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Dog Agility Training & Competition

Getting Ready for Training:

If you have been seriously considering signing your dog up for agility training, then you should take the proper steps to prepare your k9 companion for what lies in store for them. Now what is dog agility you might ask? It’s a great sport that involves you and your dog, using teamwork towards a common goal. Not only is it quite entertaining to watch, it can be very addictive for the owner and dog alike, once both of you get the hang of it.

Now lets go through how it all works. The Handler directs their dog through an obstacle course of a-frames, weave poles, dog walks, tunnels, jumps, teeter totters, and chutes, in a race for accuracy and over all time.

You can’t however touch your dog or any of the obstacles that’s against the rules. There is also no use of a leash. You can only use visual and audible cues to direct your dog through the course.

Next you should factor in some tips about how to prepare your dog. This will be physical, Show your dog what it will be engaging in throughout any of the serious training. Also, what it will experience later on if you wanted to go into competitions. Ultimately if your paying for training, your instructor will always know when your dog is ready for competition. So, don’t rush towards that too quickly. Ensure your dog is fully trained and is in peak condition.

Getting Ready for Competition:

Obviously your dog needs to be fit, considerably attentive and don’t forget excited to give this their all. It’s also important that they’re jumping confidently to there full height. Unless of course you aren’t aiming for a specific size class for your dog to eventually compete in. Which means over sized obstacles, so the dogs can fit through and between them without knocking them down. Unless you are sure the competitions won’t included weaves. Then just be sure the dog is focused on your commands and excited to be there.

Your dog will also be required to complete full sequences of obstacles pretty fluently. So, remember to be fair to your dog these competitions are a measure of there competence in the sport. Don’t force them to compete prematurely, make sure they’re well prepared for what’s expected of them.

In Closing, it’s important to remember to have fun while doing this. If your not having fun, your dog will sense your tension. This can cause your dog to start acting up, and not following your directions correctly. Always remain calm, content, and over all remember to have fun.

The Sport of Dog Agility

Dog Agility is an international sport. Direct your dog through an obstacle course in a race against the clock to measure accuracy and completion. Neither the dog nor obstacles can be touched by the handler. Consequently the handler’s controls are limited to voice, movement, and various body signals, requiring exceptional training of the animal and coordination of the handler.

The History of the Sport:

The sport’s roots can be traced back to the late 1970’s to a demonstration that was held at Crufts Dog Show in the United Kingdom. Dogs were required to run around a course designed similar to horse jumping courses during intermission as a way to entertain the audience. It has since spread rapidly around the world.

What is an Agility Course?

Agility courses consist of several standard obstacles laid out by a judge. All obstacles are staged by the judge in a specifically sized area. The surface may consist of grass, dirt, or a rubber like material. Depending on the type of competition, the obstacles may have a different order in which they must be completed.

Expectations of the Dog Handler:

In the beginning, courses can be a rather complicated task for your dog. For the dog to correctly complete a course without the direction and training of a handler, just aint gunna happen. In competitions, the dog handler must first observe the course, decide on the best strategies, and direct their dog. Precision and speed are equally important.

What are the Basic Obstacles of a Course?

An A-frame is 2 broad ramps hinged together and raised so that the hinged connection is above the ground, roughly forming an A shape.

The Dog walk is 3 planks that connect at the ends. The center plank is raised to above the ground; so that the other 2 end planks form ramps that lead up and down.

A Teeter-totter is a single plank that pivots on a fulcrum, much like the traditional seesaw. It is constructed off-balance so that the same end is always on the ground.

The Crossover is a square platform, with ramps that descend from 3 or 4 of its sides. The dog must ascend and descend the correct ramp while changing direction.

A Tunnel is a long vinyl tube, through which the dog runs. The tunnel is constructed of flexible vinyl and wire so that it can be set in a straight line or curvy.

The Different Competition Classes in Agility

Competition Classes in Agility:

Courses are designed by their own judges. They can also select from previously designed courses by using the rules of whom ever the funding organization. The course is laid out within a large area, with necessary distances between obstacles. Each class decides which dogs are worthy adversaries of achieving titles and how each task must be performed, but they all posses multiple similarities.

What are some common classes?

Junior courses are designed for the 18 and under crowd. These younger  dog handlers may compete with their k9’s at beginner, elementary, intermediate, and senior levels. Each section has more obstacles and generally gets harder the more you progress.

Standard and Regular courses are both numbered. They consist of at least one of three primary obstacles include jumps, tunnels, and several weave poles. A more advanced dog course might consist of as many as 22 obstacles. A more minimal course might offer only about 15. The dog must properly navigate the obstacles. This must be achieved in the correct order within the standard course time.

Jumpers or Jumping course is numbered. This consists primarily of various types of challenging jumps, weave poles, and tunnels. The dog must navigate the obstacles in the correct order within the standard time of the course. Most dogs will achieve their fastest speeds on this course because there are no contact obstacles in the way to slow them down.

Gambles, Joker, and Jackpot courses are all unnumbered. In the opening period, the dog has only so much time in which to conquer appropriate tasks. The points awarded are based on the obstacles that have been completed. A whistle is blown when time runs out for the opening period. That’s when the gamble begins. There’s approximately 15 seconds to complete the tasks and obstacles.

