You want to start dog agility, but you’re not sure if it would be good for your chihuahua. You might be wondering if agility is the right sport for your chihuahua or if you should try something else.
Yes, is the short answer. Chihuahuas do well with agility. Agility training can be very helpful for your dog as long as you are patient and give him lots of treats.
Let’s look at some of the different reasons why agility is good for dogs.
What dogs are able to do agility?
All healthy adult chihuahuas can do agility. Since it’s an athletic activity, chihuahuas who are sick or have just been hurt shouldn’t do it. You should also start out slowly with your young chihuahua puppies. They can start learning agility early on, but they shouldn’t finish a full course until they are 12 to 18 months old.
Herding dog breeds such as Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Shelties tend to be “ancient” agility dogs. But dogs of other breeds can also enjoy and do well at agility. This sport is fun for all kinds of dogs, like Golden Retrievers, Cavachons, Pitbulls, and chihuahuas.
Is agility training good for my chihuahua?
Agility training is very helpful for many dogs (including chihuahuas) with behavior problems. Let’s take a look at some common behavior issues and how agility can help:
When your chihuahua is a High-energy dog
Chihuahuas tend t be very energetic, it might be hard to give them a way to use up all their energy. This is true not only for physical activities but also for mental ones as well! Dogs that are always on edge do best when they have both physical and mental games to play.
With agility, your chihuahua can do both! On the one hand, it’s a sport that requires your dog to run fast, jump high, and turn sharply. On the other hand, it also requires your dog to pay attention and think, since he has to follow your directions about where to go and how to do certain moves.
When chihuahuas do both physical and mental work, they get very tired. It also mimics the work a working dog would do.
If your chihuahua is anxious
Chihuahuas that are nervous and anxious can benefit a lot from practicing agility on a regular basis. Most of the time, these dogs get stressed because they don’t know what will happen next. They get scared when they don’t know what to expect, but they feel better when they do. Your nervous chihuahua probably does best with routines and things that he does over and over again.
Agility is great for them. Chihuahuas learn the game quickly and like to do it again and again. Agility can make them feel safe because they know exactly what to do and that they’ll get something good in the end.
Agility is a great thing for dogs like these.
When your chihuahua lacks focus
Do you have a chihuahua that would rather play than pay attention to you during training classes? Some chihuahuas, especially puppies, have too much energy to be able to sit still and do well in group classes.
If your chihuahua moves a lot, it can be hard for him to stop moving and just pay attention to you. Most of the time, these dogs don’t do well in a regular obedience class. People get upset and give up, and the chihuahua doesn’t learn much.
This kind of dog may need to learn how to be agile. Agility, on the other hand, isn’t so much about standing still as it is about paying attention while moving. This is just what chihuahuas who lack focus need. We don’t make the dogs stand still and pay attention, which is very hard for them. Instead, we make them run and pay attention, which fits their personalities much better.
Agility is a great thing for these dogs that can’t pay attention. After a little bit of agility training, they usually do much better in obedience classes as well.
How to make your chihuahua enjoy agility
You should follow a few rules if you want your dog’s agility training to be fun and safe. Let’s look at each one in more depth:
The most important thing, of course, is that your chihuahua doesn’t get hurt. Agility is a sport that comes with some risks, especially for small dogs. This risk can be kept to a minimum if you are smart and follow a few rules:
- Don’t let your chihuahua jump as high as he can until he’s done growing.
- Avoid using insecure hardware.
- Do not train on surfaces that are hard and slippery.
- If your chihuahua is tired, hurt, or limping, don’t train him.
- Always do a short routine to warm up and cool down.
- At least once or twice a week, give your chihuahua a break. No dog should do agility every day of his life.
- Don’t train your chihuahua in a place where there is more than one dog at a time. If several dogs are running around the same agility field at the same time, accidents will happen quickly.
- If your chihuahua was hurt recently and has been getting better, you should talk to your vet before you start agility training again.
Use lots of treats to train your chihuahua dog. Depending on what your pooch likes, these can be treats or toys. When your chihuahua does something good, give him a treat.
Almost all chihuahua owners who are new to agility make this mistake and don’t use enough treats and praise. If you want your chihuahua to work with you as a team on agility, you need to be a leader who has the courage and a positive approach. You can’t really give your dog too many treats, but you can give him too few.
Of course, you should never punish your chihuahua for making a mistake in agility. If you did that, it would be cruel to train your dog in agility. On the one hand, dogs don’t make mistakes on purpose; they just don’t know how to do it better. On the other hand, a lot of agility mistakes happen because the owner “messes up.” This is especially true if the owner handles the chihuahua wrong or doesn’t train him enough and the dog goes to the wrong obstacle or drops bars. Both of these things can be caused by the owner’s bad handling or lack of training.
How to make sure if agility is not good for your chihuahua
Every dog is unique, and we should treat them that way. If you realize that your chihuahua is very scared of agility, you should take it seriously. Some dogs that won’t jump because it hurts them, like those with hip dysplasia, don’t want to jump because it hurts them to jump. Other chihuahuas might have shoulder problems that haven’t been found yet, making it hard for them to run and jump over obstacles.
Notably, if your chihuahua is excited about training in general but not about agility, you should think that there might be a physical problem. In this situation, it’s not a good idea to keep training your dog in agility. He needs to be checked out by a vet. If it turns out that he can’t keep doing this sport, he can try out a lot of others.
Agility is a great sport for your chihuahua as long as he is healthy and in good shape. It can even help with different kinds of behavior problems. Make sure to only start full courses with chihuahuas that are done growing, and don’t put too much pressure on puppies too soon. To keep your chihuahua interested in agility for a long time, you should train him on safe equipment and soft ground and give him regular days off.
Accept agility like any other sport. try to find a good balance between activity and rest, and give your chihuahua a strong base of skills. So, agility will be good for him, and he can keep doing it for a long time.
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