You’ve probably seen it on TV and thought, ‘Well, that looks fun, but it isn’t for us. Were too small.’ I know why you think that. You see the Border Collies running, jumping and weaving through poles at lightning speed. But being a proud Shih Tzu owner I can tell you that Shih Tzus and any small dog can do anything, even agility! So what is agility?
What is Agility?
Did you know that agility is one of the fastest growing dog sports in the USA? Yup, but originally started in England in the 70’s. According to Wikipedia agility is:
a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles. 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.
In its simplest form, an agility course consists of a set of standard obstacles laid out by a judge in a design of his or her own choosing in an area of a specified size. Depending on the type of competition, the obstacles may be marked with numbers indicating the order in which they must be completed.
Benefits of Agility
Agility is Great Exercise
Agility is a great way to exercise for your dog. Exercise is beneficial because it can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity. In addition, dogs that exercise also experience less depression and tend to live longer than dogs that do not. In addition exercise is great at reducing stress. Hey notice something here? All the benefits that our dogs experience are the same benefits that we will experience when we participate with them!
Agility Helps Strengthen the Bond with Your Dog
Agility is a team sport between you and your dog. Because an agility course if filled with jumps and obstacles your dog relies on your to help navigate the course. With verbal and physical cues, the bond is strengthened through the constant communication either overtly or subtle between the two of you.
A Dogs Natural Instinct and Abilities
Agility courses are designed to imitate obstacles in the wild as if they were chasing prey. From going through fox holes (tunnels), jumping over logs (jumps), and climbing up and over hills and slopes (a-frame). And just as in life, the rewards are greater the faster you can run without getting tripped up by the obstacles, either a qualifying score, or a yummy meal!
By improving your dogs confidence they will become happier and more outgoing. If you have a timid dog, and they are afraid of little things, with the proper agility training they can come out of their little funk.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and hit the agility field with your little one!
So this week we are happily participating in the Monday Mischief blog hop. And though this post wasn’t necessarily about any mischief Riley was up to… we definitely are today! Since I am healthy again, or on my way (read my story HERE and HERE) Riley and I are back in agility training! We are hoping that a trial will be in store for us this summer!
Video Credit: Candy Lynch with Tia via YouTube.com
Photo Credit: Boston jumping log – HDW