Is Agility For Competition Only?
I have a Chihuahua – I’d love to try agility but don’t think I can.”
Many people shy away from doing agility with their pets because they don’t want to enter competitions. They may be shy, or not into group activities or find competing too nerve wracking. Perhaps the breed of their dog doesn’t fit the agility profile – perhaps you have a Dachshund, Chihuahua large breed dog and think your dog doesn’t fit the typical profile. Shelties, border collies, and other herding breeds do excel in the sport, but does that mean you can’t or shouldn’t do agility at all? Agility is fun for everyone – and you can do it in a casual, relaxed format.
Many of our students and their dogs have been doing agility for years without ever competing. Some give competition a try and love it, while others are happy to play around with their gang of “dog” people. Many groups offer a “fun match” venue simulating a real trial so that newcomers can experience a trial without the stress of the real thing. There are public demos where volunteers with friendly dogs are welcome to participate, and they are super fun!
What other reasons do people do agility with their dogs? Well, some just want to keep their dogs busy and engaged in an activity that’s fun and gives them both a bit of exercise. Others’ wish to keep their older dogs mobile with some gentle exercise that gives them a little bit of a challenge and keeps their interest. We have even had a blind dog do agility – again, the mental and physical challenge kept this dog engaged and having fun – and she did great!
Do you think your Chihuahua is too small? Your Greyhound is too big? Not at all – give it a try. Is there a piece of equipment that your dog finds difficult to negotiate? Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water – let your dog enjoy all the other articles and don’t worry about what it can’t or won’t do. Most of all your time doing agility with your dog is a special time for both of you to bond and have fun with each other and enhance your relationship. And as a bonus you get to know and appreciate other people and their dogs – it doesn’t get better than that!