Quickly growing in popularity, dog agility training is a fantastic outlet for your dog’s abundant energy supply. Agility training will get your dog into the best shape of his life. It will also increase your dog’s mental acuity through problem solving. Dogs that are properly exercised and happy are much less likely to participate in destructive behaviors. With so much activity to keep him occupied, your dog will be in a better mood later, likely just wanting to relax. Before we get started, you should know that not all dog breeds will excel at agility training. For example, very large dog breeds such as Great Danes, St. Bernards or Mastiffs are not suited for dog agility training. They simply tire out too quickly. If a dog is too small, he won’t be able to jump over the hurdles. However, working and herding breeds such as Retrievers, Shepherds, Spaniels and Terriers will take to dog agility training quite nicely. Animal Behaviorist Mary Galloway DVM emphasizes the importance of properly evaluating your dog before beginning them in agility training. For example, does your dog like to run? Does she enjoy being around other dogs? Is he too strong-willed for the sport of agility? If your dog is athletic and full of energy and the right size, he might be the perfect candidate for dog agility training. Before your dog can do agility training, it is important that he already follows basic obedience commands. This training should include dog training hand signals, which you can learn here. These are helpful because during agility training, your dog will need to listen and pay attention to follow your directions and hand signals in order to perform the tricks you are asking of him. In addition to knowing the basic commands, such as sit, down and heel, he will need to know when to turn left or right, and to speed up or slow down according to your hand commands. This is why it is important to establish a firm foundation with obedience training first. Before starting your dog with agility training, wait until he or she is full-grown. A puppy simply won’t be ready for it. Most dogs will become ready at about 1 year old. If you have a dog over the age of 8, dog agility training may be too rigorous for them. If you are interested in watching dog agility trials, you can check out a local dog agility club in your area. It is really enjoyable to watch these dogs performing exercises on an obstacle course. You have likely watched dog agility competitions on television, so you have an idea of how well-trained these dogs can be. There are a variety of obstacles that the dogs will need to go over or go through. Not only does this require a well-trained dog, but a physically gifted dog as well. When you watch an agility competition, it looks like the dog owners are having a good time. Dog enthusiasts will enjoy seeing the level of results that dog agility training can provide. There are also dog agility clubs that you can join to help you train your dog. By following agility training exercises, your dog will learn a variety of tasks. . Logically, this means you will have to pick up some dog agility equipment of your own. Or, you can create your own canine obstacle course which is suggested by Cesar Millan. Your dog will be able to crawl through a tunnel, jump over hurdles, walk over a teeter totter and climb up and down an A-framed structure. All of these exercises together will test your dog’s dexterity and conditioning. As a bonus, you will be exercising right alongside of your dog. If you think your dog’s personality and size are right for agility training, you can check out a local agility club to get started. You shouldn’t be intimidated by how hard the exercises look. Your dog will progressively learn agility training step by step. Some dogs will be motivated to run the obstacle course with the help of treats. For others, their favorite tug toy will be better appreciated. Find out what your dog responds to the best and stick with it. However, just realize that if you decide to put your dog in an agility competition, you likely won’t be permitted to use a treat or toy to get him to run the course. Agility makes great exercise for you and your dog, providing an incredible opportunity for you to bond and work together as a team. Agility is also fun, so keep in mind that it is not so much about who wins the competition. It should be more about how happy you and your dog are after the last obstacle has been cleared.