Archive for the ‘Agility Training Equipment’ Category

Agility Training Equipment And Coaching To Groom A Champion

If you are thinking about beginning to train your dog to be the next agility superstar, you are going to need some basic agility training equipment and some basic obedience training first.

Before you begin training your dog there are a few things your dog will need to master before you begin.

Minimum Dog Requirements:

– Your dog needs to be at least 9 months old.
– Your dog needs to get along well with other dogs and be well socialized.
– Your dog needs to know these basic commands and do them on command: stay, sit, down and come.
– Your dog needs to be capable of walking on a leash loosely. Tuggers need not apply.

There are reasons these requirements are in place. Dog agility is a fast paced sport and many dogs can become over-excited during training and competitions. It is essential that you have control over your dog at all times.  In fact, showing that control is part of the agility training course as you will find out.

If you think your dog is ready you can sign up for an beginner agility training class. These classes will typically have the basic agility training equipment and class sizes range from 10-25 people. The number of instructors in each class will vary depending upon the number of participants.

Normally there is a 1:6 ratio; 1 teacher for every 6 dogs. The first class you can expect your dog to be matched up with other dogs of similar breed/size.

These dog agility classes can last anywhere from 6 – 15 weeks. So, before you sign up you need to determine how much time you are willing / able to commit to training your dog. Remember, your dog will have homework to practice too so work that time into your schedule as well.

The basics you will need for these classes are:

– A 6 foot lead and collar for your dog.
Training treat bag filled with your dogs favorite treats
– Your dogs favorite toy, like a tug toy or ball
– Portable water bowl
– Portable Pop-up Kennel
– Poop pick-up bags

Once you begin your classes you will probably want to purchase specific pieces of agility training equipment in order to practice with your dog at home.

Probably one of the first pieces you will need will be a Teeter. This is simply a flat board which has the yellow markings (contact areas) which dogs walk on and it moves up and down like a teeter totter. This skill is vital for dogs to master because most dogs do not normally like walking on moving surfaces such as the teeter board. It is important that you work with your dog so eventually they begin to create muscle memory, allowing them to know exactly what parts of the board the must step on in order to not be penalized.

Another useful piece of agility training equipment to have at home is the dog tunnel. Dogs barrel through this obstacle at top speeds so you will want to work with your dog to increase their speed and beat their personal best times.

Buy a set of 4-6 training weave poles. The weave is probably the most difficult skill for dogs to master and takes the longest time to develop confidence and speed on. Start your dog off with short 5-10 minute practices every day. There are some great agility training DVDs which feature champion agility dog trainers who walk you through the weave and teach you how to make practice more fun for you and your dog.

The main goal as a beginner is not to be perfect, it is to build confidence, learn focus and teach patience to you and your dog. The most important thing that you need to remember is that agility IS a team sport between you and your dog.  Learning to work together and master these skills will give both you and your dog tremendous satisfaction!

Because there are so many options out there in agility training equipment, it is easy to get confused and purchase equipment which will hurt your dogs training and end up wasting your time and money. Stick to the basics: Contact Board, Dog Tunnel, Training Weave Poles and Weave DVDs.