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Border Collie Agility Training

Agility is a sport for dogs which as been patterned after the equine stadium jumping. Any dog that is physically and mentally fit can participate, but training is needed. Border Collies are well known as being working dogs and entering them in shows such as these can be beneficial as long as they have been correctly trained and there is no risk to their health. It’s good to remember in your frustrations, what really matters. And that is, having fun with your Border Collie. That is what entering these competitions is all about, keeping your over active breed happy, and enjoying the time you have been spending with them. If you are not having fun, and it is ALL about the winning, you have missed the point and that is the companionship of a trusted, loyal and loving Border Collie.

If you finish with a rosette or nothing at all, you still go home with the best dog, and that is the one that loves you! It is great exercise for both the Border Collie and the owner, and it installs confidence in your dog. It also gives the Border Collie a task, as without constant stimulation, an untrained Collie will become neurotic and even over possessive of you as an owner!

You can begin agility training with your Border Collie from a young age, but you must remember that safety is of prime importance. You do not want to injure the young bone structure! Serious training and weave poles should not be started until your Border Collie puppy is old enough to withstand it. It is better to get to know the breed of Border Collies as a general, and if it is the first agility dog you are training, it would be better to consult an expert instructor.

In competitions, the handler directs the dog around a course of obstacles set in various configurations. At the entry level, the courses are fairly simple. The purpose is to show that the dog knows how to work the equipment in a reasonable amount of time. As one works his or her way up the ladder, the courses become more complex and will require split-second timing on the part of the dog and the handler. It is a real working partnership. You may talk or signal to the dog, but you are not allowed to carry food or toys on the course. This is where great training is essential.

The agility equipment consists of mostly jumps. These include the single vertical type, double-bar spreads (oxers,) triple-bar spreads, long jumps, panel bars and even a bone shaped panel usually held by dog shaped standards. You’ll also find a tire, see-saw, pipe tunnel, closed tunnel, dog walk, A-Frame, cross-over table, pause box and weave poles. Some also contain a sway bridge, swing plank, platform jump and a crawl tunnel. On contact equipment, there is a yellow safety area at the bases where the dog must place at least one foot in order to avoid faults.

Whatever the equipment used, both the physical and mental ability of a dog is to be subjected to such a rigorous training and this should be taken into consideration before deciding to train your Border Collie in agility. A dog that, for example, had a low mental capacity should not be made to undergo such tasks, or the dog may become discouraged and a health risk may be imposed.

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