Agility Dog Training
Agility dog training involves teaching your dog how to run through obstacles, such as going through a tunnel or running between weave poles, while you maintain control of him during the actions. Dogs that do well with this training can go on to compete.
Most agility competitions, however, are dominated by the herding breeds, such as Border Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs. That may lead you to believe it’s not an activity for hunting dogs.
However, hunting dogs can excel for a number of reasons.
To be good at this sport, dogs need only two factors: intelligence and speed. Hunting dogs are some of the most intelligent breeds on the planet. They are amazingly fast learners and follow directions. They are also fast and travel at high speeds for long distances.
Additionally, most hunting dogs are the right physical size.
An important aspect is off-leash control. Your dog can’t race around a course of obstacles while you hold his leash. You need to control him without that leash – for some owners this is the biggest challenge.
Hunting dogs are also trained to follow commands off-leash.
If you are interested in starting your hunting dog, here are some steps to get you started.
1. Find a training center in your area – Many cities have agility dog training clubs. These groups can either provide training or point you in the right direction.
2. Work with obstacles one at a time – In agility, there are approximately 10 different obstacles your dog needs to master. Don’t try to learn all of them at once.
Choose two or three for a training period.
3. Start “Contact” training – On many obstacles, such as the A-frame, the dog will be expected to stop in a certain area of the obstacle before moving onto the next one.
This is known as making contact. Dogs who fail to make contact on just one obstacle can be disqualified in competition.
Make sure to incorporate the “Contact” requirement in your dog’s training from the beginning.
4. Have a partner – Training can be done solo but it helps to have a partner. For example, if you are working on tunnels, you could hold the dog at one end while your partner calls him through at the other end.
Agility dog training should be fun for you and your dog. Remember it also takes patience and a lot of energy.