Early puppy training is something that every dog owner should go through. By the time your dog has mastered sit, lay down and fetch, though, you may be looking at some more advanced activities to train your dog with.
This is where dog agility comes in. Common practices include a tunnel, see-saws and hurdles to train your dog up. You'll be ready for Crufts in no time!
It's likely that you'll need equipment to assist in this dog agility training - unless you're an avid DIY-er dog parent. Not all of us are though, so we've got all the tips and equipment you'll need to get on your dog agility training journey.
At what age can a dog start agility training?
You can start with agility training at a very young age, from even a year old.
You won't be able to compete in any competitions until your dog is at least eighteen months old, but it's good to get a start or train your dog young if you're just doing it for fun and to use up some excess energy.
Any breed can learn agility so whichever dog you may have will be able to complete a whole course of agility training. As they say, learning never stops so you and your dog can continue learning forever.
What dog training equipment do I need?
Things can seem complex at first but it doesn't have to be that hard. The most common agility equipment for dogs are things like a hoop jump, A-frame, hurdles, cones and tunnels. All of these you will recognise once you get started.
If you're not sure which to go for or what will be best for your dog, you can always pick up a dog agility kit, which will include the basic tools needed to get started with your agility training.
Here are some of the products you should be on the lookout for (and that we have suggested in our top products below):
• Jumps (including bar jumps, hurdles and hoops)
• Weave courses (including poles and cones)
What's the best way to train a puppy?
We spoke to Tails.com behaviourist Carolyn Menteith, to work out what is the best way to train your puppies once they get ready to learn commands and actions.
According to Carolyn, the best thing you can possibly do for your pup is to let them get their best sleep.
Carolyn says, “Most puppies leave their mum and go to their new home at around eight weeks old. At this age, they are still babies, and like all babies, they need sleep. A lot of sleep! An eight-week-old puppy should be getting 18-20 hours of good quality sleep every single day. In other words, more than 80 per cent of their day should be spent sleeping in their beds. Sounds like heaven to me!
“Think about how a lack of sleep affects you. You become tired and cranky, little things frustrate you, your loved ones get on your nerves, and you might well find people touching you really annoying too.
"There are many reasons for puppy biting but the one most people seem to be forgetting is that with everyone in the family at home all day every day, puppies have often just not been getting enough sleep. Everyone wants to play with the puppy, train them and take them for walks, plus the house is far noisier with far more activity than normal.”
So there you go, soon your puppy will be thanking you for letting them rest cosy and cute.
The best dog agility equipment UK
Back to the best dog agility equipment you can get your hands on today, here's our choice of what you can buy right now.
Agility Right from the Start by Eva Bertilsson
Best dog agility training book
First things first, if you're a total beginner, first-time dog owner or just looking to learn more - we recommend reading this book by Eva Bertilsson, which will break all the tips and tricks down into easy-to-read information. Then take the theory and put it into practice!
What's included? One paperback book
Why we recommend it: Whether you're experienced or new to the practice, this dog agility book will make everything clear for you
PawHut Pet Agility Training Set Adjustable (Pole + Hoop + Hurdle)
Best beginner dog agility training jump set
This is Amazon's Choice for a dog agility set to kick you off if you're focusing on jumping. With three pieces, you can keep it simple and build up your dog's expertise with these classic agility tools.
What's included? An adjustable pole, hoop and hurdle
Why we recommend it: A good quality set of the classic dog agility tools to get you started.
X XBEN Upgraded Dog Agility Equipment Kit
Best larger dog agility equipment set
Another great choice for a dog agility set, but bigger. If you know you're committed to building your dog's skills, this is the choice for you. With five different pieces, you'll be using this sturdy kit for a while. Worth the investment.
What's included? Adjustable ring poles, jump poles, tunnel, weave poles, square pause box and carrying bag
Why we recommend it: Sturdy with a good variety of tools for dog agility - great if you're going to stay committed
9" Multi Sport Marker Training Traffic Cones
Best dog agility cones
One of the simplest pieces of dog agility equipment you can get your hands on, we recommend grabbing a set of cones to help your dog build up their weaving technique. Weatherproof and durable, you need to have a set of these.
What's included? A set of twelve multicoloured nine-inch agility cones
Why we recommend it: Basic dog agility tools that every dog owner needs
Best dog agility low jump hurdles
These jump hurdles are great if you're looking for a set to kick your dog off. With six cones and three adjustable dog poles, you can move these easily and adapt the poles to make it harder or easier for your dog.
What's included? Six cones and three poles with three adjustable heights
Why we recommend it: Simple but easy-to-use for perfecting jumping techniques
dibea Dog Tunnel
Best dog agility tunnel
Every dog agility training needs a tunnel to go with it. It's foldable and comes with a carry bag so it's easy to store. All you need to do is roll it out and get ahead of your training!
What's Included? A 200 x 40 cm tunnel and mounting pegs
Why we recommend it: Versatile, easy to assemble and store, a great piece of agility equipment
PawHut 1.8m Wooden Pet Seesaw
Best large dog agility see saw
This 1.8m see-saw is high-quality, durable and weather-resistant, so likely to last a long time. With anti-slip padding, your dog will be totally safe when learning to climb and go down this see-saw.
What's included? 180L x 30W x 30H cm fir wood see saw
Why we recommend it: This is high-quality and perfect for outdoor agility training when your dog is ready to move onto learning this