How do I know if my dog is a candidate for agility training?
Many types of dogs can excel at agility. Currently, the sport is dominated by Border Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs, but that doesn’t mean that other breeds don’t compete at the highest levels. In fact, each breed has its own competition statistics, and every year the top dogs in each breed are honored.
Body type and temperament dictate success. Dogs with bendable, sleek bodies and long legs seem born to do agility. Drive (that is, energy backed by determination) and a keen mind are also important, and mixed breeds with these traits have the potential to compete at the top.
Some dogs, however, are not born to do agility. The amount of learning required, plus the environmental stress, may be too much for a shy or insecure dog to cope with. Even with training, some won’t be able to overcome their fears. Dogs with a particularly high prey or chase drive must have their obedience skills well in place before they pursue the sport (as they can easily become overstimulated), and overweight or older dogs should opt for special low-impact programs.
Probably the single most important factor in agility success is a strong owner-dog bond. In this sport, team work is the name of the game.