Three years ago, Faith wanted to give that special dog a place to call home. As a big supporter of rescuing shelter pets, she chose to adopt Zach – a Lab/Terrier mix – from the nearby Humane Society. Zach had been abused and neglected, but his sweetness remained intact. Unbenounced to her at the time, Zach had more energy and mischievousness than one dog should be allowed to possess. His favorite pastime was racing through the house like a rocket with a wild-eyed look, butt tucked and stealing everything that wasn’t nailed down. Trying to catch him meant it’s ‘game on’! Realizing the stereotype training wasn’t going to tame his craziness, she had wondered if agility training was good for dogs like Zach. She wanted to create a trusting bond and redirect his energy without compromising his amazing spirit.
Her research found the sport of Agility Training hit the ground running in the United States during 1986, and has continued to gain recognition and popularity. A typical agility course utilizes various training tools like clicker training or treats to encourage dogs through a series of customizable obstacles ranging from; jumps, weave poles, dog walks, tubes and chutes. Your dog is taught to maneuver through the course by either you or an experienced trainer. Obstacles and difficulty are progressively adjusted to their performance and abilities, making it ideal for various participants from beginners up to professional competition.
In today’s on-the-go society, our pets can sometimes get lost in the chaos leaving them bored, frustrated, depressed, insecure and disconnected. Agility Training helps bring us closer to our pet while restoring the sanity and participation in their lives. Providing an abundance of benefits for both the dog and owner, it is not only healthy but also improves obedience and confidence. Whether Sparky has too much spark or is a dimming senior dog; training of this type improves overall health and stamina, strengthens cognition and communication as well as owner bonding to name a few benefits – making it the most versatile training available.
Zach is just one example of a circumstance where agility training can be good for dogs. He endured abuse and neglect, giving way to insecurity and stress induced destructive behavior. It was important for Faith to refrain from yelling, display of agitation or ‘hands-on’ discipline with him to avoid a reaction of withdrawal and cowling. Unfortunately, we see this so much in rescued dogs.
Likewise, many senior dogs are abandoned for various reasons in shelters or along roadsides discarded like a bag of trash. These dogs are left devastated. At first, their despair or illness might seem unmanageable. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, many shelters and foster care homes both advocate and participate in agility training as a form of teaching confidence, relieving boredom, stress and depression as well as positive re-enforced disciplinary training. The benefits of Agility training are rewarding and limitless. Contact your vet if you have any health concerns.