10 Surprising Tips For Success In Dog Agility Training

You love to watch agility, and you’ve always wanted to train your dog. You’re ready! But what do you need to know? Agility training is fun but challenging, so here are some tips that will help ensure success.

An Introduction to Dog Agility! – YouTube
Use positive reinforcement techniques to create a positive and rewarding training environment for your dog.
Set clear and consistent training goals to help your dog understand what is expected of them.
Focus on building a strong bond with your dog to improve communication and trust.
Incorporate food and toy rewards to reinforce positive behaviors.
Choose the right training equipment that is appropriate for your dog’s skill level and physical abilities.
Gradually increase the difficulty of the obstacles as your dog develops their skills.
Avoid training when your dog is tired or distracted, and ensure that they have plenty of rest and hydration.
Take time to warm up before training sessions to prevent injuries and build stamina.
Keep training sessions short and focused to prevent boredom and frustration for both you and your dog.
Celebrate every victory, no matter how small, to keep morale high and maintain motivation.

Do It For The Right Reasons

Don’t do it to prove you can do it. Don’t do it to show off your dog. Don’t do it to prove that you are better than other people or dogs. 

Don’t even think about doing agility because someone else wants you to! If these things are true for your dog training experience, stop reading and go find something else to be passionate about there are plenty of opportunities out there!

The key to dog agility training is to make it exciting and rewarding. Our article on The Do’s and Don’ts of Dog Agility Training provides valuable tips and insights to help you make the most out of training your furry friend.

Use Lots Of Motivators

One of the most important tips for success in dog agility training is to use lots of motivators.

Use treats, toys, praise and play to encourage your dog to do what you want him or her to do. Make it fun and interesting for both of you!

Don’t use aversive techniques such as prong collars or shock collars you don’t want your dog afraid of you! Also avoid food that will make your dog sick or fat; many commercial treats are full of preservatives and artificial ingredients that aren’t good for them.

TreatsUse high-value treats like Zuke’s Mini Naturals or Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats to reinforce positive behaviors and keep your dog motivated.
ToysUse interactive toys like KONG Classic Dog Toy or Chuckit! Ultra Ball to provide mental stimulation and physical exercise, which can help drive motivation.
PraiseUse verbal cues, like “good job” or “way to go,” to reinforce positive behaviors and encourage your dog to continue performing well.
PlayUse playtime as a motivator. Games like tug-of-war or fetch can be used during training to create a fun and bonding environment.
VarietyIncorporate different motivators based on what works best for your individual dog. Some dogs may respond better to certain motivators than others.

Focus On Dog Training, Not Dog Agility Training

If you’re new to dog agility training, it’s important to remember that the sport is about your dog—not you. 

Sure, it’s cool when your dog performs well and completes obstacles in record time, but if he can’t perform those same actions without mistakes, then he’s not ready for competition.

Your focus should be on training your dog and helping him become comfortable with each obstacle. 

This will take practice and patience! Don’t be discouraged if some training sessions don’t go as planned; keep working at it until both of you are happy with his progress.

Use Different Motivators And Keep The Game Interesting

You should always keep your dog’s motivation level high by using a variety of motivators. This means you can change up the type of reward you use during training, such as food, toys or praise. 

If you have an agility course set up in your backyard and your dog is getting bored with it, try changing things up every once in a while by adding new obstacles or switching out some old ones for new ones. This will keep their interest level high, which is essential for successful agility training!

TreatsUse high-value treats like Zuke’s Mini Naturals or Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats to reinforce positive behaviors.
ToysUse engaging toys like KONG Classic Dog Toy or Chuckit! Ultra Ball to motivate your dog during training.
Positive ReinforcementUse clicker training and praise to highlight good behavior.
CompetitionParticipate in dog agility competitions like AKC Agility Trials to put your skills to the test.
VarietyIncorporate different obstacles, equipment, and training methods to keep your dog engaged and interested.

Train In A Variety Of Places

Training in a variety of places is helpful for agility dogs because it helps them to stay focused and motivated. 

It also gives them the opportunity to learn how to navigate obstacles in different locations, which means that you won’t have to worry about your dog being distracted by his surroundings during a competition or test.

When you train at home, try changing the course occasionally so that your dog doesn’t get bored with running through the same set-up over and over again. 

If possible, bring agility equipment outside on occasion so that he can get used to running through tunnels and over jumps in different environments

Dog agility training can benefit both dogs and their owners in many ways, from building better communication to providing exercise and mental stimulation. Read more about the Top 15 Benefits of Dog Agility Training to learn why it’s an excellent activity for you and your furry companion.

Include Puppy Agility Play In Your Puppy’s Foundation Skills

Including puppy agility play in your puppy’s foundation skills is a great way to bond with your new family member. If you have a young puppy, it’s important for them to learn how to focus on their owner. 

They also need to learn basic skills like walking on a leash, turning around and stopping. Playtime is the perfect opportunity for you to teach them these things!

Start by playing games that involve cooperation: hide-and-seek with treats, playing catch or tug-of-war with small toys. 

