A Complete Guide to Canine Agility
By: Ruben Sanchez
Dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend.” In most cases, dogs are loyal, loving, and constant companions. While there is no question that dogs can make great pets, some individuals choose to train the animals and enter them in agility training competitions. Dog agility training is considered by many individuals to be a relatively new activity; in fact, it was developed only in the late 1970s. While there are a number of benefits associated with agility training, an improved sense of obedience is perhaps most important. In addition, dogs who participate in agility training can often obtain improvements in strength, fitness, and natural instinct recognition and reaction.
Popular Dog Breeds
There are a number of popular dog breeds that are currently appreciated by individuals living in all parts of the world. Over the last several years, the Labrador retriever has topped the list of the most favored dog by the American Kennel Club. Other popular dog breeds include the German Sheppard, beagle, golden retriever, Yorkshire terrier, bulldog, and boxer. Finally, the poodle, dachshund, and Rottweiler top the list of the 10 most popular dogs in the world. While these dogs may be favored by dog enthusiasts, it is important to note that they are not the only ones that can be used in agility training. In fact, almost any breed of dog can effectively be trained to perform well in agility competitions.
Training is obviously essential for individuals, and their dogs, who hope to achieve optimal results when it comes to agility competitions. While most dogs can begin agility training at any age, care must be taken when the animals are under one year of age, so as to prevent damage to fragile joints. In addition to agility training, many dogs also participate in physical training so as to promote improvements in strength and physical endurance. Though some owners choose to train their own dogs, others turn to the use of a professional agility trainer, who may be more skilled and experienced in the field.
- North American Dog Agility Council
- What is Dog Agility?
- Pet Facts: Dog Agility
- Canine Agility Training Society, Inc.
As with training, the use of proper equipment is important for success in the field of dog agility training. While there are a number of pieces of equipment that may be used both in competition and agility training, A-frames, dog-walks, and teeter-totters are among the most popular. In addition, cross-overs, tunnels, and hurdles are common pieces of equipment that may be used by dogs during agility training or competition. Depending on the skill level and age of the dog, a number of other pieces of training equipment may be used on a regular basis.
Competition and Rules
There are currently a number of popular dog agility competitions in existence around the world. Some of the most well-known include the AKC Agility Invitational and the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge. To compete in these competitions, dogs must typically pass age, breed, and health standards. In addition, in some advanced contests, dogs must show proof of success in other competitions to obtain enrollment.
- Rules and Regulations
- Minnesota 4-H Dog Agility Rules and Guidelines
- Agility Dog Show Rule Book
- Agility Contests go to the Dogs As Tiny Breeds Star in ‘Petit Prix’
- Upcoming Agility Trials
Health and Nutrition
Maintaining the health of any dog is important to ensure good health and long life. However, dogs who participate in agility competitions may have even more stringent nutrition and health needs. For best results when it comes to maintaining the health of an agility dog, regular consultation with a qualified veterinarian is essential. In addition, feeding a dog a healthy diet that contains protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats is a good way to ensure they are obtaining appropriate nutrients.
- Healthy Dogs
- Dog Nutrition Center
- Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs
- Dog Symptoms A to Z
- Raising a Healthy Dog