Dear Miss Behavior: Who Can Train for Agility?

Dear Miss Behavior:

I just turned 12 this year and I saw an Agility show on TV and I want to try it with my dog. My Mom says that I’m too young and Tiger’s too old. He’s 7, is that too old to train for Agility?

missbehaviorYou’re not too young to train your dog and, lucky you, your dog is never too old to learn new things. There are junior handlers as young as 5 years of age training and running dogs. So, you certainly could do it!

It can be a lot of work, but it’s so worth it in the end. If you take classes with the Greater Lincoln Obedience Class, your Mom or Dad will need to stay with you during the class, but you will be responsible for training and working with Tiger.

The first thing is to take Tiger in for a check-up with the Vet. You need to make sure he’s a healthy weight and doesn’t have any joint problems, like arthritis. If he’s healthy, then you’re next step is to take an Obedience Level 1 class. All dogs, even Agility dogs need to know the basic obedience commands of come, sit, down, stay and leave it. You’ll also need to train Tiger every day. Just as you need to practice soccer or playing the tuba, he needs to practice his obedience exercises.

Once you’ve passed your basic class, then look at some of the Agility offerings. Agility Fundamentals would be a good class to take. If it’s full try the Beginning 1 class, but don’t forget to go back and pick up the Fundamentals class. He’ll need it as well.

If you keep working with him, and taking classes, eventually you’ll want to consider competing. There are many different types of agility out there so do your research and ask your instructors for advice. There’s always the possibility of joining 4-H as well. Good luck and I hope to see you with your dog soon!

marcygraybillThanks to this feature goes to Greater Lincoln Obedience Club, who ran the Miss Behavior Dog Advice Column in their newsletter. Appreciation also is extended to Marcy Graybill, a trainer at GLOC and the expert behind this column. She also hosts her own blog, Dog Log, where she talks about training adventures with her dogs.

If you have a question for Miss Behavior, please post in the comments below and we’ll feature it in a future column.

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