Why practice agility? It could save your dog's life
By Lisa Orem | One important part of any training program is ensuring that your dog gets adequate exercise, and another is that your dog receives plenty of mental stimulation. A tired dog is a well behaved dog, and bored dogs get into trouble quickly. Agility training offers a way to get both at once. Even if you don’t go on to compete, just some basic agility practice is good for your dog. Completing the obstacles gives the dog exercise, and because he must follow your direction, he receives mental stimulation as well.
Performing the obstacles also helps build the dogs confidence. An added bonus is that Agility Training reinforces many of the basic obedience commands. By practicing agility together, you will develop a closer bond with your dog which aids in any type of training.
Taking the time to train your dog can save his life. The other day I took my dog, Zooey, out to visit my in-laws. They live on a beautiful, heavily wooded property on a creek, which is pretty much a version of doggie heaven. When I let Zooey out of the car she immediately darted after a raccoon. By the time I turned around she was out of sight and around the side of the house. I had a moment of fear wondering if I would lose her to the woods and had visions of her swimming away down the creek. I quickly yelled out “Zooey, leave it!” Within seconds she was running back towards me, and we went into the house.
A few years ago this situation would have ended much differently. Zooey has an extremely high prey drive, and would chase critters to the end of the world if she could. But, thanks to training, I am now able to call her off of these chases. The “Stay” and “Leave it” commands in particular can be lifesaving, saving dogs from running out into busy traffic or getting themselves into other dangerous situations.
When I adopted Zooey from the local animal shelter almost four years ago she was a completely different dog. She suffered from severe separation anxiety, had no recall at all, and was a door dasher. Thanks to the training classes at the Beaufort Dog she is now a model canine citizen. Zooey is afforded many privileges that she probably wouldn’t have if she was ill-mannered. She doesn’t have to be banned to the back room when guests come over and gets to go with us on trips whenever possible. This makes her a happier dog because she gets to be with her favorite people as often as possible! (And of course all of the humans in the house are happier, too!)
Any dog can benefit from obedience training, and old dogs can learn new tricks. Beaufort Dog offers a basic obedience class that deals with problem behaviors (jumping on people, separation anxiety, to name a few) and teaches all of the basic commands.
The Advanced Obedience class then takes the training to the next level by adding distractions so that the dog learns to perform in real life situations, and loose leash walking and “heel” is introduced. Upon completing both classes your dog will be able to pass the Canine Good Citizen Test. And of course there’s The Agility Club, which is open to any dog with any level of previous training.
– Lisa Orem, Agility Trainer & Dog Enthusiast
Video of Agility Training at Beaufort Dog