When to Start
- Even puppies can start with agility basics, according to the Skyline Agility Club, an active participant in AKC and other agility trials. Agility classes should be tailored to the age of the dog and its development level. Puppies can learn some of the skills used in agility, but they will not use the obstacles until they are older. Once your dog has matured, he can learn more. Your dog can learn to jump and weave as soon as he develops physically. Your dog also needs to be mentally developed in order to understand obedience commands. Because agility training is based on the dog's development level, the exact age when dogs can start agility training will differ.
Learning Obedience First
- Prior to agility training, it is a good idea for your dog to have some obedience training. He should be able to learn commands from you quickly and be accustomed to looking to you for direction. Teaching your dog to sit, get down, stay, come and heel are great ways to begin. In fact, come is extremely important in agility training because your dog will be off leash during the class. If your dog gets distracted, he should obey when you tell him to come.
- Besides development level, temperament can come into play with agility training and can determine how fast your dog will progress. Shy, nervous dogs may take longer to train because they may lack the confidence of other dogs. Agility, however, may be just what these dogs need to socialize them, even if you have to repeat the beginner class. If your dog is aggressive and does not like other dogs, you may not be able to put him in an agility class with other dogs.
Different Experience for All
- No matter what age you start your dog in agility training, be aware that all dogs will progress at different rates. How fast your dog progresses is not very important, according to the Skyline Agility Club. What is important is a proper beginning. Once you determine when your dog is physically and mentally ready for agility, you are ready to start the fundamental skills of agility with your dog.