Why Agility is a Great Activity for Both Pets AND Owners

by Melissa R. on June 6, 2011

Hey is it time for AGILITY NOW!?

Hey is it time for AGILITY NOW!?

A lot of people ask me why I do agility with my Border Collie, Mocca. I have a million reasons… but let’s just start with the Top 10.

Top 10 Reasons to do Agility with your Dog:

  1. My dog LOVES it. Her tail and head is held high and I swear she’s smiling.
  2. A great break from reality: I think about nothing but running the course and playing with Mocca during our classes and competitions.
  3. It builds the bond of trust between the two of us. I got Mocca as a “rescue” at age 4, and one of the ways we built a strong relationship was through agility classes. They help her not only learn to listen to me, but I have learned to listen (and watch) her as well.
  4. Agility builds CONFIDENCE in your pet. The other day we did a demo and invited other dogs to try out the equipment. One dog in particular had her tail low, and her ears drooped. She was very spooky and didn’t want to leave her “Mom’s” side. We started her on a few jumps, and her tail started getting higher. Then we started her on the tunnel, and wow, you should have seen her confidence skyrocket! 10 minutes later, she was running through a long tunnel as fast as she could, smiling and tail wagging! It was a wonderful thing to see.
  5. Agility builds CONFIDENCE in YOU, too! When you first start, you might feel a little silly out there hopping over jumps with your pet and praising them for small things.. Just wait until you learn how to do a front cross! You’ll be out there twirling like a ballerina before you know it.
  6. You make great new friends. I have met so many wonderful dog loving people just like myself through classes and competitions I can’t even count them! It’s a wonderful thing to be able to spend the day talking about dogs, and not caring if the other person is bored – because they aren’t! They are talking dog right along with you.
  7. Fresh air! There is nothing better than spending some time outside with your pet on a beautiful day. What better way to enjoy the world outside!
  8. Learning from other dogs and people. Watching other people handle their dog is often one of the best ways to learn what you could be doing (or not doing, in some cases).
  9. Socialization for dogs. This is highly important for younger pets. Being around all kinds of different sizes, types, personalities and ages of dogs will help your dog be more well-rounded, happy, and able to be around other pets without anxiety or aggression issues.
  10. You CAN teach old dogs new tricks! Age is of no concern. Getting out and getting active may be just what the doctor ordered for an older pet. I didn’t start Mocca until she was 6, and she’s loved it ever since. I’ve seen plenty of older dogs out there having fun – and now Mocca is nearly 12, but still looks like she’s 8 on the agility field.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
Dog Agility: What is it exactly?
Can My Dog Do Agility, Too?
Leading Cause of Dog Behavior Problems (Agility will prevent this problem!)

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About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the DrsFosterSmith.com and LiveAquaria.com websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosemary June 6, 2011 at 10:40 am

Agility is out of the question for me, because of asthma and bad knees, even though Ilka would be fantastic. But, I have recently taken up Obedience and Rally, which I am enjoying. Ilka has her Rally Novice title, and two legs of her Beginner Novice obedience title. I plan on all sorts of things, like OTCH in front of her name, and UDX OM RAE after her name. I am also going to apply for Lucky’s PAL, either this month or the next, and put some (lower level) titles on him. Just to make things clear, Lucky turned 11 last month. Probably a little late to start an Obedience/Rally career, but he usually acts like a much younger dog (hey, I’m in my mid-forties and just starting myself).

The exception to Lucky behaving like a younger dog has been this past week and a half. He came down with pancreatitis, but is getting better, and acting more like his old self. We also discovered he is hypothyroid, not uncommon for an “older” dog.

However, I will NOT be buying this particular brand of food again. It is supposed to be a very good food, but Lucky came down with pancreatitis within just a couple of weeks on it, and Ilka’s skin is a dry, flaky mess. Fortunately, due to limited storage space, I only buy 15 pound bags, so it is almost gone.

Due to summer vacation for one kid, two summer sessions for the other, and some fun day trips, showing dogs is on hold for a while. There is a cluster of trials being held in October that I am hoping to take both dogs to, and Lucky is signed up for an Intermediate training class starting in July. He will be taking a CGC test for graduation, which he should pass (Ilka hasn’t been retested yet).

Does Mocca have her MACH? I can’t remember if she had earned it yet, or if you were hoping to get it this summer. Ilka needs a lot more work before taking her on to Advanced in Rally, or regular Novice in Obedience, so I will be showing her in the B section of Rally Novice and Beginner Novice (after she gets her BN title) for a while.

Melissa June 7, 2011 at 8:26 am

Hi Rosemary –

Love your updates! You are such a great dog mom. Ilka and Lucky are both so lucky to have you!

Mocca does not have her MACH. I am not sure we’ll get there as we only hit about 1 trial a month (1 day), and as she’s older I’m not sure how much longer we’ll be going. I’m afraid her arthritis might affect her in the coming years. But we’ll be pushing for it until then!

Melissa Vealey June 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm

All top 10 are true! Espcially number 6 and I love to talk about my schipperke, Roxie. We both thoroughly enjoy agility. She has two trial under her belt and “q” in both of them!

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