Agility – the competition of dogs with the hearts of champions
Every second counts with agility. To achieve the best possible elapsed time through the obstacle course, dogs and handlers need to work together like the gears on a Swiss watch. To develop their skill and teamwork to a competitive fine edge, they need to work together consistently before entering competitions.
Ringwood based Aldens Kennels is a leader in agility training both in terms of the level of expertise offered by their certified trainers and in terms of the state-of-the-art facility on Barnard Mill Road.
In the winter months, agility training takes place inside Aldens heated 5,000-square-foot building. But, in the summer months, they take the action outdoors where dogs and handlers enjoy the ability to commune with nature on the boundary with Glacial Park Nature Preserve. It’s hard to imagine a better setting for working the obstacle course of agility.
Unlike rally, which also requires handlers to work with their dogs as they negotiate an obstacle course, agility is much more intense.
“Rally isn’t nearly as demanding as agility,” said Aldens Kennels Trainer Darius Kidd. “Agility is faster paced. There are no real opportunities for obedience commands. There are just obstacles the dog has to go through.”
Kidd said there are actually penalties for giving oral commands to dogs during agility competitions.
“The dog comes to an obstacle and has to know what to do when it gets there,” he said.
Border collies seem to have the perfect temperament for the sport, though competition is open to any breed. Kidd said border collies seem to have the right intensity and drive to excel at agility.
“They’ll do it until they collapse from exhaustion,” he said.
Some dogs can pick up the basics of agility in a short time, though it takes longer to achieve a high enough level of proficiency to seriously compete. On the other hand, Kidd said that if a dog isn’t interested learning the basics can take much longer.
Handlers can use food and toys to encourage reticent dogs to do better but there’s nothing like a dog that really loves the sport. The winners at agility just love the challenge.
In some cases, owners train their dogs for agility with no intention of competing against other dogs. A dog that is good at agility is a dog that has a leg up on good behavior.
Think your dog might have what it takes for agility? Maybe you just want to work with your dog in agility as a means of building a stronger bond while your dog has a fun way to improve on its obedience. In either case, Aldens can help you determine if agility will work for you and your dog.
For more information about rally, call 815-728-0559 or visit: www.http://aldenskennels.com/rally_dog_training.