Dog agility is a fast, fun dog sport! A dog negotiates an obstacle course of equipment directed by the handler’s voice and body language only. As you might imagine, dog agility is mentally and physically challenging, requires dedicated training, and and relies on and builds a strong relationship between dog and handler. It’s also really good fun and very rewarding to train!
In competitions, the dog who successfully completes all the equipment in the correct order with no faults, and in the fastest time, wins! Competitions are held across the UK and internationally.
There are different types of equipment to train, including tunnels, dogwalks, weave poles, see-saws, aframes, and various different types of things to jump over.
Almost all kinds of dog can participate in agility training, whether you have a Chihuahua, a Labrador, a Poodle, or a crossbreed! Providing your dog is healthy and enjoys training, there’s no reason they can’t enjoy agility training. It’s not all Border Collies! If you’re looking at competitions, you don’t need a pedigree dog to compete in the UK, and there are categories for the different sizes of dogs, from Small to Large. There are also no restrictions for handlers!
There are only a few reasons we might recommend your dog not attempt agility training. For example, if your dog has any existing health problems, especially if they’re on medication, agility is probably not the best choice (this could range from joint conditions like hip or elbow dysplasia or luxating patellas, to other conditions such as epilepsy). The other reason is if your dog is at a higher risk for injury from impact-based training; we usually don’t recommend agility for giant breeds such as Newfoundlands or Saint Bernards.
We prioritise safety when it comes to dog agility. Foundation agility allows you to teach your dog all the basics away from the equipment. This means that when we introduce the equipment, your dog already knows all of the relevant flatwork and can focus on learning how to move their bodies safely when jumping, weaving, and ducking through tunnels! You and your dog will make much faster progress when you reach this stage as a result.
Foundation Agility also gives you the opportunity to start the basics of agility with a younger dog! It’s a great way to build your relationship and training skills with a puppy, without the physical stress and strain of equipment-based agility.
Don’t worry! Whilst we don’t have a full course recap online for various reasons, but you can find information about most of the practical training we have covered in class is detailed in our Online Agility module. The information and videos there should remind you!
You need to be logged in to your North K9 account to access our online content, and if you’ve attended our Foundation Agility course, you should have access to the Online Agility module already. If you don’t have access, please just let us know so we can ensure you can see all the relevant information!
If you would like to continue agility training and your dog is over 12 months old, you can join our Beginner Agility class! This class will introduce you and your dog to the equipment and develop the skills you’ve learned on the Foundation Agility course. Everything we teach will allow you to progress as far as you want to, whether it’s a fun activity or you’re aiming for the competition ring!
If your dog isn’t 12 months old yet, you’ll have to wait before beginning equipment-based classes. This is to ensure your puppy’s growing bones and muscles aren’t damaged by excessive running and jumping! You can continue practising all the skills you’ve already learned. If you’d like to progress, you can contact Leanne at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the options for one-to-one agility training that is age-appropriate for your pup.
If you don’t want to continue agility training, then hopefully you’ll find many of the foundation skills useful in other aspects of your dog training!
We have the option to arrange for one-to-one training at limited times. Please just contact us if this is something you’re interested in. One-to-one agility training may also be appropriate if you attend class but you’d like extra training, or are looking for help on a specific training challenge.
We can also recommend other agility training in our surrounding area that may be scheduld on more suitable days or times for you. You will have to travel further afield, but there are excellent training options available on a regular or one-off basis. Again, please just contact us to discuss so we can recommend the best option for you and your dog!
Leanne teaches all our agility classes at North K9. In her own words:
I have been working with North K9 for over a decade, and have years of experience in dog training, with a special interest in canine fitness and biomechanics after working in veterinary rehabilitation for 10 years. I started agility with my first dog Kim (a lurcher) in 2004, and have trained lots of different breeds/crossbreeds since! I was an agility judge for many years, and I currently compete in agility with my Australian Shepherds. As well as teaching classes, I offer coaching support at competitions for my students. My focus in training is to ensure confident, happy dogs, and encourage a positive mental attitude in handlers, to help everyone reach their potential.
Got any questions? Ask us here!