Photo by Raquel García
Agility is a fun, fast-paced dog sport that includes a series of obstacles like tunnels, jumps, A-frames, and weave poles. Puppy benefit from agility programs because as household pets, it is hard to give them exercise that they instinctively need and desire. Our puppy agility training program provides this outlet for them and helps stimulate your puppies mentally and physically. Not only that, but agility training is an excellent way for you to build your bond and communication skills with your puppy. Let’s talk more in-depth about the puppy agility training program, how it is different from the beginner agility training, and if it is the right fit for you.
Our Puppy Agility Training program is designed for ages four months to nine months.
The only prerequisite for our puppy agility program is that you are enrolled or have previously taken puppy classes with us. If you have taken agility courses elsewhere, our trainers will perform an evaluation to decide the placement of your puppy.
The biggest difference with the puppy agility course is that we take certain precautions because they are still growing. Their joints have not closed yet, and the last thing we want is for your puppy to be injured. As a result, we do not have our puppies jump over bars or practice weaving because they are hard on the joints.
If your pup is older than nine months, we will place them in the beginner agility training group.
The prerequisite for this training group is that you have done puppy/beginner obedience training with us in the past. If you have taken obedience training classes elsewhere, we will perform an evaluation to decide the placement of your pup.
The beginner class is very similar to the puppy class in that we will cover all the foundational skills — just at a different speed. That is because puppies learn at a quicker speed, while it comes at the expense of a shorter attention span. Therefore, we like to separate puppies from dogs to maximize the class’ productivity.
Another difference for the beginner group is that we will actually be doing some jumping and weaving training if your dog is over the age of 18-24 months. However, this is also depending on the size of the dog, and our experienced trainers will be advising you accordingly. We only do jumping and weaving training if we have determined that your dog’s joints have closed.
What are the four types of obstacles in agility training?
Through the course of the fifteen weeks that your pup is in our program, our trainers will walk you through these four fundamental skills.
We practice jumping over different obstacles like tires, and we sometimes practice jumps with nothing to it. We also do jumps with wings on both sides. The jumps with wings on both sides tend to be more difficult for dogs because there is a bit more space between the handler and the dog. Puppies do get to learn this skill, but we just do not have them jump bars high off the ground. Instead, we use a placeholder bar that is set on the ground so it is easier on their joints.
These tunnels can be straight, curved, and even put under other obstacles. Tunnels are a test of confidence because a dog cannot see past the curves. But once they start to understand how tunnels work, we find that it is usually the most fun obstacle for dogs.
This skill involves a big balance beam that the dog needs to run across. It is important that the teeter touches the ground before they jump off. Most dogs try to jump off before the teeter touches the ground, and this is a skill that we work on in class.
This is when the dog bounces through 12 poles. We do not cover this aspect in the puppy program because it is hard on the joints.
Whether a puppy of a beginner, Support your dog’s need for agility training!
At K9 University Chicago, our canine experts are here to assist you with any of your dog’s needs. If you would like to check out an overview about our different dog agility training programs, we have a resource guide on our K9U Blog.
We even offer doggie daycare and day training camps — both of which you can register for here! We offer personalized training and thorough socialization to help you address any particular behavioral challenges you want to address and provide you daily communication, pictures, and video for you to view the dog’s progress.
We would love to hear from you!
Please contact us if you would like to talk more about enrolling your puppy for agility training!