Agility is no longer just a sport for Border Collie & Co.
More and more small dogs are also conquering the training grounds. Whether large or small – many four-legged friends enjoy active dog sports. If you want to do agility with small dogs, you should pay attention to a few things, so that the four-legged friend does not suffer any health damage. Basically, even smaller dogs are allowed and should do dog sports – including agility. Even if I think that a dachshund, for example, because of its anatomy is not good on an agility course. The short, slightly curved legs and long back do not provide a basis for this type of sport.
These are the most important things you need to keep in mind if you want to practice agility responsibly with a small dog:
1. the suitable equipment and adapted obstacles
Basically, it is important that a small dog does not have to overcome the obstacles at the same height as, for example, a border collie. If you want to do agility with a smaller dog, make sure that the equipment is adapted to the size of your dog. There are even tunnels, hurdles and seesaws that are specially designed for agility with small dogs.
2. health check also for small dogs
Every dog should be checked before he starts with the sport. Although it is often the larger dogs that tend to be affected by hip and elbow dysplasia, you should also have a small dog thoroughly examined before going out on the course. It is important to know if there are musculoskeletal problems, because this means that certain sports will harm your dog.
3. reasonable training workload
Often our dogs seem tireless and the little dogs are incredibly lively. Nevertheless, the training is especially at the beginning strenuous for your dog and the stress and the demands on the dog’s body new and very demanding. Regular breaks and a slowly built up training are elementary for a healthy dog sport. The damage to the musculoskeletal system caused by overloading should not be underestimated.
4. grown up it trains better
Even with small dogs, it’s extremely important that you wait until he’s fully grown before you start dog sports. Otherwise, late effects such as joint diseases and herniated discs due to too early and incorrect loading can hardly be avoided.
5. not every small dog is suitable
Agility is not a problem for most small dog breeds. However, for some breeds, agility should be avoided in favor of health. This includes dogs with a very long back or very short, crooked legs, such as Dachshunds.
6. no matter big or small: WARM UP IS A MUST!
This point is particularly close to my heart. Again and again I see it that the dogs go from the car directly to the training ground without warming up first. The physical demands, such as tight turns, short stops, sprints, jumps, that agility entails make a warm up absolutely essential! You reduce the risk of injury enormously, make your dog more efficient because the body is prepared for the movements and you avoid long-term damage to the musculoskeletal system. Even if your dog is small and very little and lively, his body needs proper preparation for training! Here you can find out everything about WARM UP.
7. do not forget the cool down after the workout!
Again, even a small dog needs a cool down after exercise to aid in regeneration after exercise. HERE you can learn how it works!
PS: most of the points are of course also valid for all other dogs and are indispensable!