Spotlight on Canine Agility Work

Your border collie Ace is a natural canine athlete. Ace absolutely loves to run, tearing through a nearby field at blinding speed, and racing through the dog park whenever he can find a clear stretch of ground. Channel Ace’s boundless energy into canine agility work, a high-energy canine sport in which off-leash dogs tear through an obstacle course. While each course varies, Ace might leap over barriers, race through tunnels, and weave through poles in a certain order – while you give him voice commands and run along with him. If this sounds like a good potential activity, ask your Colorado Springs veterinarian to give Ace the green light for this super-energized sport. Learn more about canine agility work below.

Give Your Dog an Agility Tryout

First, determine if Ace shows an initial interest in canine agility work. Find a dog park with an obstacle course, and watch Ace as he navigates the challenges with your guidance. If Ace appears mentally focused and seems to enjoy himself, you might have discovered an outlet for his unlimited energy.

And here’s some good news: any dog – small or large – can participate in canine agility work. Small terriers, medium-sized spaniels, and even large golden retrievers and German shepherd dogs can excel on courses designed for dogs’ sizes and physical capabilities. Here’s the only real requirement: an ability to handle this demanding sport’s physical and mental challenges.

Canine Agility Prep Work

Since Ace has a clean bill of health, he’s ready to begin an agility class. On the other hand, if Ace was just out of puppyhood, he might not have the strength or stamina needed for agility work. In this case, your vet might recommend conditioning exercises that would prepare Ace’s body for agility work when he finished maturing.

Good thing Ace excelled at obedience work, too, as this means he should be able to easily obey your commands on the agility course. Ace’s agreeable nature, and ability to get along with other dogs and people, will also be helpful. After all, you sure don’t want your off-leash dog harassing his competitors or their human partners or spectators.

Basic Agility Training

Since Ace is a brand-new beginner, his trainer will first teach him several basic agility skills. Ace will learn to navigate tunnels, hoops, and other common course obstacles. Each time Ace masters a challenge, he’ll take on a higher-level obstacle or a more demanding sequence. Eventually, Ace will practice regularly on a competition-level agility course.

Since Ace loves rewards, give him praise and/or treats when he successfully completes a task. When Ace takes part in his first agility competition, invite your Colorado Springs vet to share in this memorable experience.