Joining a dog agility club is a great way to take your training from backyard fun to competition level, but you don't necessarily have to be intent on competing in order to join a club. For the most part, these clubs are about providing a social atmosphere where dogs and owners can come together and get expert training advice while enjoying each other's company. It's become such a popular idea that clubs can be found across the country.
In most cases, clubs will be licensed by one of the groups, such as the United States Dog Agility Association, the North American Dog Agility Council, or the American Kennel Club, that sponsor agility competitions and they will gear their approach toward meeting the standards of that group. This means having competition grade rings and equipment, with the latest innovations for meeting safety standards. So you can be sure that your dog has a safe place to train and will be learning properly.
Instructors and staff at a dog agility club are usually highly trained, many with long competition history of their own so that they are well suited to give you advice on your approach to training. You'll be able to learn from the best and know that you're giving your dog the top training possible.
Rather than just trying to go it alone, working with the experts can make a big difference. You may just find that you and your dog are able to handle the various pieces of equipment easier and soon you'll be mastering any given course.
evelynebrun / stock.adobe.com
Joining a dog agility club will help accelerate your progress and is a great way to meet other agility enthusiasts, and, depending on the club, allow you to compete against other breeds (like the Border Collie shown above).
With everything from beginner agility training, teaching dogs to understand the basic commands and getting handlers used to using the "clicker" method, to preparing you and your dog to tackle competition level courses with an emphasis on speed and accuracy, there is almost no limit to what you can learn at these clubs.
Another advantage of joining a club goes way beyond merely learning the ins and outs of agility. It's also about coming together with other dog lovers and their pets and sharing ideas or just enjoying your time together. This kind of socializing is not only good for you and your dog emotionally, but it can also help you to deal with the stress of competition, where you'll need to learn to complete a course while avoiding the distraction of both audience and fellow competitors.
Yet another major advantage is the ability to participate in training without having to spend a fortune on your own equipment. If budget or space is restricting your ability to take up agility training at home, you can still get into the sport by joining a club. Here you'll be able to make use of their facilities and equipment, much of which will likely be top flight quality. Clubs may have both indoor and outdoor courses and incorporate the latest in rubberized safety surfaces and other cutting edge advances.
When it comes right down to it, the advantages of joining a dog agility club far outweigh the negatives, so there's really no reason not to look into the possibility. Whether you are just into agility as a fun hobby or are a serious competitor, you'll be able to get something out of a club. There's something for every level and every doggie personality, so nothing should stand in your way.
Why not check your local area and see what kinds of clubs are available for you to join. Many offer agility classes so you can accelerate your learning. This could be the best way for you to take your agility training to the next level.