How To Get Started In Dog Agility Training

Agility training can be a fun way to get your dog out of the house and involved in an activity that will help strengthen the bond between you both. It’s also great for their physical health and mental stimulation, as it requires both physical exertion and focus. 

However, before you start getting your pup ready for an agility competition or setting up an obstacle course in your backyard, there are some important things to keep in mind.

How to get started in Dog Agility | Dog Tips and Tricks – YouTube
Dog agility training is a fun and challenging activity for both you and your dog.
Effective training techniques are essential for success in agility competitions.
Agility training can provide numerous benefits for you and your dog, including improved fitness and strengthened bonds.
Dog agility training requires specific equipment, such as jumps, tunnels, poles, and A-frames.
While most dogs can participate in agility training, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian before starting to ensure your dog is physically capable of handling the activity.

1. Remember Safety Comes First

This is the most important part of any agility training session. Make sure your dog has been introduced to the equipment and its purpose before you start moving around with it. 

As a dog trainer, this is one of my core principles: never move forward with anything until your dog is comfortable with what they’re doing and there’s no stress involved in their actions. 

Once they’ve become familiar with it, you’ll be able to move faster and more efficiently through each course as well as give them more precise instructions because they’ll know exactly what’s expected of them (and it will make things easier on yourself).

Dog agility competitions require effective training techniques to achieve success. Follow our guide on training your dog for agility competitions to learn about the best methods of training for these types of competitions.

2. Give Your Dog Lots Of Attention And Praise

When it comes to training your dog, positive reinforcement is the name of the game. It’s important not to use treats as bribes or rewards for bad behavior. 

If your dog does something you don’t want him doing, don’t reward him with a treat; instead, focus on what you do want him doing and reward that. And for goodness’ sake don’t use treats as a reward for things he should already be doing anyway!

For example: if your dog jumps up on people, give him lots of attention when he doesn’t jump up on anyone else but ignore his jumping when there are other people around who might be annoyed by it. 

This will help teach him which behaviors are correct and which aren’t—and also helps reinforce good behavior with positive reinforcement (rather than punishing bad behavior).

3. Find A Qualified, Professional Trainer

When it comes to finding a trainer, you should look for someone who has experience and a good rapport with dogs. 

A qualified trainer will be patient, kind, and have a good rapport with your dog. You’ll also want to find someone who can teach you how to train your dog — so don’t just hire the first person that shows up at your door!

Walking your dog on a leash can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Learn how to train your dog to walk without pulling on the leash with our guide on how to train your dog to walk on a leash without pulling.

4. Set Up An Agility Training Course In Your Backyard

Once you’ve decided to get started in dog agility training, the next step is to find an appropriate space. If you’re using a yard, be sure it’s safe for your dog and built with their safety in mind. 

For example, if your yard has a steep drop-off or other hazards that could cause injury to your dog or even themselves (such as running into the fence), try finding another spot instead. 

You should also make sure that the area is large enough for you and your dog to run around together without bumping into anything or anyone else who may be outside at the same time.

When setting up an agility course for training purposes, use a tape measure or yardstick (or even just some string) to mark out a course between two designated start points and end points on either side of each obstacle within reach from those starting areas (obstacles should be spaced evenly apart). 

Once these distances have been measured out using some method of measurement like this one above all obstacles need not necessarily be marked off with lines since most dogs naturally know where these will happen anyway but simply having clear markers will help keep them focused on what they need to do next rather than getting distracted by something else happening nearby.

JumpsPlatform or bar that the dog must jump over.
TunnelsLong fabric tunnel the dog must run through.
Weave polesA set of vertical poles the dog must weave in and out of.
A-FrameA type of ramp that the dog must navigate up and over.
Pause TablePlatform the dog must jump onto and then stop and wait for instructions.
Tire JumpA tire frame the dog must jump through.

5. Enroll Your Dog In A Formal Agility Training Class Or Workshop

When enrolling in an agility training class, it is important to find a qualified instructor who has knowledge of the sport and experience with all different types of dogs.

Asking around is a great way to find out who has experience teaching agility classes.

You can also check out reputable websites like Agility Training For Dogs which offers a list of trainers across the country that are certified by USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association).

Once you have identified some potential instructors, make sure they offer private lessons so that your dog can get used to their new environment before attending group classes together as well as determine whether or not this person’s teaching style will be compatible with yours (and vice versa).

Many times people shy away from taking formal agility training because they aren’t sure how their dog will respond during class time; however, don’t worry too much about this because most dogs enjoy the game once they get used to it! If possible try doing some practice runs at home before bringing them into class so that everyone knows what’s going on!

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6. Try Fun And Easy Obstacle Courses At Home

Ladders: You can find ladders at any hardware store, and they make a great obstacle for your dog to jump over. Or, if you don’t want to buy one and have a friend with a ladder handy, try borrowing theirs.

