These are the sentences that dog parents dread hearing. Despite walking your dog 1-2 times a day, it never seems to be enough. It might be time to switch up the exercise routine with an agility course!
I got the idea when walking my dogs. My 1 year old pup always pulls us ahead while my 3 year old dog lags behind. It gets frustrating trying to control the speed of 2 dogs. They needed another way to redirect their energy.
Dogs love a challenge. And agility courses challenge your dog’s mind and body. It helps to strengthen muscles, improve coordination, and increase endurance.
Agility training will also help to strengthen the bond between dog and owner. Team work helps you to learn body language from each other. And your dog relies on your verbal cues to make it through the course.
Sure, you can drive to a dog agility club for a sophisticated course. But most home dog agility courses are priced at $40 - $90. And you have the convenience of a portable dog agility course for your backyard or for travel.
The course is easy to put together. All objects secure to the ground with a stake. This prevents obstacles from tipping over or rolling.
And if you want your dog to become an agility master, there are extra objects you can buy. Add-on items like “A” frame ramps or seesaws helps to build core stability and muscle strength.
We started with the basic dog agility course. The first time through the course, we took it slow. I lured the dogs with treats so they could navigate the obstacles. And I used my clicker to mark my dog's correct move.
After a few attempts, the dogs found their rhythm and started to have fun! They enjoyed the high jump and the tunnel. But the weave poles are challenging for them. With more practice, I know they will soon be pros.
To make the course more challenging, try running through the course in reverse. Instead of running through the weave poles first, try running through them last. It will keep your dog curious and mentally stimulated!
Dog agility is for all breeds and ages. It doesn’t matter how skillful, fast, or coordinated you are. Every step slowly builds confidence. And speed and coordination will improve. What matters is that you’re making fun memories with your dog while also getting the added bonus of exercise!
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