November 2018 News from Belle Mead Animal Hospital
Agility Training for your Pets
If you are looking for a fun way to bond with your dog or cat and put his/her natural instincts to work, consider agility training!
Agility training has gained popularity as a canine and feline sport in which a “handler” directs a dog or cat through a variety of obstacles such as a tunnel, teeter-totter, weave poles and more. During competitive agility events, handlers attempt to navigate the pets through a course as quickly and as accurately as they can in order to win. Agility training benefits the pet and human in many ways:
1. Agility will fulfill your pet’s natural hunting instincts
Dogs and cats are natural hunters who enjoy chasing and running after a variety of prey. In the wild, they must navigate through a variety of barriers. Their natural instincts to hunt involve jumping, climbing, and squeezing through vegetation. Since the end goal is to catch up with prey, time is of the essence and the faster a dog or cat runs, the better their chances of ending up with a satisfying meal. Agility courses are designed to mimic these types of natural scenarios and fulfill the hunting and chasing instincts of your pet.
2. Agility provides exercise for you and your pet!
Agility is a great way to get rid of your pet’s excess energy. Pent up energy can result in unwanted behaviors such as aggression. Therefore, running through a course that involves passing over and through a variety of obstacles will challenge your pet’s mind and body. Agility training will help strengthen your pet’s muscles, improve coordination, and increase endurance. If you act as the handler, you will be running alongside your pet and assisting your cat or dog to get through the course while getting lots of exercise yourself, too!
4. Agility helps strengthen the bond between you and your pet
Agility courses are set up so that pets compete not alone but with their handler. As you help your pet to pass through agility obstacles, you will reinforce basic obedience commands and improve communication between you and your pet. Your pet’s behavior outside of the agility course will ultimately improve.
If you are looking for a canine agility trainer in our area, we can recommend The Complete K-9 located in Pittstown, New Jersey. The facility is owned and operated by Sherri Wilkes who has had dogs her entire life and has been training in agility for over 20 years. Be sure to visit her website to learn more.
Many cat shows, such as the Garden State Cat Show/Expo, offer a feline agility course where you can enter your cat to compete against others with a handler. But an easy way to build up to an event is to create a cat agility course at home! Petfinder offers How to Make Your Own Cat Agility Course. Start at home by visiting the link and see how far you can take it!
Are you the proud owner of an exotic companion mammal? There are even agility courses set up for rabbits, for example. You can find them at general pet shows, so don’t forget about your small pets and experiment at home. All pets benefit from exercise and agility while the bond they share with you is strengthened.
Belle Mead Animal Hospital, Your Other Family Doctors
Handling Every Pet with Love Every Day!
As Certified Fear Free Professionals, our Mission is to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them.