Dog agility establishes emotional connections

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Dog agility establishes emotional connections

Ally Garten 9 leads one of the dogs she trains over a jump. The dog pictured is a Sheltie named Arrow.

Ally Garten 9 leads one of the dogs she trains over a jump. The dog pictured is a Sheltie named Arrow.

Ally Garten 9 leads one of the dogs she trains over a jump. The dog pictured is a Sheltie named Arrow.

Ally Garten 9 leads one of the dogs she trains over a jump. The dog pictured is a Sheltie named Arrow.

Gabriel Farrell, Ranger Review Reporter

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Dog agility is a competitive activity in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Ally Garten 9 is a professional dog agility trainer who often participates in competitions on the national level. “I’m on the world team and going to Switzerland to compete against other countries,” Garten said.

There are many different breeds of dogs that compete in these tournaments. Border Collies, Jack Russell Terriers, Australian Shepherds, and German Shepherds are just a few of these breeds. “I usually train Border Collies, but I am training a Sheltie named Arrow,” Garten said.

According to Primalvore.com, a website made for canine nutrition tips, “There isn’t just one kind of agility course. There are actually five different courses that dogs learn to do including standard, gamblers, snooker, jumpers and jumpers with weaves.”  

The dogs start practicing going through tunnels and jumps on-leash to get the feel of the obstacles. Once the dog is comfortable the dog starts off-leash training.

Getting frustrated with the dog is normal according to training-dogs.com because dogs will be dogs and they won’t listen sometimes. The trainer has to keep a positive attitude to win and have the patience with the dog.

“It’s my responsibility if we win or not because I give commands to the dog. Sometimes the dogs are bad and when I tell it to take a jump it will take a tunnel,” Garten said.

According to Primalvore, agility competitions usually have a very large amount of spectators. Each race is set up in a 100-foot by 100-foot area. The human and their dog are judged based on how fast the course is completed. There are a few reasons a dog can be given point deductions. Some deductions are for missing an obstacle, veering off course, knocking down a pole, or missing a contact zone.

Dog agility started in the late 1970’s in the united kingdom, and the competitions are now held all over the world. “Dog agility has connected me to the people across the world,” Garten said

According to Garten, the emotional connection between the dogs and the trainers is special.

“I was adopted by my Mom and she got me into dog agility which brought us super close together and started training dogs at the age of 2 months,” Garten said. “And it seems like I get to raise the dogs how my mom raised me when being adopted.”

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