When Is The Right Time To Start Dog Agility Training?

Agility training is a lot of fun. It’s an excellent way to keep your dog physically fit and mentally challenged. And if you’re an avid pet owner, it can be the perfect way to bond with your best friend. But how do you know when it’s the right time to start? 

Here are 12 factors that will help you decide:

Agility exercises for dogs under 12 months
Key Takeaways
– Dog agility training is a fun and rewarding activity for both dogs and handlers.
– Before starting agility training, it’s important to know the rules and regulations of the sport, as well as what equipment you’ll need.
– Effective training techniques and proper warm-up and cool-down routines can help reduce the risk of injury for your dog.
– Dogs of all ages and breeds can participate in agility training, although puppies should wait until they’re fully developed before starting.
– Agility training can be a great way to improve your dog’s physical health, mental well-being, and obedience.

Your Dog’s Physical And Mental Development

There is no right or wrong age to start training your dog, but there are some things to consider. For example, physical development plays a part in learning agility. 

The more muscles your dog has and the better his balance is, the easier it will be for him to do some of the obstacles. However, mental development is more important than physical development when it comes to dog agility training because this sport requires mental toughness and focus from both you and your pup!

The best way for you figure out what’s best for your pooch is by taking an honest look at how much time he has left before reaching maturity (around two years old). 

If he isn’t quite ready yet then consider waiting until after maturity so that both of these factors aren’t needed during early stages of training; otherwise they could hinder progress instead of help advance it

Looking to get started with dog agility training? Our guide on How to Get Started in Dog Agility Training covers everything you need to know to hit the course with your pup and improve both their physical and mental health.

Your Dog’s Personality Traits

One of the most important factors to consider is your dog’s personality traits. Some dogs are more naturally athletic than others, and some are more social or obedient. Likewise, some dogs are naturally focused while others are curious and adventurous.

If you have an athletic, obedient and focused breed of dog like a Border Collie or German Shepherd then it might be easier for them to learn agility than if they were more playful like a Jack Russell Terrier or Australian Cattle Dog (ACD).

A good way to assess whether your pup has what it takes is by observing him at play with other dogs in his pack – does he herd them around? Does he bark at them if they get too close? Or does he just ignore them completely when they’re running around playing chase? If so then this could indicate that your pooch may do well with training for agility competitions!

Your Dog’s Physical Capabilities And Limitations

If your dog is a small breed, agility may be too physically demanding. Smaller dogs can easily get injured because they’re not as strong and don’t have the same muscle mass as larger breeds.

In addition, if your dog has joint issues or other health problems, agility may be too hard on them. If you have an older dog (age 7 or older), agility could also be too hard on their joints.

Physical CapabilityBreeds
Excellent Jumping AbilityBorder Collie, Australian Shepherd, Jack Russell Terrier
Good EnduranceSiberian Husky, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever
High EnergyWeimaraner, Vizsla, Dalmatian
FlexibilityGreyhound, Whippet, Shiba Inu
Low EnergyBulldog, Basset Hound, Great Dane
Small SizeChihuahua, Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier
Large SizeGreat Dane, Mastiff, St. Bernard

This table provides information on your dog’s physical capabilities and limitations based on their breed. By understanding your dog’s strengths and weaknesses, you can tailor their agility training to better suit their individual needs and abilities.

Your Training Experience

Are you a dog trainer? Have you trained dogs before? If so, what kind of experience do you have in dog agility and/or similar sports such as flyball or freestyle frisbee? If not, how much time have you spent researching the sport and reading about it online or in books. 

Do your goals align with the goals of other trainers at this level (e.g., are they focused on competing at an advanced level)?

What type of dog would be best suited for agility training? Is there anything about your personality or lifestyle that makes certain breeds more appealing than others (i.e., do they match up well with the amount of time/energy needed for training). 

For example: Some dogs are very energetic while others may be better suited towards calmer activities like obedience classes instead of jumping through hoops!

