So, who’s going to be watching the Crufts activities? There’s agility, flyball, heel work to music and obedience just to name a few. I’m so excited!
But before we go on, allow me to introduce myself.
Hi, my name is Sarah Latham and I’m an Admin at Frank and Jellys. I’m also a fur mum to 1x 9 year old Cavalier King Charles, 1x 6 year old Rottie cross cocker, 1x 3 year old Collie and 1x 2 year old cavalier. Yep, I’m a busy fur mum!
Did you know that according to the kennel club, agility is one of the fastest growing canine activities in the world?! I myself am a big fan of agility training and attend agility classes with all my dogs! Some people think you need a border collie to participate and I’m here to tell you that you don’t! Even at Crufts, there are special ABC classes (anything but collie) to show that it is a sport for all dogs.
Like any sport, agility can be trained and competed at different levels. It can be a nice shared hobby for you and your dog in your free time or you can compete more seriously at top-level international competitions.
All breeds of dogs can try agility, that is pure or cross breeds. For safety it is recommended that dogs do not start training on equipment until they are at least a year old and they must be over 18 months of age before competing at agility. If you have a puppy make sure to concentrate your training on ‘waits’ and ‘stays’ to prep them for class time. Using modern, reward-based training is a must! It’s also important to find out what really motivates your dog and to find a trainer that suits you and your dog.
There’s a lot of equipment in agility but these can be tailored to the size of your dog, so it really is suitable for all sizes! Each obstacle will have a number in front of it, make sure you go around the course in the correct order or you will be eliminated.
In every class you will have an opportunity to ‘walk the course’ beforehand so you know which route through the obstacles you and your dog will need to take. It’s like a dance routine!! Obstacles include:
A Ramp & Dog Walk: Make sure your dog touches the contact points at the beginning and end of these obstacles or he will be penalised by the judge.
The Hoop (Tyre), or Tyre Obstacle: The dog must jump THROUGH the tyre, not over it or under it. This takes a lot of training!
Weaving Poles: Always enter the weaves with the dog’s left shoulder and do not miss any out or your dog will be faulted.
Rigid and Collapsible Tunnels: Dogs love these obstacles so much that sometimes they fly through and are difficult to control at the other end. Training will help here.
See Saw: Take this carefully – faults can be incurred if the dog does not touch the contact points. You need to make sure your dog is safe when the see-saw tips and the see-saw must be touching the ground when the dog alights.
The fun just never stops!
Whether you want to compete or go for fun, just get out there and try it!!! I’ve made some wonderful friends as have my furbabies. We have huge laughs and most of all, we enjoy it!
An Agility Joke (just for fun):
Question: What do you get when you cross a sheep with an agility dog?
Answer: A woolly jumper!!!
My Top 5 Tips for Beginner Agility
1. Be Positive and Happy
2. Praise regularly
3. Keep going if it goes wrong
4. Don’t give up on the training
5. Enjoy it!!!
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