If you have an active and energetic dog and you are looking for an activity that allows him to exercise, Agility can be an excellent option: not only will you get your friend to exercise, but you will also have fun together and strengthen your bond.
- ✅SET OF 5 VARYING OBSTACLES: PawHut's pet training set features a variety of obstacle types, such as a high jump, tunnel, weave poles, square pause box, and adjustable jumping ring.
- ✅SIMPLE TO USE: The dog agility kit is quick to set-up and dismantle at the park, on a field, or in your own backyard! You'll always been ready for a training session, wherever you go.
- ✅DURABLE DESIGN: The dog jump bars and pieces are made of a rugged plastic that' s perfect for heavy-duty use. Plus, the space-saving design means it's easy to store.
- ✅SPORTS BAG FOR STORAGE: The dog starter kit come with a convenient sports bag so you can bring the equipment with you wherever you exercise and play.
- ✅HELPS YOU BOND WITH YOUR PET: Nurtures the relationship between you and your pet all while helping your animal get the daily exercise that they need.
Throughout this article we are going to talk at length about this dog sports discipline, so that in this way you have in your hands all the necessary information to decide if you want your dog and you to practice it.
What is Agility?
The Agility is a sport in which a dog must complete a circuit where you will find a number of obstacles that will have to overcome in a given time with the help of a human guide, which will indicate you what to do through verbal commands and gestures.
It is a team activity, which requires great complicity and synchronicity between the dog and its human, since the animal must be completely loose, and its guide is not allowed to touch him or the obstacles. Nor can incentives such as toys or treats be used: that is, the bond and trust between the two must be excellent, and the idea is that both of you have fun doing an activity together.
Generally, Agility circuits have between 14 and 20 different obstacles, among which we can find things such as tunnels, catwalks, jumping fences, seesaws, palisades, wheels or slalom, among others, and the dog must overcome them quickly and precise.
In principle, any dog can practice Agility, regardless of its breed and size, as long as there are no health problems that advise against it.
Of course, until the dog in question is 18 months old, it is recommended that he not do high-impact exercises, such as jumps or sharp turns, since until that age his musculoskeletal system is not fully developed. However, while that moment arrives we can practice other gentler exercises with it.
Anyone can get started in this fun sport with their dog, simply to enjoy doing an activity together and, who wants to go further and practice it more seriously, can even participate in competitions, if they wish.
Origins of Agility
The Agility was born at the end of the 70’s in England quite by chance. It was in 1977, when the organizers of the prestigious Crufts Dog Show commissioned one of its members, John Varley , to organize some type of activity that would serve as entertainment for the public during the break between obedience tests and races. group exhibitions.
Varley came up with an exhibition in which the dogs had to jump a series of obstacles, similar to what horses did in equestrian competitions.
“The Agility was born at the end of the 70’s in England, as an entertainment for the public attending the Crufts Dog Show during the break between different tests and exhibitions.”
As he was not a trainer, and had no idea how to teach dogs to do such a thing, he contacted Peter Meanwell , a canine trainer with many years of experience, and he was the one who devised the first Agility circuit in history, designing the obstacles in such a way that they were totally safe for the dogs, but allowed them to create an entertaining show, which debuted at the Crufts dog show in 1978.
The exhibition was so successful that many dog trainers began to practice this new activity, and in 1980, Agility was officially recognized as a dog sport by The Kennel Club , and its popularity soon spread around the world.
Without a doubt what makes Agility such a popular activity around the world is how much fun it is, both for us and for our dogs. However, this is not the only benefit that this canine sport can bring us. Let’s see some of them.
- Agility is a great way to get your dog to do physical exercise , helping him to improve his agility (obviously), and also to develop good reflexes and increase his flexibility.
- In addition to providing your dog with the opportunity to do physical exercise, Agility also stimulates the dog mentally , since, to complete a circuit, it will not only have to be guided by your instructions, but it must also have a certain capacity for analysis and decision to overcome the different obstacles.
“Agility is an activity that will provide your dog with the opportunity to exercise, in addition to mentally stimulating him, while improving communication, rapport and, ultimately, your bond.”
- Practicing Agility with your dog will teach you to use body language to communicate with him clearly and effectively , being more aware of the gestures and movements you make, so the communication and rapport between the two will improve considerably.
- Your dog will learn to be aware of you and to obey you while he is having fun : in fact, he will do so precisely because he will conclude that when you are together and he listens to you, funny things happen. Ultimately, your bond will become closer.
- Learning to perform different exercises will improve your dog’s self-esteem and self-confidence .
Can all dogs practice agility?
Before starting to practice Agility with your furry you should bear in mind that not all dogs are equally suitable for this type of activity. To begin with, there are certain breeds that, due to their physical characteristics, are not capable of carrying out overly demanding exercises.
This is the case of very large breed dogs, such as Mastiffs or Great Danes, which are normally very calm and not as energetic or agile as other smaller breeds.
You should also be very careful if your dog belongs to one of the brachycephalic breeds, such as the boxer or the bulldog, since, due to their physical characteristics, they tend to have respiratory problems, so they do not have much tolerance for physical exercise. especially if it’s hot.
“There are dogs that, due to their physical characteristics, their age or their state of health, are not the most suitable for practicing Agility. It is always advisable to do a veterinary check-up before starting your furry in this activity. “
Other breeds that can have problems with certain agility exercises, especially those that involve jumping, are those with very short legs and a very elongated torso, as is the case of the dachshund or the basset hound, since they can damage their back .
If your dog is getting older, or if he has a health problem, such as cardiovascular disease, or one of a joint type that can limit his movement, such as hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis, Agility is not the most suitable sport for him. In fact, it is always advisable to do a good veterinary check-up before starting to practice any sport with your dog .
If your dog is among any of the cases that I have cited in this section, but you would still like to be able to practice Agility with him, you can always create a circuit that adapts to his characteristics and particularities, avoiding the exercises with more impact, and opting by others that are less physically demanding, allowing your dog to go at his own pace, without forcing him and having fun together.
If you notice that your dog is not comfortable doing the exercises, and is not having a good time, do not force him: after all, there are many other activities that you can do together.
Dog breeds best suited to practice Agility
Although, in principle, almost any dog could practice Agility within its capabilities, it is true that there are breeds that are usually more suitable for this canine sport, either because of their physical constitution or because of their character. However, it is also true that many breedless dogs are excellent at agility.
There are certain characteristics that make a dog excellent in agility: that it is intelligent and learns with ease; that he has a lively temperament and a balanced and docile character thanks to which he is willing to follow the instructions of his guide; and, of course, be agile, active and fast.
With all this in mind, it must be recognized that there are certain breeds that start with an advantage, since they possess many (if not all) of these characteristics, which makes them stand out in the Agility championships. Let’s see some of them.