To be successful in dog agility training, it’s important to know what mistakes to avoid. Our guide on 15 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Dog Agility Training will help you and your dog navigate the course with confidence.

You And Your Family’s Time Availability

If you are a busy family, agility may not be the right choice. Agility requires a lot of time and commitment to train your dog.

If you have time to commit to training, agility could be a good fit for your family. Agility can be a great way for both humans and dogs alike to get exercise, but it does require more time than other sports such as flyball or disc dog where the only requirement is throwing some discs around!

If you are retired and have time on your hands (or just want something fun!), then perhaps this sport might be just what everyone needs in order for them all stay active!

The Quality Of The Agility Facility You’re Using

The quality of the facility is another important factor to consider. You want to be sure that the agility equipment is well maintained and safe for both you and your dog, as well as being durable enough to last through many years of use.

The customer service at a good agility facility should also be top notch–after all, they’re going to be helping you with all kinds of things from now until whenever (hopefully) your dog retires from competition!

Want to up your dog’s agility training game? Our guide on The Most Effective Ways to Train Your Dog for Agility Competitions will provide you with expert tips and advice that can help you compete at the highest levels.

The Cost Of Agility Classes, Competition Entry Fees And Equipment

You need to consider the cost of agility classes as well as other expenses related to dog agility training. Agility classes are usually priced per session or per month, so you’ll need to consider whether that’s feasible for your budget. 

If it isn’t, then consider taking your dog out for private lessons instead of group classes–that way you can focus on what he needs without paying extra money for other dogs in the class distracting him or competing against him in a competitive environment (which might be stressful).

Private lessons can also help with any issues that arise during training because trainers can tailor their instruction specifically toward helping your pup overcome whatever obstacle is holding him back from accomplishing his goal at that moment in time.

Competition entry fees vary depending on where the event takes place and who puts it together; however most competitions charge between $10-$50 per person/dog team before any prize money given out by sponsorships etc.. 

This means if you’re serious about competing regularly then expect an annual bill somewhere between $1000 – $3000 depending upon how many times each year they host events near where we live!

Cost of Agility Classes, Competition Entry Fees, and Equipment

ItemAverage Cost
Agility Classes$125 – $200 per six-week session
Competition Entry Fees$25 – $40 per trial
Agility Equipment$50 – $300+ per obstacle

This table provides an overview of the typical costs associated with dog agility training and competition. Agility classes can vary in price depending on the location and duration of the session, with most classes costing between $125 and $200 for a six-week session.

Additionally, competition entry fees typically range between $25 and $40 per trial, although some events may charge higher or lower fees. Finally, the cost of agility equipment can vary widely depending on the type and brand of the obstacle, with prices ranging from $50 for a single obstacle to over $300 for more complex pieces of equipment. It’s important to budget for these costs if you’re considering agility training for your dog, as they can add up quickly over time.

The Cost Of Veterinary Care For Injuries You Might Sustain

If you’re thinking about taking on agility training, there are a few things to consider. First, think about what kind of injuries your dog might sustain if they get hurt during a run.

The most common injury is an elbow or knee injury (especially in smaller dogs). These are often treated with ice packs and rest until they heal on their own, but if it’s more serious than that, it could require surgery–and that’s where things get expensive! 

As you can see from this chart below, vet bills for dogs can vary widely depending on how much treatment is required:

  • Surgery: $1,500-$3,000+
  • Drugs/Supplements: $200-$500+ per year

Are you considering dog agility training for your four-legged friend? Our guide on What You Need to Know Before Starting Dog Agility Training will provide you with an overview on how to get started, from equipment to training techniques and more.

Type Of Equipment Used In Training And Competition

You’ll want to consider the safety and cost of the equipment, as well as how to pick the right equipment for your dog. 

The following factors should be considered:

Safety – This is an obvious one, but you don’t want your dog running into anything that could hurt them. Make sure there are no sharp edges or pieces that could be chewed off and ingested by your puppy. 

Also make sure that any gates or barriers are sturdy enough for them not to knock them over accidentally!

