3 Valuable Tips for Starting Agility with your Awesome Dog
Author: Ralph the Mini Cockapoo
We are proud to announce that today’s post is sponsored by Isle of Dogs in support of their mission to promote nutrition and wellness for all dogs through their wide selection of superior food, treats, supplements, and premium grooming products. The opinions expressed in this post solely represent my views and no one else’s.
Do you have a pup who’s bored? Does your Dog have a lot of energy? Are you looking for a fun new way to play with your Dog?
If you said YES to any of these questions then I believe that Agility Training is the solution for you and your pup!
We are so excited about our partnership with Isle of Dogs because both on and off the Agility Course we believe that Ralph is a champion and strive to give him the most superior products for his health and wellness. Isle of Dogs understands that as a Pet Parent, I care so much about what goes in and on my dog’s body.
What is Dog Agility?
Have you ever watched American Ninja Warrior? Agility is essentially the same concept, except your dog is the one tackling a series of challenging obstacle courses! The American Kennel Club defines Agility as “a sport where you direct your dog through a pre-set obstacle course within a certain time limit. Courses typically have between 14-20 obstacles, which can include tunnels, weave poles, tire jumps, seesaws, and pause tables where the dog must stop for a set amount of time.” Sounds pawsome, right?
If you have never seen Agility, then I recommend going to YouTube and searching for Dog Agility or attending a competition in person! You will be impressed with the speed and performance of the dogs who participate in this sport. Fortunately, Agility is for all breeds and sizes of dogs. It is so exhilarating for me to watch Ralph zoom through obstacles like he is the superhero “The Flash”! If you are intrigued about this sport, I know that my three tips below will help you on your journey to starting Dog Agility with your pup!
1. Use only the Very Best Treats!
If your dog is anything like Ralph (highly food motivated) then we suggest using the most irresistible treats during your Agility training sessions. You want something that will keep them engaged and focused during your training sessions. For Ralph those treats are the scrumptious Isle of Dog Jerky Bites! With two savory flavors to choose from, Ralph cannot resist these premium treats.
I love that the IOD Jerky Bites are 90% meat, grain-free, and made with all natural ingredients. It is comforting to know that I am rewarding him during Agility with these high protein treats that are made of only the good stuff (no artificial preservatives or flavors).
Pro Tip: for those of you with small pups, cut 4-5 IOD Jerky Bites into smaller pieces for your training sessions. The IOD Jerky Bites have the perfect texture that make it easy to cut or break them into tiny bite size morsels.
2. Start with Small Obstacles
The simplest obstacle in Agility is having your dog jump over a bar. In Agility, there are multiple jump heights for different sized dogs. Being on the small side, Ralph’s official jump height for obstacles is only eight inches. Don’t be afraid to get creative and look for items around your home that you can utilize as jumps.
My recommendation is to start with a broomstick laying on the ground and reward your pup when they walk over it. After they have mastered this, get some books or other items to prop up the broomstick (think Limbo) and reward your dog for stepping over the broom. With patience and practice you can raise the height and your dog will be jumping over the broomstick before you know it.
Our favorite and the first Agility trick we ever taught Ralph to do is called “hoop”. In reality, “hoop” is also very simple. Essentially the trick is where you put your arms in the shape of a circle and ask your dog to jump through. When beginning to teach this trick, it is helpful to have two people. One person is making their arms in the shape of a circle (start by keeping your arms low to the ground) and the other person is enticing your dog through the circle with Jerky Bites.
If you are looking to take your Agility training to the next level research and find local clubs or training facilities in your area. The AKC website is a wonderful resource that you can search by zip code or state.
3. Stay Positive and Have Fun!
We ensure that Agility training is the best playtime ever for Ralph! Keep your own sessions positive and show your dog lots of love for every small achievement. Positivity and delicious IOD Jerky Bite treats help to keep Ralph engaged and highly motivated to keep learning.
Training Ralph for Agility has created such a special bond with him and has also been a great way to get out all of his energy. He is so fast and I quickly discovered that Agility training is great exercise for him and me! I have also observed a big difference in Ralph’s behavior since we started doing Agility. He is no longer “bored” or engaging in “destructive” behaviors around the house such as chewing on the couch throw pillows.
Ultimately, I have learned that Agility training is both challenging and extremely rewarding at the same time. Be sure to follow Ralph’s agility adventures on Instagram and I look forward to watching Ralph’s growth in trainings and upcoming competitions!
Have any questions or want more information about Agility Training? Let us know in the comments below!