Tires: You can use old tires for this training as well, or buy new ones if you like (they’re cheap!). Just be sure that whatever tire(s) you choose is the right size for your pup—depending on their weight, some dogs might not be able to climb into smaller types of tires. However, larger tires will never fit well inside small rooms or garages; so keep that in mind when choosing where to do agility training!

Picnic tables: If there aren’t many picnic tables in your neighborhood then consider using something else like an upside-down trashcan instead—just make sure it’s big enough so that both paws can comfortably rest on top when standing up without tipping over!

7. Practice The Basics On A Daily Basis

Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to begin training for competition. If you’re new to agility training and want to compete in a tournament, it’s important that your dog be able to perform all of the exercises listed above on command. 

This is another reason why consistency is key: if your dog doesn’t know what he has to do, he won’t have an opportunity to practice them on his own.

The best way for him to learn these exercises is through repetition—that is, by practicing them every day at home so that when it comes time for an official competition or trial (where judges will be watching closely), there’ll be no surprises! 

You may even want me remind yourself how fun training can be by keeping up with progress reports from other expert trainers who are sharing their tips and tricks online with fellow dog lovers around the world.”

Basic CommandDescription
“Sit”Commands dog to sit down on their hind legs.
“Stay”Instructs dog to remain in a seated or stationary position.
“Come”Instructs the dog to come towards you.
“Heel”Instructs the dog to walk alongside you in a precise manner.
“Down”Commands dog to lie down on their stomach with their paws extended forward.
“Leave it”Instructs the dog to leave certain objects or behaviors alone.

8. Challenge Your Dog To Learn New Skills

A great way to keep your dog training interesting, while also building the bond between you and your canine friend, is by introducing him or her to new activities. 

These may include retrieving objects like balls and Frisbees, jumping over obstacles on command, walking in a straight line or performing a trick such as sitting up or rolling over. To help build up their confidence and improve obedience skills, it’s important that you reward your dog for good behavior with treats or praise every time he does something right. 

Remember that practice makes perfect!

9. Use Training Commands Consistently

Consistency is crucial when you are teaching your dog agility skills. You want to make sure that your voice and tone remains the same as you use commands like “go,” “turn,” “step up” and “back up.” This will help your dog learn what these words mean and how they should respond when you say them.

You also want to be consistent with the way you use positive reinforcement during training sessions so that your dog knows what behavior you like best!

Training CommandDescription
“Sit”Instructs dog to sit down on their hind legs.
“Stay”Commands dog to remain in a seated or stationary position.
“Come”Instructs the dog to come towards you.
“Heel”Instructs the dog to walk alongside you in a precise manner.
“Down”Commands dog to lie down on their stomach with their paws extended forward.

10. Incorporate Toys And Treats Into Agility Training Exercises

You can use toys to motivate your dog. A toy may be the reward for a job well done or an exercise that is particularly difficult for your dog to master. 

Training with a toy will encourage your pup to focus on you as he plays with his favorite squeaky ball or tug-of-war rope, and this will help him learn obedience commands more quickly (and even faster than if you were just rewarding him with food treats).

Treats are also useful in agility training; they can be used as rewards after completing an obstacle course or successfully completing a difficult behavior. However, when using treats as rewards, it’s important not to give them out too often. 

This can lead your dog to lose interest in the treat and make it harder for him or her to focus on what you’re teaching next!

Dog agility training can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your dog. Consult our comprehensive guide on mastering dog agility training to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in this exciting activity.


Don’t get discouraged if your dog doesn’t seem interested in agility training at first. It can take time for both of you to learn the ropes, so be patient! 

With perseverance and some practice, though, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an agility pro in no time.

Further Reading

For more information about dog agility training, check out these helpful resources:

Masterclass: Agility Training for Dogs – A comprehensive guide to dog agility training that covers everything from basic techniques to advanced training methods.

AKC: Agility Training Tips for Competition – This article provides tips on how to train your dog for agility competitions, including advice on equipment and competition rules.

SitStay: Dog Agility Training for Beginners – A beginner’s guide to dog agility training that covers the basics of training, equipment, and safety tips.


What is dog agility training?

Dog agility training is a sport that involves training your dog to perform an obstacle course in a set order and within a specified time frame.

What are some of the benefits of dog agility training?

Dog agility training can provide numerous benefits, including increased physical activity and exercise for both you and your dog, stronger bonds between you and your dog, and an opportunity to socialize your dog.

What are some of the basic techniques used in dog agility training?

Basic techniques used in dog agility training include teaching your dog to follow hand signals, developing body awareness and coordination, and building speed and agility.

What types of equipment are used in dog agility training?

Equipment used in dog agility training includes items such as jumps, tunnels, weave poles, and A-frames.

Can any dog participate in agility training?

Most dogs can participate in agility training, although certain breeds may be better suited for the activity due to their size and athletic abilities. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian before starting agility training to ensure your dog is physically capable of handling the demands of the sport.