Color coded diagrams are simple to understand – ideal for inexperienced builders like myself!
- Available for Kindle or as a paperback. No bonus materials like audio books/videos. May be necessary to reinforce some of these DIY dog agility course constructions for heavier/larger dogs.
- Covers elementary dog agility course obstacles. More experienced pooch parents may have no need for this book.
Now while I have found a new life for my childhood hula-hoop and Frisbee and am having fun with my dog while doing it, I still don’t have the urge to compete in dog agility course tournaments. Despite that, I hope that my list of best dog agility course materials has been just as helpful to you. You can also check out other dog training posts on NolongerWild.