It's easy to be inspired by agility displays at dog shows and on TV - after all, you can see the dogs are having the time of their lives. But you don't need to have the desire to compete to give your dog the opportunity to enjoy agility, as it's something you can try together in your own back garden (provided you have space).
Common course obstacles such as tunnels, bar jumps, a pause table and weave poles can all either be purchased or fashioned out of household items. However, if you opt for the latter, remember that you need to ensure your final creations are 100 per cent safe for your pet.
To get started with agility training, your dog should be at least one year old and responsive to all the basic commands. Begin by simply introducing your pooch to the various obstacles by walking him around the course. Take your time and let him stop and sniff where he wants - he is likely to want to investigate each obstacle.
During this walk around, try to lead him through the course as you would want him to approach it in the future - going through tunnels, for example, as opposed to around them, and standing still for a while on the pause table.
Once your dog is comfortable with each piece of the course and recognises the commands necessary to complete it, you can begin to think about improving their accuracy and speed. Again, this should be done gradually.
If you're trying to teach him the bar jump, for example, at first make sure the bar is just a few inches above the ground. Walk your dog over it while he's on his leash, guiding him with a treat if necessary. Raise the bar in small increments over time, removing the leash when he is comfortable with the activity and the overall course. If your dog's legs catch on the bar, it is too high - lower it a little until and try again after they have had more practice.
Written by: Hannah Dyball