By Celebrity Dog Trainer, Joel Silverman
For those of you looking for something fun to do with your dog, as well as something that will help burn off some extra energy, agility training might be a good idea. This is also excellent for dogs with high prey drive looking for a job. For those of you that have never heard of agility training, I wanted to give you an introduction to it.
I was first introduced to agility training when filming my very first TV series Good Dog U back in 1999. I had the opportunity to interview an excellent trainer, and she was able to share with the viewers some information on some of the obstacles, and really why agility training was such a great thing to get your dog involved in. As we fast-forward about 15 years later, I have had the chance to interview even more awesome agility trainers on my most recent TV series What Color is Your Dog?
For those of you that do not know about agility training, this is a dog/owner team sport where the trainer works with the dog as the dog goes through a series of obstacles. Depending on the type of agility training, the trainer either runs along side the dog, guiding the dog through each obstacle, or not moving around too much and sending the dog through each obstacle. The dog goes through a series of these obstacles, and receives a score based on the amount of obstacles he went through, and how fast this all happened. I guess the greatest thing about this sport is that I love watching the owner and dog, because you can see that they both are having such a great time. The one thing I like about agility training is there are a number of people that will bring their dog to agility classes that never worry about competing. They just teach the dog the obstacles, and they love that!
An example of a few obstacles are the “A-frame”, the “cross over”, the “teeter totter”, and the “dog walk”. One of the reasons I wanted to talk about these obstacles is that these four obstacles all have something in common: they all have areas called contact zones. Contact zones are areas that are always at the end of the obstacle and are often yellow so the dog can see them. It is essential that the dog touch these areas before the dog leave the obstacle and move onto the next one. The reason they have these contact zones is to discourage the dog from jumping off the obstacle and moving onto the next one. The contact zones are so important that I have actually seen trainers go to great lengths to teach the dogs to touch the contact zones.
For those of you interested in getting your dog into agility training, simply go online and put the name “agility training” into your browser, along with the city you live in.