Agility is not dog obediencewe cannot overemphasize how important it is that you be extremely aware of these safety rules regarding you, your dog and the equipment!
It would be useful, although not required, if your dog has been trained in the following exercises before beginning agility training: off-leash control (controlled walking, informal recalls); down-stay (5-10 seconds); high jump; broad jump.
Your dog must be in good physical condition. Get advice from your veterinarian before training. Your dog should not have physical disabilities such as hip dysplasia, lameness, or be overweight. You should have your dog's hips x-rayed.
Agility will require physical exertion and coordination on your part. Keep yourself in good physical condition and wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes and athletic, skid-free shoes. Avoid (hanging) jewelry.
Always examine the agility obstacles yourself and make sure the safety bolts are in place. If you have a question about the safety/stability of a particular obstacle, please do not send your dog over it, and call it to the attention of an instructor.
You are responsible for cleaning up after your dog at all times. Please prevent your dog from urinating on the obstaclesif he does, you must clean it up.
Use of heavy-handed corrections on the course will jeopardize your dog's confidence, which is crucial to his success.
Only buckle collars are permitted while working on the obstacles. Use of choke collars or pinch collars is forbidden as they may injure your dog if caught on an obstacle. Other collars may be used on the grounds when your dog is not working the obstacles.
Use caution when working your dog on the course with a leash. The leash could be caught on the equipment (do not allow a long leash to drag across a contact obstacle). As soon as you have good verbal control of your dog (stay, come, down) and your dog has displayed self-confidence on the obstacles, you may discontinue use of the leash. Leashes can be extremely dangerous.
Dogs are permitted off leash only when working the obstacles. At all other times, please keep your dog on leash and under your control.
Please keep your dog a respectful distance from dogs wearing a red ribbon on their leash. The owners of these dogs prefer that their dogs not socialize with other dogs.
Keep your dog's nails trimmed and keep hair between the pads of your dog's feet short to prevent slipping on the equipment.
If your dog has hair falling in his eyes, tie it back with a rubber band or small barrette.
Your dog must be approved on each obstacle, by a club instructor, to use that obstacle without supervision.
Dogs are only permitted on the obstacles during class time. If you need extra time on a particular obstacle, please ask permission from your instructor.
Always praise and encourage your dog. Do not press for speed until after the dog establishes his self-confidence on all of the obstacles. Do not ask your dog for too much, too soon. Back up your training if you get into trouble.
Your dog should not be drilled endlessly on any obstacle. Quit after 3 or 4 successful tries. If your dog is having trouble with an obstacle, seek out one of the club instructors.
Warm your dog up with fast heeling before intense jumping.
Increase jump heights on your dog slowly, allowing him to jump with confidence.
Do not jump your dog full height until his bones are mature, which can
be as late as 15 to 19 months for some breeds.
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