A dog in pink harness

Beyond Walking: Harness Training for Agility and Obstacle Courses

Agility is an incredible exercise for both you and your furry companion, and it develops a deep deeper relationship between you. It’s fun to watch as your dog efficiently crawls through tunnels, leaps through tires, and weaves around poles. In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know to about agility and obstacle courses:

             

What is Agility Training for Dogs?

Dog agility is a canine sport where your dog navigate through a pre-set obstacle course within a certain time limit. Courses typically have between 14-20 obstacles but it can vary. A typical agility trial includes tunnels, tire jumps, weave poles, seesaws, and more!
 
An agility trial is a competitive canine sporting event where dogs of various breeds navigate obstacles and are judged on speed and accuracy. Agility Obstacle courses are designed to demonstrate a dog's athletic ability and require physical prowess, along with mental concentration. Dogs jump over hurdles, navigate around obstacles, and weave through upright poles. The owner or handler gives directions to dogs through hand signals or verbal prompts.

                    

A dog is crossing an obstacle course

 

Types of Agility Exercises for Dogs

Jumps: Your dog leaps over hurdles, such as tyres, of varying heights.
Tunnel exercises: Your dog navigates through tunnels.
Seesaws: Your dog balances on a seesaw, with one end touching the ground.
Weave Poles: Your dog weave through a series of upright poles.
A-Frames: Your dog climbs up and down a steeply angled frame.
Dog Walks: Your dog walks across a narrow plank elevated above the ground.

 

Getting Started in Dog Agility

To get started with dog agility training, you can start working with homemade obstacles to build simple foundation skills. You may use obstacles like a large open box for a tunnel and a hula hoop for a tire jump. Also, you may use a collapsible tunnel at a toy store and train your dog to walk through it. There are also really good and free online resources, like videos and books, that walk you through training.

However, nothing is better than getting into an agility class. Look for a local club or private instructor for expert help

Agility training is not about forcing your dog into a particular behavior. In fact, it’s about learning how to perfectly communicate with body language and enthusiasm. A training harness for dogs is sufficient to keep your furry pal in your immediate control. When considering a dog training harness, the Rabbitgoo dog harness is a great choice. The advantage of dog training harness is that it’s least likely to cause injury. Dogs generally accept wearing harnesses more easily than a collar.

Use Rabbitgoo Tactical Leash for perfect functionality and comfort for your dog. This leash is attached to a ring on the harness.

 

 

Benefits of Agility Training for Dogs

Agility training uses a dog’s natural hunting instincts and athletic skills. It offers numerous benefits including:

  • A good exercise: Agility training provides a full-body workout for your dogs. It keeps them fit, strengthens bones, prevent obesitys, and helps them build strength, endurance, and flexibility.
  • Helps keep you in shape: Agility training provides good cardiovascular, muscular, and mental exercise for you and your furry companion. You are not running through a tunnel or weave through upright poles, but you will keep moving alongside your dog.  
  • Bonding: Agility training requires teamwork and open communication using verbal cues and hand signals. It strengthens the bond between dogs and their owners. Your dog relies on you for guidance on the obstacle course, so it also becomes more well-behaved and obedient off the course.
  • Confidence Building: Successfully completing agility obstacle courses boosts your dog's confidence and self-esteem.

            

Tips for Dog Agility Training

Here are a few things you should consider before launching agility training:

  • Use positive reinforcement techniques: Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement, so reward-based agility training motivates them to learn. Rewards can include verbal praise,  treats, or a gentle pat on their head. Infact, anything that makes your dog associate the behavior with a positive outcome.
  • Be consistent patient: Consistency is the cornerstone of successful agility training. Use the same hand signals and verbal cues consistently and follow a regular training schedule. Repetition reinforces the association between your command and the action, leading to quicker learning and retention.
  • Be patient: Also, patience is essential; every dog learns at its own pace. Some dogs may grasp hand signals and verbal cues quickly, while others may take more time. Celebrate your dog’s progress and remain patient throughout the agility training process.
  • Make sure your furry companion is physically fit: Agility training involves lots of running and jumping, so your dog should be physically fit and active. The level of exercise your furry companion needs is largely influenced by dog breed. A dog's size, energy levels, stamina, and physical and mental limitations vary depending on its breed.

 

 

Dog breeds that are highly energetic and playful with high exercise needs are

  • Dog breeds in the sporting group: They need 60-120 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per day.
  • Dog breeds in the working group: They need 60-120 minutes of exercise daily.
  • Dog breeds in the herding group: They need 60-120 minutes of daily physical exercise with at least 60-90-minutes of vigorous exercise.
  • Dog breeds in the terrier group: They need 60-90 minutes of daily exercise with 30 minutes of moderate to intense play.
  • Scent hounds: They need 60-90 minutes of moderate to intense activity daily.

Dog breeds with medium to low exercise needs include

  • Brachycephalic dog breeds: They need 20-30 minutes of exercise daily.
  • Dog breeds in the toy group: They need 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise daily.
  • Sighthounds: They need 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise daily with an occasional short burst of running.
  • Giant dog breeds: They need 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise daily.

 

Final Thoughts

Agility training is a precious bonding time for you and your dog; it strengthens the relationship with your dog. Praising your dog and showering with praises and treats during agility training is rewarding for you and him.

It takes time and effort for agility training, but keep in mind that every journey begins with a single step! With a little effort and work, you and your four-legged companion may both exemplify the very definition of agility!

Hope you enjoyed reading this article! Let us know how your leash training is working out! We would be happy to hear from you!

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