Dog Agility Equipment

Dog Agility Training

 The cool thing about training dog agility is that if you do it right, it's a blast for both dog and handler! Even if you have only a postage-stamp sized yard, you can still get started on becoming a competitive team (whatever "competitive" means to you, anyway).

Solo or Class Agility Training?

One of the first decisions you'll need to make is whether to teach your dog on your own or go to a class. Those of you out in the boonies might not have any choice, although at one point I drove 3 hours round trip (over a mountain range) to take a series of classes. (Man, I sound like my Dad, telling us what it was like when he was a kid and had to walk to school through 10 feet of snow. Picking sugar beets along the way. With no shoes on.)

If you are able to, it's a good idea to take a class at least initially. For one thing, agility is as much (more?) about training the handler as the dog, and an instructor can make your journey much less stressful. Plus, getting your dog used to the equipment with a "pro" helping you out is very nice.

Once you and your dog know what's expected, training on your own is great because you can go at your own pace and create a series of lessons that are customized to your own needs. Over to the left are the books that I *highly* recommend. That series is wonderful for someone who's working on their own or just needs some extra exercises between classes.

Common or Clicker Agility Training?

When we took agility classes our instructors were teaching using the "old fashioned" method and it was just fine. But I'm (now) really a big fan of clicker training and if I was starting to learn agility now I'd try and find a clicker trainer.

However, even the folks (that I've been exposed to) who don't do clicker agility training still use very positive methods to get the desired results. After all, if your dog ain't having fun, it'll be hard to get them flying around the course.

If you're not familiar with clicker training you really should look into it. I'm not the kind of guy who jumps on the newest bandwagon when it rolls on, but I've embraced clicker training wholeheartedly.

One of the best places to get clicker gear (books, videos, etc.) is at Karen Pryor's website (she's the author of the classic "Don't Shoot The Dog").

If you love teaching your dog new tricks, clicker training is definitely the way to go. It's awesome!

If you'd like free tips and techniques on training your dog for agility, please join our mailing list.

If you've never been to an agility trial and would like to see a sample course, I've included one on the site. The course shown is a small training course that could be set up in just about any backyard.