How to Train Your Dog in Agility Sports

I know you want to be an A+ dog owner and take Fido for a brisk run every morning, but it’s important to teach him the basics first. Agility training is often talked about in terms of human athletes, but it’s great for dogs of all age and skill levels. If you teach your pup to master its motor skills, you’ll also have a happier, healthier friend on your hands.

Doggie push up

The Doggie Push Up is a fun and easy way to teach your dog how to perform a specific motion that he can use in agility sports. This exercise requires the assistance of a human partner, but you should always be very encouraging and kind when teaching your dog new things. If your dog does not understand what you are asking of him, gently try again with different words until he gets it right. Do not correct or scold him for performing incorrectly; simply start over and try again!

If your dog performs this exercise correctly on his own, praise him lavishly! This will encourage him to continue working hard and learn new skills.


Shaping is a way to teach a dog to do something by rewarding him for small steps towards the final goal. For example, if you want to teach your dog to jump over an obstacle, you would reward him as soon as he takes a step off the ground before jumping. You continue this process until he takes several steps backwards, then reward again when he jumps all the way over the object on his first attempt. This method teaches them that their actions will lead to rewards and that these rewards come from performing certain actions at certain times.

Start with your dog by your side.

Before you begin, try to find a space with less activity where your dog can get used to being around people and other dogs. This could be in the park or at an open field. To begin training, start by walking with your dog next to you and on-leash. If he tends to pull, it can help if you use a long leash so that he’s closer by your side. You may also want to use treats as an incentive for him to remain close by—and remember: always reward him when he’s good!

Using a long leash, prompt your dog to sit and stay.

  • Use a long leash. You want to be able to keep your distance from your dog when you’re in an agility course, but you can’t be across the room from them when training them for agility sports. So use a long leash that’s about five feet long so that you can have some distance and still be able to prompt your dog to stay and sit.
  • Use treats as rewards. Rewards are very important in teaching any new behavior; they reinforce what you want your dog to do so that they’ll continue doing it even after the reward is gone, which makes learning easier over time because they don’t need constant prompting anymore! Dog treats work best here because not only do they work well at rewarding good behavior—they also help get rid of any bad habits other food might encourage like begging while you eat dinner or stealing snacks out of children’s hands at birthday parties (both things my dogs have done!).

Bring him back to the starting position while encouraging him with treats and praise.

You can’t be too careful with this step. If you’re not careful, your dog could get tired or develop bad habits before even learning how to do the obstacle course correctly.

In order to make sure your training sessions are effective and enjoyable for everyone involved, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Start off slow so that your dog will be excited about the training session instead of nervous or frustrated. It’s important that he associate agility with rewards and positive experiences so that he’ll want to continue them willingly.
  • Be patient with yourself as well as your pup; don’t expect him to master everything on day one! At times it might seem like nothing is happening, but just keep at it – eventually he’ll start catching on!

Call your dog’s name to get his attention and then gesture or a command to tell him you want him to move.

This can be done by calling his name and pointing at the obstacle you want him to go over or through, then giving him a verbal cue once he reaches it. Your dog will likely understand what you want if you are consistent in using the same commands for each obstacle type—but make sure not to use a command that doesn’t make sense or is too complicated for your pooch!

Repeat the process until he fully understands the exercise.

The key to learning is repetition, and the key to success in agility sports is repetition. Repeat this process until your dog can perform his exercises as perfectly as possible every time. As with any task, there’s often a point at which one stops improving—but don’t stop too soon! Your goal isn’t just perfection; it’s improvement upon perfection. Keep going until you’re satisfied with the result; then be patient and wait for him to catch up mentally before moving on to something else.

Remember that although patience is important when training your dog (and life), don’t be afraid of pushing him beyond his comfort zone—especially if he enjoys the activity! If your dog does well with an obstacle but struggles with another, consider adding in additional repetitions of just that obstacle until he gets used to how it feels and how much force should be applied during performance times so as not over-stress either mind or body for future competitions…

If it’s hard for you, it’s hard for them!

If you are at all like me, the thought of training your dog in agility sports is a little daunting. I don’t even like taking my dog out for walks! But you have to remember that dogs are experts at learning and they’re very motivated by food, praise, toys and play. They also love attention so if they see something as fun or exciting then they will be more than happy to work with you on it.