Power courses are not timed. This game features the contact equipment, weaves, table, a-frame, spread jump, and the long jump. If this section is navigated without receiving a penalty, the dog and handler are then allowed to advance to the Speed course, which consists of a timed jumping section.

In the end, of any competition course, the dogs and their handlers that have competed have earned either a rosette or a bronze, silver, or gold medal. With many available sets of obstacles and plenty of room for error, there are many classes of competitions that can be played on the fields of agility.

New Year’s Eve Safety Tips for Pets

Just like the 4th of July, New Year’s Eve is a fun holiday for people but a difficult one for our pets. Fireworks, which are common on New Year’s Eve, can cause even a dog who has been through k9 obedience training to run away from the scary, loud sounds and sparks. The fun and frivolity of a party can also be dangerous for your pet.

A few common sense tips can help keep your dog safe on New Year’s while still allowing you to have your fun:

1. Keep your dog inside on New Year’s Eve. Period. Even if your city doesn’t have scheduled fireworks, many individuals in your neighborhood may be setting them off, and some people even have the frightening and dangerous tradition of shooting firearms into the air at midnight. Keep your pets inside to help ensure their safety.
2. Don’t take your pet with you on New Year’s Eve, even if you usually allow them to tag along. This will help ensure that a random frightening event won’t make them bolt away from you.
3. Make sure your dog wears an identification tag. Even with your best efforts, if your dog gets out when friends are letting themselves in and out during a party, he may bolt. If your dog doesn’t have an id tag, write your phone number with a permanent marker on his collar.
4. If you’re hosting a party, make sure that your guests keep alcohol and other dangerous foods away from your dog. Chocolate, raisins, and many varieties of nuts can be toxic to dogs, so keep your dog safely away from the temptation by crating them or locking them into a room where guests won’t be allowed.

To help keep your dog safe on New Year’s Eve – and every day of the year, you should also strongly consider Florida dog obedience training.  There’s no substitute for a well-trained pet in a potentially dangerous situation.

Dog Obesity: More Common Than You Think

How to Gauge a Healthy Dog Weight

Dogs are susceptible to being overweight just as much as humans and paying attention to your dog’s waistline is vital to your dog living a healthy life.  But how do you measure if your dog is gaining too much weight?  What signs should you look for?  How do you prevent your dog from becoming obese?  Here are a few tips to help uncover if your dog is obese and how to stop your dog from obtaining a weight issue.

Measure Your Dog’s Waistline, Without a Measuring Tape

You may keep the measuring tape use for yourself.  There are easier ways to check if your dog is overweight.  One way is to feel your dog’s ribs.  If you cannot feel or see your dog’s ribs, then your dog is probably overweight.  Another sign of obesity is if your dog’s stomach droops low from the chest rather than folding up.  Obesity may be the cause.  Take your dog to a professional to confirm your initial evaluation.  If your dog is obese, it is time to make changes in your dog’s behavior and diet.

Exercise Your Dog

If your dog is beginning to show signs of weight gain, start engaging your dog in agility classes.  Take your dog on frequent walks and/or runs.  Record how much activity your dog has had and how to increase the physical aspect of your dog’s daily life.  The more you put into assisting your dog, the better life your pup will live.

If you are unsure on how to assist your dog to overcome heaviness or what effective methods work, talk to Florida dog training professional.  He/she will guide you in the right direction enabling you and your pup to live a vigorous life.

Prevent Your Dog from Chasing Runners

It is hard to think about spring when the weather is still frigid outside, but it will happen before you know it.   And with warm weather, additional joggers and runners are noticeably active outside.  So how do you prevent your dog from running after these people when they go by?  There are different techniques you may utilize and here are just a few tips to help you and your dog.

Bring Special Treats

When you take your dog out for a walk, bring a stash of dog treats, small pieces of chicken, cheese or a hot dog with you.  You shall use this only when you see a runner pass by.  Let me explain.  When a runner goes by, you need something to distract your dog.  A regular dog treat may not be sufficient.  However, a tiny piece of chicken would be enough to keep your dog’s attention on you.  Furthermore, this will have the dog associate a runner going by as a positive thing.  For the dog sees runner, and thinks treat.  Thus, your dog will adapt to sitting or staying near you whenever someone jogs alongside.

Encourage Safety

The reason why it is vital to teach your dog not to run after people is for several reasons, but mainly for the runner and your dog’s safety.   If your dog chases after a person, then it may lead the dog into traffic and cause permanent injury to your dog and to the runner.  In addition, not everyone is comfortable with dogs.  Therefore, if a runner sees a dog chasing after him/her, then the runner may not respond in a friendly manner causing further aggression from both parties.

Teach your dog not to chase after joggers.  Make sure you expend your dog’s energy by engaging your dog in daily exercise and agility classesFlorida dog obedience training and dog agility classes will prevent your dog from chasing a person out of excitement or the need to release nervous energy.   By the time a runner passes by, and agility classes are over, your dog will be too tired to care if someone is coming the pup’s way or not.