Have you ever considered the idea of entering your Affenpinscher in competition, but the idea of having a "perfect" pet or having impeccable grooming techniques makes the idea overwhelming? Why not try agility competition? This sport is a great option for energetic Affenpinschers and is a great way for owners and their pets to exercise together and have fun while they're at it! In this article, we'll take a look at what agility competition is and why it might be a good idea for you and your Affenpinscher.
What is agility?
An agility competition takes place in an obstacle course. During the competition, the handler and the dog work together to find the best way to work through the obstacle course in a specific amount of time. The dog must go through the course without a leash, and the handler may not touch the dog or the obstacles, only giving direction with calls or signals, and without the aid of toys or treats. The course should be just difficult enough that the dog will be forced to rely on the handler for direction.
The basic obstacles included in an agility course are an A-frame, or two platforms hinged together that the dog must climb and descend on the other side, a dogwalk, a seesaw, a tunnel and a series of jumps.
Agility in competition began in the late 1970s in Great Britain and the first exhibitions in the sport in the United States were in the early 1980s. Today, it is recognized by the AKC and most major international associations.
Are Affenpinschers good at agility?
In a word, yes! Thanks to their high intelligence and their great energy, Affenpinschers are naturals at the obstacle course. Although Affenpinschers are often considered to be stubborn, they are in fact very eager to please and will enjoy spending time with their handlers training and playing on the obstacle course.
Training your Affenpinscher for Agility.
The most important thing to remember when training your Affenpinscher for agility competition is to have fun! This should be a great bonding time for you and your Affenpinscher, and any kind of negative reinforcement will only take the fun out for both of you. Remember to use lots of positive reinforcement such as toys, food, and keep the training sessions short so that the dog won't get bored and become resentful.
Starting your training should be as simple as making sure your Affenpinscher can follow some basic commands, including sit, down and stay, as well as an immediate response to the command "come," which will help keep the dog out of harms way. These sessions shouldn't last more than fifteen minutes at a time, at least three times a week. Remember to keep your tone light and your attitude positive, which will help make each training session fun. Also remember that every dog is different - don't get discouraged if your dog is having a difficult time picking up a certain command. Every dog learns at a different pace, so keep your attitude positive and keep trying!
Because agility is a growing sport, there are lots of training schools and associations available to help you along in you and your Affenpinscher's training. There are several associations that are active in the United States that provide training for agility, including the AKC, NADAC, USDAA and UKC. Find one in your area and sign up - it's a great way to progress in the sport and spend time with other like minded pet owners!