Agility Training for you labrador pup

Training for Agility

Promoting and maintaining agility is essential for the long term health of your Labrador. You should start agility training as part of their obedience regime. I recommend 'Puppy Pre-School'. Obedience and Agility Training will determine your dog’s behavior outside of the agility course.

Do not proceed to rigorous activities including extended and continuous running until your LABRADOR pup is at least 14 MONTHS of AGE. At about this age, their growth plates will be set and their joints stabilised.

Similarly, we do not recommend DE-SEXING you pups until at least 18 mths of age. This will ensure that their hormone levels are adequate for the their first 3 phases of life.

What is agility training

As the master and handler of your dog, you can initiate a variety of activities beginning with Sit, Stay, Drop and Come. Begin with a short lead and advance to a 30ft long line. When your lab pup has succeeded with this, you can proceed to obstacle jumps. You will begin this discipline with you pup on a lead. Then they can advance to jumping and pausing on (low) tables. Then they might attempt to weaving through poles. Eventually your Labrador will advance to activities including running and crawling through tunnels.

During agility activities, you will navigate you dog through a course as quickly and as accurately as they can. All this can be achieved in the confines of a small back yard. You can commence with simple activities while controlling your dog on a lead. Be patient, give rewards and enjoy the bonding. Here are the main benefits of agility training for your Labrador.

1. Agility will fulfill your dog’s natural instincts

Labradors were originally bred as 'gun dogs'. They are natural retrievers that love chasing and running after their prey. In their pursuit, labs love to run and navigate though a variety of barriers. Their natural instincts have them jumping over fallen objects, climbing up steep slopes, and squeezing through bushes and vegetation. Labradors love to swim, so expose them to water while they are very young. Your goal as the handler is to create a context which replicates these natural scenarios and fulfils the chasing and retrieving instincts of your dog.

2. The bond between you and your dog

Agility training strengthens the bond between you and your dog. The bonding that will occur during the interaction between you and your Lab connotation be overestimated. During agility training, your Lab will rely on your verbal and hand commands in order to properly navigate the course. This activity promotes trust between you and your Labrador. Your dog will pass through the obstacles at your direction and command. This will reinforce your obedience commands. Consequently, it will establish proper dog - master communication and trust.

3. Burning excess energy.

Agility training burns up your dog’s excess energy. This important in the adolescent phases, when your dog is up to 3 years of age. Because you dog is with you as their handler, they will direct their energy towards gaining your approval. Agility training teaches your young dog to stay focused. Start with short intervals and reward them for each success with small food treats.

4. Increasing attention span.

Agility training increases your pups attention span. This is particularly important for pups during their 8 - 16 weeks socialization phase. The agility course involves passing over, under and through a variety of obstacles. This will extend your Lab in both mind and body. Increased agility will help to strengthen his muscles and joints, improve their coordination, keep them fit, and increase their endurance.

5. Promotes short and long term health

Agility will promote short and long term health. There is enormous benefit to your dogs muscular development & strength,  balance and stability. Promoting agility will help to strengthen their bones and joints. Agility activity will improve their coordination and thus keep them from injury. And it will keep them fit and increase their endurance. As you will exercise your dog, with jumping over obstacles, weaving through poles, and crawling through tunnels you will get a good workout as well!