Dog agility training and tips


In the dog agility event, a dog/handler team must complete the designated obstacle course as fast as possible, with as few mistakes as possible.


Speed, precision and dog/handler teamwork make for a successful run through the challenge course that’s made up of a variety of jumps, A-frames, tunnels and other obstacles.


Agility Basics

A dog agility course commonly consists of the following dog agility equipment:

  • Agility tunnels that the dog must run into and out of
  • Tires or other suspended hoops that the dog must jump through
  • An A-frame that the dog must run up one side of and down the other (without jumping off)
  • An elevated beam, or “dog walk,” that the dog must walk or run up to on a ramp, run all the way along, and run down from on a ramp (without jumping off)
  • Weave poles, where the dog must weave between each pole
  • Agility hurdles that the dog must clear without knocking down any bars
  • A dog agility seesaw that the dog must walk or run up, allow to tilt, and walk or run down the other side of (without jumping off)

The order of elements may change from event to event, making Agility not just a physical challenge, but a mental one as well.


How it Works

Each dog/handler gets to run through the course twice, with the fastest of the two runs determining the winner. The handler guides their dog through the course using hand and voice commands.


As mentioned above, speed AND precision are important during the Agility event. The best agility dogs are able to quickly navigate the course with little or no mistakes. Small mistakes, or “faults,” made during the run can really add up. Faults can include:

  • Knocking the bars on an agility hurdle
  • Missing a weave pole
  • Going off the agility course
  • Failure to perform an obstacle
  • Failure to complete an obstacle correctly


How to Win

Winners are determined by the fastest course run time and often without faults. Winning while often then end goal is only part of the experience you get from working as a harmonious dog and handler team.