Our Hovawarts have always enjoyed attending agility class, though we haven’t attended any agility competitions lately. That’s okay though. My main reason for doing agility with our dogs is to keep them mentally engaged in a fun, safe way. Anything else is just icing on the cake.
This particular exercise is fun for hovies of all ages, but I initially introduced it for our oldest hovi, Roxie. The lovely Roxie turned 12 at the end of April, so naturally we want to minimize any potential risks for injuries. When it comes to agility, that means removing the jumping portion. Doing so has allowed Roxie to continue her favorite activity safely.
Instead of bounding over jumps, Roxie does the “course” slalom style. She loves zigging and zagging her way across the yard. Fortunately her sends outs are rock solid, so I get to do a lot less running with her than with the younger dogs! The steps are basic, but here they are:
1. Set up multiple pairs of poles without a cross bar to create course in your yard. Be sure that there is enough space between each pair of poles for your dog to move easily between them.
2. Make it interesting! Vary the angles and approaches. Put in some turns. If you have a tunnel, include it in the course. You can also add in some obedience practice, such as a 5 second down-stay on an agility table before moving on to the next obstacle. If you don't have an agility table, why not use a welcome mat, a throw rug, or even a hulahoop laid flat on the grass instead? Whatever works!
Don't have agility jumps? Not to worry, there are many things that you can use to create the "jumps" on your course. For example, we use pairs of garden stakes to create Roxie's course. The stakes we prefer are 3 feet high yet are easy to move. Click here to see our DIY agility weave poles.