What is dog agility?
In Agility, your dog must complete a course in a given order. You give the commands and guide your darling through obstacles such as big tyres, the tunnel, over seesaws, various footbridges, the slalom and other hurdles. Jumps and speed are just as important as concentration and coordination.
Dog agility in the city
Dog agility is not only for our beloved dogs a great way to keep them physically and mentally fit. We humans also benefit from this sporty activity and, in addition, the human-animal relationship is strengthened and consolidated. For the Agilitysport you need quite a lot of space. It’s easy to find a place in the countryside, but what if I live in a busy city and don’t always have the chance to drive spontaneously to the countryside or visit a larger park?
Even from the city, green spaces, parks or even a forest can usually be easily reached. If this is not possible, you can also use “city equipment” such as stairs, lanterns, benches, bushes or trees for fitness and building the muscles of the dog (and of course yours).
Alternative “City training equipment”
Many know the exercise “Slalom” from the Agilitysport. How about a skilful run around lanterns or barrier posts? With a little practice, dogs learn to change direction at the point of a finger. This exercise is excellent for increasing concentration. With the command “around” you can also use other obstacles, such as bushes or the like. But not only sporting activities can be undertaken on grey asphalt and between houses. Search games can also be perfectly integrated into the walk. Feed bags are usually hidden on the ground, so for a change a raised hiding place can be built in on a wall projection or benches. You can also drop a toy inconspicuously during the walk. Let him look for it after a few steps. Your dog will find it quickly and after some time the distance can be extended more and more.
For which dogs is Agility a good sport?
Unfortunately, this sport is not suitable for every dog. For large or heavy or older dogs this sport is less beneficial, as well as for dogs whose musculoskeletal system is preloaded. Some dogs get in to please us and are exposed to a lot of stress. Too much of a good thing is unhealthy. They don’t show they’re exhausted and they keep going. Make sure that your dog enjoys it and remember that once or twice a week on the sports field your dog will not be busy for a long time. On the contrary, he is never quietly busy, he is quickly overwhelmed. Especially for “hyperactive” dogs it is important to learn rest and to come down.
Why not train coordination and balance in a way that is easy on the joints, without the requirements of a dog training area with special equipment?
The more joint-friendly alternative
As I said, dog agility can be quite exhausting for your lovely dog and can put a lot of strain on your joints. How about the following alternatives?
Standing with the forelegs on one edge of the sidewalk for a short time, half a minute three times a day, strengthens the thigh and back muscles. You can practice your dog’s balance by slowly moving his head with a treat towards the ground, where he will of course also get the small piece of food. Afterwards you let him look up again and repeat the exercise. The balance can also be strengthened if your faithful friend sits on a bench and you alternate between the right and left paws. Low benches also invite you to let the dog seal through underneath. This movement strengthens the shoulder area and hindquarters.
Quality instead of quantity
This should be the motto for the adequate utilization of a dog. Search games where your esteemed friend can use his nose, and some concentration exercises are usually more exciting and tiring than monotonous walks or playing long ball. There’s nothing better than doing something with your beloved dog. However, the focus should always be on the common fun and health of the animal. Fitness and movement training should always be carried out in consultation with a veterinarian, especially if the dog already has problems with the musculosketal system. Otherwise nothing stands in the way of a fun city agility.
You see, it doesn’t always have to be the best equipped agility park. With a bit of imagination, you can transform different things into training equipment even in turbulent cities to keep you and your four-legged friend in shape. However, the focus should always be on fun, and for larger, older or healthier dogs the more joint-friendly alternatives are particularly suitable. Have fun training together.