These games will help build trust and communication between the two of you while they’re young enough not yet able to chase after birds or squirrels just yet!

Have Realistic Expectations

When you first start out, expect your dog to need some time to get used to the obstacles. Make sure they are safe and secure, but also make sure that they aren’t too difficult or too easy.

It’s important to keep your expectations realistic when training a new dog. Don’t set your sights too high: don’t expect your dog to be perfect, especially if they’re young or inexperienced. Also, don’t expect them to do all of their skills in one session. It’s best to start small and work up from There!

Are you interested in dog agility training but don’t know where to start? Our guide on How to Get Started in Dog Agility Training covers everything you need to know, from the basics of agility training to the equipment required.

Don’t Force Your Dog To Do A Skill He Doesn’t Like

It’s important to remember that your dog is not a human. While it’s true that dogs are very intelligent, they do not have the same cognitive abilities as humans. 

They also don’t have the same attention span or memory retention as humans either, so you might find yourself repeating something over and over again with little success.

When you think about it, this makes sense! Dogs are used to living in their natural environment where everything is new every day—they are constantly learning about new things and exploring their surroundings. 

This means that if you want your dog to be successful at agility training, he needs to be excited about learning new things all of the time! If he doesn’t like something? Don’t force him into doing it because eventually he’ll just tune out altogether and won’t pay attention no matter what else happens around him (ahem).

SkillWhat to Do
Weave PolesUse the 2×2 method of training.
TunnelsUse a shortened version and gradually increase the length.
JumpsUse cavalettis or raised poles to adjust the height gradually.
TableUse a smaller platform with lower height and move gradually to proper-sized table.
Contact ObstaclesUse lower height contacts,
progressively increase the height to AKC specified height .

Keep Sessions Short And Fun

When you’re a dog owner, getting your pup to do new things can be a challenging process. Dog agility training is one of the best ways to teach your dog new skills and keep them mentally stimulated. 

But sometimes, it can be easy for sessions at the agility course or park to go on too long. As an owner of two very enthusiastic dogs, I’ve learned firsthand how important it is to keep my dogs’ training sessions short and fun!

It’s important not only because they’ll get bored if they feel like I’m torturing them with this “agility” thing forever (and trust me, you don’t want that), but also because keeping the session short will allow me more opportunities throughout the week for agility work. 

That way, my furry friends will never feel overworked or stressed out by their daily routines and hopefully find themselves loving those daily exercises even more than they already do now!

Avoiding common mistakes is one of the keys to success in dog agility training. Our article on 15 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Dog Agility Training can help you identify and overcome these mistakes, ensuring that you and your dog make the most out of training sessions.

Don’t Let Tunneling Be The Only Obstacle Your Dog Loves

You don’t want tunneling to be the only obstacle your dog is motivated to do. You can use it as a reward for other obstacles, but if your dog doesn’t enjoy going through the tunnels and he freezes or gets stuck, then you need to work on motivation.

You have two choices: make sure that he enjoys running through the tunnel so much that he doesn’t even think about what other obstacles might lie ahead; or postpone practicing with tunnels until the rest of his agility skills are strong enough.

One of the most effective ways to boost your dog’s agility skills is by using specific training techniques. Our article on Maximize Your Dog’s Potential with These Agility Training Techniques includes tried-and-tested tips that can help you take your dog’s agility training to the next level.


We hope these tips have given you some insight into how you can get started with dog agility training and make it a fun, rewarding experience for both of you. 

Remember that it is important to keep your sessions short and fun, so that your pooch doesn’t get bored or frustrated. And don’t forget to mix up the games by using different motivators!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you get started with dog agility training:

10 Tips to Practice Agility at Home with Your Dog: This article from the American Kennel Club provides expert tips on how you can practice agility training with your dog at home.

What Every Beginning Agility Competitor Should Know: Tips for the Rookie: If you’re considering entering your first agility competition, this guide from PetHelpful is a must-read for beginners.

Top Tips for Dog Agility Training: WellBeloved shares some excellent tips that can help you make the most out of your dog agility training sessions and improve your furry friend’s performance.


Here are some frequently asked questions about dog agility training:

What is dog agility training?

Dog agility is a sport that involves a handler directing their dog through a series of obstacles in the shortest possible time.

What are the benefits of dog agility training?

Dog agility training can help dogs develop better coordination, communication, and mental agility. It also provides exercise and can be a fun bonding activity for dogs and their owners.

Do I need any special equipment to start agility training with my dog?

Yes, you will need some basic equipment such as jumps, tunnels, and weave poles. You should start with simple equipment and gradually increase the difficulty as your dog becomes more confident and proficient.

Can any dog participate in agility training?

Most dogs can do agility, but it is important to consult with your vet to ensure that your dog is healthy enough to participate. Additionally, some breeds may be better suited to agility training than others.

Do I need to hire a professional trainer for agility training?

While it is possible to teach your dog the basics of agility training on your own, working with a professional trainer can be invaluable for both you and your dog. The trainer can provide guidance and training techniques that can help you become more successful in agility training.