Cost – Most agility courses will require some sort of training equipment, so keep in mind that this will add up over time (and if you’re planning on competing at all). 

However, some options are more affordable than others depending on how much space they take up in your yard or house (like jump mats vs hurdles).

Weave PolesSet of vertical poles that dogs weave in and out of
JumpsObstacles dogs jump over
TunnelsLong tubes dogs run through
A-FrameRaised platform with sloping sides
Teeter-TotterSeesaw-like obstacle that dogs run across
Pause TablePlatform where dogs must stop and stay for a set period of time
Contact ObstaclesObstacles where dogs have to touch certain areas with their paws, such as the A-Frame, Teeter-Totter, and Dog Walk
Dog WalkElevated platform with ramps on either end, which dogs walk across
Tire JumpHoop in which dogs must jump through

This table provides an overview of the most common types of equipment used in dog agility training and competition. From weave poles to tire jumps, all of these obstacles require strength, agility, and coordination from both the handler and the dog.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced competitor, understanding the equipment used in agility training can help you develop the skills needed to succeed.

What Type Of Dog You Have. (Labrador Retriever Vs German Shepherd, Etc.)

One of the most important factors to consider is the type of dog you have. A Labrador Retriever, for example, is a very physical breed with lots of energy and endurance. They’re also known to be one of the friendliest breeds out there. 

German Shepherds are another popular choice among owners because they make great guard dogs–but they’re also highly intelligent and require training that’s more challenging than some other breeds’ needs might be.

If your pooch has certain physical limitations or mental capabilities (or both), it’s important to know how those traits will affect their ability to learn agility courses. 

Likewise, if your pup has an anxious temperament or gets easily distracted when practicing new tricks in class, these types of behaviors could negatively impact their progress as well as yours!

Dog agility training is a fun and exciting activity for both you and your dog, but it’s important to know what steps to take before diving in. Check out our guide on The Do’s and Don’ts of Dog Agility Training to learn best practices and prepare for success.


With all of these factors in mind, you can make an informed decision about whether or not to start dog agility training. If you think your dog is ready, then go for it! But if not, don’t worry–there’s always next year.

Further Reading

In addition to our primary resources on dog agility training, you may also find the following articles helpful:

What Age Can You Start Agility Training?: This article covers the age at which dogs can begin agility training, including tips on how to ensure your pup is physically and mentally ready.

Tricks Training: Preparing Your Puppy for Agility: This AKC article provides an overview of how trick training can help prepare your puppy for agility training.

Puppy Agility Training: A Guide to Getting Started: This comprehensive guide covers the basics of agility training for puppies, including what equipment you’ll need and how to get started with training.


What are the benefits of agility training for dogs?

Agility training can be incredibly beneficial for dogs, both physically and mentally. In addition to improving their physical health and athleticism, agility training can boost their confidence, improve their focus and obedience, and provide a fun and engaging activity for you to enjoy together.

Is agility training suitable for all dogs?

While many dogs can benefit from agility training, it’s important to ensure that your pup is physically and mentally prepared before starting training. If your dog is still young, it’s important to wait until their bones and joints have fully developed. Dogs with certain medical conditions may also need to avoid agility training or modify their training regime.

What equipment do I need for agility training?

The equipment needed for agility training includes hurdles, weave poles, tunnels, see-saws, and other obstacles that are used to create the course. In addition, you may need training aids such as clickers or treats to help motivate and reward your dog as they complete the course.

How can I get started with dog agility training?

To get started with dog agility training, you’ll need access to the necessary equipment and an understanding of the basic techniques and commands used in agility training. It can be helpful to work with an experienced trainer who can show you the ropes and provide guidance as you and your dog progress.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when training for agility?

Some common mistakes to avoid when training for agility include failing to properly warm up your dog before training, using incorrect techniques or equipment, overfeeding your dog or using food as a reward too frequently, and pushing your dog too hard and too fast before they’re ready. It’s important to take a gradual and gentle approach to training, and to always prioritize your dog’s safety and well-being.