Health Benefits Of Agility Training For Dogs

March 30, 2023

Chances are, you’ve seen dogs doing agility training either on television or in-person. You probably marveled at the way dogs of different breeds and sizes quickly worked their way through a course full of jumps, tunnels, teeter-totters, weaving poles, and A-frames. Teaching your dog to do an agility course can be a great way to keep your dog in shape and healthy. It doesn’t have to be a challenging course either. It can be a simple course with five or six obstacles your dog runs a few times per day. Besides keeping your dog in shape, it can be a fun way for you to spend time with your favorite canine!

Check out a few of the health benefits of agility training for dogs.

A Great Form Of Exercise

Agility training allows your dog to exercise in several different ways. To make their way through an agility course, a dog must jump, run, walk, climb, pivot from side to side, and slow their pace. All of these movements allow a dog to burn fat, strengthen muscles, improve coordination, and maintain flexibility. When a dog has to climb an A-frame, go over the top and make their way down again, they have to use the muscles in both their back and front legs. Plus, when a dog goes through the weaving poles, they have to coordinate the movement of their hips as well as shoulders to make sure they go through every space. Every time your dog goes through an agility course, their heartbeat goes up and they burn fat. This is aerobic exercise that can be fun and exciting for a dog. Besides, exercise can help dogs lose excess weight, which can only help their overall health.

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Strengthens The Bond Between Dog And Owner

Another benefit of dog agility training is it can bring the two of you closer together. Your dog has to take direction from you as they go through a course, so they take each obstacle in the right way. For instance, some jumps need to be approached from a particular direction. Your dog should look to you to learn where they need to go. In addition, some of the obstacles can be a little frightening for dogs. The A-frame and teeter-totter are examples. Your dog may be hesitant to go up onto the A-frame or they may feel anxious about the movement of the teeter-totter as they climb over it. As the owner, you’re there to encourage and reassure your dog that they are safe and you’re not going to let anything happen to them. Once your dog sees their safe, a new level of trust will be established between you. This bond will continue to exist whether you’re on the agility course or at home on the sofa.

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Improves Off-Leash Control

When you choose agility training for your dog, you’re going to gain more off-leash control. This can be very valuable, especially if you like to walk with your dog in the woods or the park. Naturally, you want to feel confident that your dog will obey when you call them back no matter what they're investigating. Plus, if your dog is approaching a dangerous situation, such as a road or perhaps an aggressive animal, you want to know they will come back when called. When a dog is moving through agility jumps or running through a tunnel, they have to stay on course. Once again, if your dog starts to move in the wrong direction on the agility course, part of their training is to respond to your command and make the correction. Agility training can be very helpful if you want to feel more at ease when your dog is off-leash in the neighborhood, the dog park, woods, or elsewhere.

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Reduces Anxiety In The Dog

One of the reasons dogs suffer from anxiety is they don’t get the chance to burn off excess energy. In other words, they don’t get enough exercise. Agility training can give your dog lots of exercise. It’ll get your dog’s heart pumping and legs moving so they'll burn off the excess energy that can lead to anxiety. If you adopt a dog that has been abused or mishandled by a previous owner, they're likely to be anxious and frightened of humans. When you work on agility training with your dog, you are constantly reassuring them and letting them know you can be trusted. This can be very rewarding for both you and your dog. In addition, you’ll probably encounter other dogs and their owners doing the same type of training. Dogs are social animals and that interaction contributes to feelings of well-being. Your dog enjoys your company, but they also need to have the company of other dogs!

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Keeps Dogs In Good Mental Shape

Agility training is a fun way to keep your dog in shape both mentally and physically. A dog has to pay attention to what they're doing on the course. After all, there’s a certain pattern they have to follow to get the course done correctly and within a certain time frame. Also, they have to be alert so they can take each obstacle safely and effectively. When they approach the A-frame, they have to know they can run up one side but have to slow down on the other so they don’t fall. Also, they have to be alert about which jump to take next and from what direction. Once your dog gets to know a particular agility course, you can change it to give your dog a different type of physical and mental challenge. It’s pleasant to take your dog on rambles in the woods or runs in the dog park, however, an agility course really engages both the mind and the body of your dog.

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