Agility – training and obstacles
Agility or agility is a dog sport that is enjoyable for humans and dogs. The ‘handler’ (the owner) teaches his dog commands and learns with it to take an obstacle course. All dogs with a bit of a zest for work can learn agility. In 1978 agility was shown to the public for the first time at the world exhibition in London. Now agility has become a worldwide sport.
Requirements for the dog for training
Agility can be trained with all dog breeds. It is only a bonus if the dog is not too heavy and bulky as the dog must be agile and fast if you want to go to a competition. It is important that the dog has basic training before the dog starts Agility. During the training it is expected that the dog can do a few commands such as: sit, down, stay, follow and so on. You also cannot start immediately with agility training because the dog’s bravery, docility, sense of balance, intelligence and accuracy must have grown.
You can start with your dog when the dog is between 12 and 15 months old. Then you have to do the jumps for a while, you can only start when the muscles and the skeleton are fully grown. To participate in a national competition, the dog must be at least 18 months old.
In the Agility sport you are not called a boss but you are the handler of your dog. You can train commands in certain ways, the dogs need to know that they are rewarded for their work. For example, you can make the dog absolutely crazy about a ball. Then if the dog executes the command correctly, he gets the ball.
You can also train some things automatically, for example if you regularly cycle / walk with the dogs and you want to go left or right, always say the command which way you want to go. In this way the dog learns that command in principle automatically.
Rewards can also teach the dog to overcome obstacles. For example, to let the dog jump neatly over an obstacle, you can give the dog the command sit and keep giving it a few meters before the obstacle. You walk past the obstacle yourself with a reward such as a candy or a ball. The dog will jump over because you own a reward. This way you can continue to expand the jump.
There are many different obstacles. One is easier to train than the other. For example, a cat walk is very high, so the dog may find it scary at first. Below is a brief explanation of what the purpose of different obstacles is.
Hoop / band
This obstacle reminds some people of a circus band that lions jump through. The band must be made of foam or at least of material that the dog cannot damage itself at all. The diameter is a minimum of 38 and a maximum of 60 centimeters. The band is secured with chains so that the height is adjustable. The command high or band is used here.
The opening resembles a gate and measures approximately 60 by 60 centimeters. A long, flabby piece of fabric is sewn around the gate.
The length of the trunk may not exceed 3.9 meters. Many dogs find this a fairly difficult obstacle because it is completely dark inside, the dogs have to learn that they can walk through it. The command is used here.
The tunnel does look a bit like the trunk, only this material is not lying on the ground but is round, made of thicker material and metal in between so that the material does not collapse. The length of the tunnel is between 3.6 and 4 meters and has a diameter of at least 60 centimeters. The tunnel can be laid in all kinds of shapes. At this obstacle, the command is used just as with the trunk.
The cat run consists of three parts, namely: a ramp, a horizontal bar and an end. This obstacle has a non-slip layer and the beginning and end has slats for the grip. Especially during rain this is very important because some dogs really try to fly over it and that can be dangerous. There is an interface on the cat run, which is a colored area at the end of the obstacle. The dog must have touched it before jumping off, otherwise it can be dangerous for the joints. If the dog does not touch the interface, the part is wrong. At the cat run and a number of obstacles, you use the command over and stay at the interfaces.
This obstacle consists of two parts that are obliquely against each other. The height is between 1.7 and 1.9 meters. The width is 0.9 meters. The handler must be close by because this obstacle also has an interface. At this obstacle you are also left and continue to be used as a command.
This exercise consists of 8, 10 or 12 posts that are in a straight line behind each other. The dog is supposed to zigzag between the posts. The dog may not skip one pole because you will receive penalty points for each pole. The distance between the posts must be between 0.5 and 0.65 meters. Usually in slalom the command ?? paaltjessssss ?? is used, and the handler remains as long as the ?? sssss ?? repeat until all posts have been
The word says it all, it looks exactly like a seesaw, but not to sit on, but to let the dog walk on it. There is also a common ground on this obstacle. The length of the seesaw is between 3.65 and 4.25 meters. Here too the command over is used and stay in front of the interfaces.
This is also simply a table on which the dog has to sit, stand or lie down for 5 seconds (this is indicated by the judge). The table is between 0.5 and 0.7 meters high and must also have a non-slip coating. This usually takes the command on and then keep the command what should be done, just stay, finish or sit.