If dog agility evokes images of a Border Collie leaping through hoops and speeding up ramps under the watchful eyes of an audience, it’s time to turn that notion on its head. While it’s true that dog agility originated as a timed competitive sport where dogs and handlers navigated an obstacle course that required well-trained canine competitors to jump, sprint and weave, an increasing number of paw-rents are participating in the sport as a recreational activity. Here are some reasons why you should hop on board the dog agility bandwagon.
Build A Bond
Dog agility relies on the trust and communication between paw-rent and furkid. Urging a dog from one end of the course to the other without the use of treats or rewards, dog agility deepens the connection between handler and pooch. The dog has to learn to listen to its handler’s verbal cues or observe hand gestures, and act upon it.
“The owner must trust his dog and the dog must learn to read its owner’s signals and body language,” says Jazz Ng, chief trainer at APawz Dogsports Academy. At the same time, paw-rents can learn their pup’s strengths and weaknesses. Working together to overcome obstacles will naturally foster a closer bond.
All Can Participate
The sport doesn’t discriminate against any dog breed. While Border Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs are some of the more common breeds that participate in dog agility, Ween Sze Teoh—a member of the Singapore Kennel Club’s dog sports committee, secretary of the Clean Run Agility Club in Singapore, and trainer with SuperNova Dog Sports Academy — says that she has seen Poodles, Toy Poodles, Miniature Schnauzers, Mauzers, Cavoodles, Labradoodles and Singapore Specials in agility trials.
Of course, it is important that your pup isn’t pushed to its limit as it may get injured. “The nature of a dog’s physical body must be taken into account. For example, heights of obstacles may be lowered for breeds like Pugs, or dogs that have hip dysplasia,” says Ween Sze. An obstacle course can be tailored to suit the needs of each dog.
The article can be found in:
Together Time (pg 62) of Pets Magazine, Apr/May 2018 issue.