Agility embraces both mental and physical abilities, is gained with practice, repetition, and with safety in mind. Many agility exercises can be as simple as walking up and down a staircase. When planned and anticipated during routine walks and outings, starting with one or two repetitions and building the repetitions gradually.
Agility is best approached with a gradual increase in routine, a step-by-step process, and keeping your goals in mind. This article is a checklist guide to setting a goal, starting slow, being consistent, making the process fun, and participating with your dog so you embrace building your relationship as well as your physical strength together.
Set a goal
Setting a goal gives you and your dog clear milestones to reach for. It is also a good practice to bring your trainer and veterinarian into the goal setting step so you are clear on your dog’s age, health, and mobility abilities. Set short term (90 day) goals and long term (6 month) goals. Review and revise your plan to fit your dog’s progress.
Warm up and cool down are essential for safe building up of agility and strong mobility. Incorporate a warm up and cool down walk into your exercise routine.
Start where you are and gradually add a repetition at a time over several days. There is no rush to reach the goal. The most important part of building agility is to allow mind and body to gain ability and strength.
Set a goal for the number of days per week, the time of day, and how much time you will exercise with your dog. This provides much needed routine in your dog’s day. While she adjusts to ‘exercise time’ she will also intuitively know when it is time.
Make the process fun
Each session is a time for you to build your relationship with your dog. Enjoy the time you set aside to be working toward your goals together. Your dog will appreciate the attention.
If you have mobility, agility, or health goals for yourself this time can also benefit your progress. While you are encouraging your dog to walk up a staircase walk with her. Be sure to discuss your goals and activity plans with your health care professional.
Agility is maintained by routine engagement in activity. Your dedication to yourself and your dog’s routine will often show results long before your initial goal time frame has been reached.
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