What is agility? When most people hear the term “agility,” they may associate it with something like gymnastics. They certainly don’t think of the dog-sport! Agility is a sport that you can compete in with your dog. It is a canine-focused recreational activity in which a handler and their dog navigate an obstacle course, generally competing in time and accuracy. If you’ve ever seen it, you may think that it’s something you or your dog could never do. But that isn’t true! Agility is great for all dogs that love being active!
One of the best things about training agility is that it’s fun. It’s a blast to go to class once or twice a week to meet with other dog owners. It’s a way to meet other dog people and cultivate friendships over your furry companions. Who doesn’t like seeing more happy and talented dogs?
While training your dog most definitely takes commitment and patience, the payoff and satisfaction of seeing your dog complete obstacles is incredible. Furthermore, it’s a wonderful way to build your relationship! Just like with people, the relationship between a human and a dog does not form instantaneously. In training with one another, you will build a stronger relationship based on doing something fun. Just like how you spend one-on-one time with another person to get to know them, agility is an interactive activity that keeps you and your dog engaged together.
So now, the question transforms into something else. How do you do agility? Well, most cities have a training center where you can sign up and take classes. Instructors will teach you how to train your dog on the equipment, and also how to navigate an agility course.
Making sure the instructor is someone you’re comfortable learning from is an important part of the learning process. Before signing up for an agility class, chat with the instructor for a little bit and ask if you can watch a class or two before you sign up. This way you can interact with the other students, see what the instructor’s teaching style is like, and whether it will work well for your and your dog’s needs. For example, do you like very detailed explanations, or do you prefer a brisk pace and focused critique? Do you learn by watching or doing? Finding an instructor more tailored to your preferences can make learning even more enjoyable.
Have you ever heard of agility before? What did you think about it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Erika Newcomb is a full-time college student with a passion for pooches! She’s been training dogs for over 13 years and has been teaching agility classes for the last 3 years. As part of the behind-the-scenes support for @endeavorsofego, she can often be found brainstorming photo ideas and playing with Ego.