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Agility is an often overlooked activity that will contribute positively to the relationship between you and your dog. Agility creates a common goal, that you can work towards in cooperation with your dog . It is also a good way to get exercise outdoors for you and your dog. Agility will also contribute to create a strong and productive bond between you and your dog.

Here are 10 great tips for how you and your dog gets started with agility:

1. Does your dog know basic dog training?
Is your dog obeying you consistently when you give commands such as “sit,” “down” and “stay”?

It is a good idea to have the foundation (basic training) in place before you begin building the house (agility).

2. Is your dog socialized and friendly?
Make sure your dog is comfortable around other dogs, and is accustomed to performing in new places with a high level of noise and many distractions. If your dog is not accustomed to these conditions, it’s a good idea to sign up for a class on basic obedience training.

3. Make sure you have enough time in your calendar.
You need to have time for both agility classes and consistent agility training on your own. It is best to train every day, but experts recommend that agility training lasts only 15 minutes at a time. You can easily make do with only practicing a couple of times a week.

4. Use positive rewards to motivate your dog.
Motivate and retain your dog’s concentration with treats, toys and praise. It must be fun to practise agility.

5. Find an agility trainer.
Your local agility club can refer you to a trainer.

6. Go out and observe an agility training session.
Different agility coaches have different techniques. Observe how individual agility trainers teach and decide on whether their techniques are right for you and your dog.

7. Go to a local agility event.

If you do that you’ll have a better idea of what agility training is all about and whether it suits you and your dog. Some clubs also include “open house” events and other introductory courses.

8. Ensure access to equipment.
Your dog needs to train the various jumps, tunnels and other obstructions. You can build your own training equipment or just use some simple tools at the beginning and then introduce several more exercises and pieces of agility equipment over time. You can also use your club’s equipment at training days.

9. Take your time to do a little bit of research.
Both the Internet and books are a good resource when you are expanding your understanding of training methods and the interaction between you and your dog.

Agility is a healthy and positive way for you to learn more about your dog’s psychology and personality.

10. Be prepared to have fun. A positive attitude is everything in agility!

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