Blenheim Canine Training | Agility FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
A dog obedience and agility club dedicated to promoting responsible dog ownership through education and training
Blenheim Canine Training, dog, agility, dog obedience, Marlborough, education, classes, puppy courses, advanced obedience, Rally O, first-time dog owners, frequent competitions
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Agility FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Will my dog be off leash?
Yes! Dogs will stay on leash for the first couple of weeks of introductory class, but
quickly move to working off leash so it’s important that your dog comes when called –
even around distractions. Agility class is not the environment for your dog to learn how to
come when called.


What age can my dog start?
We allows dogs 14 months and over that are in good health to participate in our agility


Is agility a good way for my dog to lose weight?
Your dog needs to be in good shape prior to starting agility training. Jumping is
physically hard on dogs, and this is made even harder by any extra weight they are
carrying. It is in your dog’s best interest to ensure they are trim and fit before starting
agility training.


How much time should I dedicate to training?
The short answer is little but often. Ideally, you should train something (any trick or
behaviour) almost everyday but only for short sessions, 5 – 10 min max. This is easy
enough to do in an advert break while watching your favourite TV show! You can even
practice your wait training every time you give your dog their dinner.


Why does my dog have to be 14 months to start?
The New Zealand Kennel Club has specific rules around what age dogs are allowed to
do certain obstacles due to physical immaturity. Dogs must be 16 months old to
graduate from our introductory course into our skills course with weaves and contact
equipment – if they started at 4 months in introductory it would be a long 12 months
repeating the introductory course!


What things/behaviours/tricks should my dog be able to do before coming to
agility training?
Even though our agility classes start at 14 months, there are a lot of things that are
important to teach your pre-agility dog!

  • Come when called around distractions
  • Wait until released
  • Play tug with a toy
  • To follow you and your movements if you change direction


What breeds of dog can do agility?
Any breed of dog is capable of participating in, and enjoying agility! At our club we have
a wide range of breeds including border collies, welsh & english springer spaniels,
cocker spaniels, heading dogs, samoyeds, miniature poodles, miniature schnauzers, lots
of mixed breeds, a schipperke, a portuguese podengo and even a deaf dog! Unfortunately under
Schedule 4 of the New Zealand Dog Control Act (1966) we cannot allow the following
breeds/types to attend training at our club: Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese
Tosa, Perro de Presa Canario and American Pit Bull Terrier.


What fitness level should my dog and I have before starting agility?
Your dog should be in good physical condition before starting agility. Jumping puts
stress on the joints and if your dog is carrying excess weight this adds to the strain on
those joints. As for the handler, the fitter you are, the easier it is to keep up with your
dog. In saying that, there are training techniques you can learn and use if you find
keeping up with your dog a physical challenge. We have members of all ages, fitness
levels and physical abilities competing in agility.


How long does it take to start competing?
This really depends on how much time you put into your dog. If you complete the 8 week
Introductory Agility class you should have the basic foundation skills to get around a
simple course at competition, however, this is just providing you with the basic skills.

Most people usually start competing after they have learned a few more handling skills
and have built up their confidence as a dog-handler team. This is usually around 6-12


Is agility a good way to socialise my dog?
Not really. Agility is all about you and your dog learning to play and work together. Your
dog should learn to think you are the most exciting thing at training, not the other dogs.


Do I need to practice at home?
The more you practice what you learn in class, the faster you will improve. Many skills
do not require equipment and some things can be taught with objects from around the
house and a little imagination.