Beginners’ guide to dog agility

Dog Agility, Dog Fun and Games

Add some excitement to your dog’s life

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to exercising our dogs. Going on the same walks around the same park day after day can get tedious.

What if there was a way to exercise your dog, improve your bond, and have tons of fun too? Well, there is, and it’s called dog agility!

Agility is not just for the professionals you see at Crufts. As long as your dog is active, healthy and well socialised, they can get stuck in and have some fun.

Teamwork is the key to success in agility. As you learn and practice with your dog, communication between you will improve, and you’ll naturally build a stronger bond.

What is dog agility?

Agility competitions are canine obstacle courses, featuring a range of different elements – jumps, tunnels, weave poles, and more! Dogs compete to see who can finish the course fastest.

Agility started as a gap-filler at Crufts dog shows, but soon became a barking success in the UK and around the world.

Besides national and county championships, there are lots of smaller, local clubs running regular competitions that you can sign up for.

dog agility training

What can my dog learn during agility training?

Agility is great for your dog’s body and his brain!

There’s the physical side of jumping hurdles and tearing around a course at a blistering pace. But your dog will also have to learn to respond to verbal and non-verbal cues as you guide them from one obstacle to the next.

Yes, that’s right! No lead or collars are allowed in agility, and you can’t touch your dog to guide them in the right direction.

It may take a lot of practice to get there, but once you get to the stage where your dog 100% understands you from body language and voice signals alone, it’s magical!

This new level of trust and communication between you and your dog will continue into everyday life. If you have always wished that your dog listened to you more, agility could be the solution!

What are the requirements for dog agility?

Agility is a very physical sport, so your dog must be reasonably fit and active before he can start leaping hurdles. Your dog’s vet will be the best person to assess whether they are healthy enough to take part.

Agility is not suitable for elderly dogs or those with mobility or back issues. Also, for safety reasons, the Kennel Club recommends that dogs are at least a year old before they start training in agility.

Don’t forget that your dog will need to be well-socialized before attending competitions, as they will be working off the lead with lots of other dogs around.

Finally, if you want to take part in a Kennel Club licensed dog agility competition, your dog will need to be registered under the Kennel Club Breed Register or the Kennel Club Activity Register.

Does my dog need to be a particular breed to take part in agility?

The classic breed that dominates in most agility competitions is the Border Collie. Smart and agile, Collies are well adapted to respond quickly to the slightest cue from their owner.

But any breed (or mixed breed) can take part in agility. Competitions are divided into height categories to suit the various shapes and sizes of the dogs taking part.

As long as your dog is fit and healthy, agility will offer them a head-to-toe physical and mental workout. They’ll also have tons of fun!

How do my dog and I practice agility at home?

So you’ve signed up for a dog agility training course? Awesome!

But wouldn’t it be great to be able to practice agility in the comfort of your garden? Zooplus has you covered!

Our affordable range of agility obstacles has all the basics plus some more advanced elements.

For smaller gardens, we recommend the Fun & Sport Hurdle, Jumping hoop, and Weave Poles. They are light, don’t take up much space, and you can set up a course in moments.

If you have a bit more room to play with, you could add larger obstacles like our Trixie Agility Bridge, or even the fantastic, five-meter long Trixie Agility Tunnel.

Why not explore our full range of agility obstacles available over at zooplus? You and your dog will soon be well on your way to wowing the crowds and winning competitions!

Our most helpful articles
6 min

Agility for Small Dogs

Only for big dogs? No way! Small dogs too can have plenty of fun with agility. Find out here whether your little dog is suited to this dynamic dog sport and which five factors you as a dog owner have to take into account.

9 min

Top 10 Dog-Friendly Beaches in the UK

Do you dream of going on a beach holiday but without having to worry about your dog? Travelling abroad is often difficult if you don’t want to leave your pooch at a dog hotel or with a dog sitter.  Do not worry, the UK has a gorgeous and versatile selection of dog-friendly beaches where you can relax and enjoy the scenery with your dog.