Agility as a sport has been around since the mid-80’s. With each passing decade, the game has become faster and more challenging with an emphasis on FUN! I warn all of my students prior to starting this game with your dog that it is so addictive! It’s why I own the business; to pay for my addiction! This game really builds the element of teamwork between the dog and handler. I think my favourite part of teaching a new team about the sport is when the dog completes an obstacle and looks back at their handler to “ask” what’s next? That’s the moment the dog has fallen in love with the game, and it inspires the owners to keep playing.
There are different games within the sport which offer challenges to both the dog and the handlers. Each course can be made up of a series of jumps, tunnels, a teeter, A-Frame and weave poles. The goal is to complete the course with no faults, and if you are a really serious competitor, the fastest time. Most of our students play for the fun of it. It’s a great way to keep both physically and mentally active. I have a student who has been playing with us for over a decade with different dogs and she is in her late 80’s. I keep telling her she is my hero. I want to be able to play with my dogs until my body won’t let me.
Because agility is played with the dog off leash, it’s a great way to build that off leash control that all of us dog owners crave. The dogs learn to work with you, not against you, and because of the bonding that naturally occurs through training, the dogs want to work for you. They learn that you are a lot of fun to be with.
The sport is demanding on a dog’s body and mind. Therefore it’s not just a great form of exercise but also a great source of mental stimulation. As you progress as a team, the dogs are required to learn to problem solve and make split second decisions that will benefit the team as a whole. Have a dog that’s bored? Getting into mischief? Agility will solve a lot of those issues. What’s nice is that any breed can play including mixes. Keep in mind though that some dogs physically aren’t built to be agile but I do know of some Mastiffs and Great Danes that play. Recently we’ve had a beagle join the program. She is awesome.
We’ve recently revamped our training program to allow puppies to start learning the game at a young age. We are still careful to protect young, soft joints, so we start the dogs using obstacles that you can find around your household. For example, empty water jugs to teach distance skills and collection cues, toilet plungers for “weave poles”, broom handles for “jumps”. You are limited only by your imagination.
Paus-n-Train offers agility classes year round. Classes are 1 hour per week for 6 weeks with an after tax total of $152.55. You can register online through our website at: www.paus-n-train.com.