10 Steps to Getting Started in Agility

Expert advice for the novice agility enthusiast.

By Annette Osterlund | Posted: Mon Feb 3 00:00:00 PST 2003

Collie1.  Know the basics. Does your dog do a reliable sit, down, and stay? If you and your dog need to brush up, you can find a trainer who uses positive techniques through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

2.  Socialize your dog. Make sure its comfortable around other dogs and in crowded, noisy places.

3.  Schedule enough time. You'll need time for classes and regular practice. Top competitors train every day, but trainers recommend you spend only ten to fifteen minutes per session.

4.  Use positive rewards. Motivate your dog and keep its attention with treats, a toy, or praise. Many instructors discourage and often forbid harsh language and choke collars.

5.  Find an instructor. Your obedience trainer or local humane society might teach agility or be able to direct you to someone who does. Local agility clubs can connect you with teachers. Find a club near you through the agility organizations listed below.

6.  Observe a class. Different teachers have different techniques. Watch how they teach and decide if its right for you and your dog.

7.  Attend some local agility events. Learn about trials, fun matches, and demonstrations by contacting your local breed club, agility club, or the organizations below.

8.  Arrange access to equipment. Your dog will need to practice the different styles of jumps, tunnels, and contact obstacles. Many training facilities have drop-in times. You can even make your own inexpensive jumps with plastic pipes.

9.  Learn more. The web is a great source, and so is Dog Fancy magazine.

10.  Be prepared to have fun. A positive attitude is everything in agility!

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Christina   New Braunfels, TX

4/18/2012 9:06:42 AM

My dog Casey Jones is very good at agility. He rarely knocks bars, (only once in a great while at home, never at trials) he loves doing it, and he's almost as fast as a border collie! He only needs two more Q's in Jumpers With Weaves in AKC to get his novice title! I'm hoping he'll get it this month at his trial.

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Kerry   Westminster, CO

12/15/2011 10:35:03 AM

I just started agility training with my dog after taking her to our new dog park in Westminster, CO that just got some great agility equipment. She's having a great time and I get to supplement the training at the park for free. So much fun!

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Patricia   Holland Patent, NY

11/28/2011 6:14:23 AM

I am interested in getting my dog started on agility.

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Jackie   Hartford, CT

7/12/2011 3:05:50 PM

My dog duke is great at agility, he jumps very high,( for a cane corso) and is very confident, and is lightning fast.

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