Can Labrador Dogs Do Agility?
The short answer: Yes!
Labrador retrievers are known for their speed and agility. They have been used in many different types of sports, including track and field events, which require high levels of speed and quickness. A few years ago there was a great deal of interest in using them as agility dogs because they were so good at tracking down small objects such as coins or pieces of cheese hidden under piles of trash.
In addition, some agility clubs now use them as search and rescue dogs. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes two breeds of agility dogs: the standard poodle and the golden retriever. These two breeds are considered “working” because they must perform tasks such as retrieving lost items from a dangerous situation or performing other work requiring strength, endurance, speed and coordination.
The working characteristics of these two breeds make them ideal for agility competitions. However, the working nature of these two breeds means that they cannot do all the tricks and activities that agility competitors need to accomplish. Therefore, it’s possible to compete with a working dog but not necessarily with one of those two types of dogs.
You may be able to win a competition with a working dog but lose if you enter into an event where agility is involved.
Can Smaller Dogs Do Agility?
Yes, there are several smaller breeds that can do agility. For example, the border collie is a herding dog breed that is known for its speed and endurance. It can thus easily complete an agility course. The nervous nature of these types of dogs also make them suitable for this activity because you’ll have to move quickly when running through an agility course. The border collie is a natural choice for people who want to run an agility event.
Another smaller dog that is suitable for agility is the Jack Russell terrier. These dogs have a reputation of being very high energy, making them ideal for running an agility course. They can also be very energetic and not so suitable as pets if they are bored.
The Jack Russell Terrier should only be trained by owners who have plenty of time to put into the training process. They can also be very stubborn and refuse to do what you want if you’re not firm enough with them.
We hope that this article has proved useful in answering the question of whether or not dogs can do agility. In addition, we hope that you now have a better idea of which dog is best for your training needs. Good luck in finding your new pooch!
Labrador Retriever Agility Training
The Labrador Retriever, often simply called a “Lab”, is a gundog and one of several kinds of retrievers. It is the most popular breed of dog in the USA, and their popularity elsewhere of course makes them extremely sought after. As with all breeds, they have certain characteristics that make them ideal for certain tasks, and others that don’t.
Labrador Retrievers are ideal for a lot of things, but not all. Obviously their name suggests that they are retrievers, but they also tend to be used as guide dogs, therapy dogs, and more recently, as bomb and drug sniffing dogs.
But what about agility?
Many people love the idea of doing obedience with their dogs, or even herding, but if you’ve ever seen agility competitions, it certainly looks like a lot of fun! However, people often wonder if Labradors can do agility. If you’ve got a hyperactive Labrador, or a very large and perhaps clumsy one, then this might not be the hobby for you. However, if your dog meets the right profile, he could thrive.
The Labrador Retriever was bred to retrieve objects for hunters, and as such they have extremely flexible bodies that are designed to twist and turn in small areas, along with having great stamina and endurance. If your dog shows these kinds of traits, then he could have all the makings of a great agility dog. It also helps if he is relatively well-behaved around distractions and people in general.
So dogs that may not be suited for agility training include giant breeds that are very clumsy, such as Newfoundlands and Mastiffs as they don’t have the flexibility to do the obstacles, nor the necessary endurance to complete the training sessions.
However, if you’ve got a smaller dog, then it’s certainly worth taking him to an agility training class to see how he gets on. If he seems to have a lot of energy and is quite acrobatic then the class might be perfect for him. Make sure you speak to the instructor before the first class so that they can help you choose the right class for your dog.
Caring for your Labrador Retriever
Beyond training your labrador retriever it’s also important that you care for him properly. This means feeding him high quality food, giving him plenty of clean water and taking him to the vet when necessary. All of these things are important for a dog’s health and well-being but they are especially important for a dog that is undergoing training.
Feeding your labrador retriever
What you feed your dog is very important. Many people think that the brand of food doesn’t matter but this isn’t true. Some foods are better than others.
You want to look for a food that has good sources of protein and fat. Both of these are necessary for your dog’s health and well being and both can help him to have the energy he needs to learn new commands.
You also want to avoid any food that uses filler in the ingredients. These are carbohydrates and other substances that don’t offer any nutrition to your dog and serve only to make the food cheaper to produce. Foods like this can actually make your dog’s stools very soft or even runny, which can be dangerous for his health.
Give your dog a good amount of food to eat every day. You should check the label on the back of the food to see how much you should be feeding him, however, you usually have some wiggle room. It’s best to not to overfeed your dog though as this can lead to health problems like pancreatitis.
Have plenty of fresh water available to your dog at all times, especially if he’s active. Again, look at the label on the back of his food to see how much water you should be giving him with his food but also remember that he should always have plenty of fresh water available to him whether he’s just eaten or not.
Taking your labrador retriever to the vet
Taking your dog to the vet every now and then is very important. This is especially true if you want to do some serious training with him such as obedience training. In fact, taking your dog to the vet before you start any kind of training is a good idea.
The vet will be able to tell you everything is okay with your dog and offer advice on how to care for him.
It’s possible that the vet will say your dog should stay on his current food for a while since changing his food suddenly can cause stomach problems. This is especially true if your dog is already on the older side. If you want to change his food then you can do so gradually to avoid stomach problems.
The more regularly you take your dog to the vet, the more the vet will get to know him and be able to spot potential health problems early on. This is especially important for older dogs who are more at risk of certain diseases that can affect their overall health.
A lot of people put off taking their dogs to the vet because it can get expensive, however, this isn’t a valid reason for not doing it. Making regular trips to the vet for your dog’s regular checkups can actually help you save money in the long run since it will mean that any potential health problems are caught early on and are easier and cheaper to treat.
Obedience training for your labrador retriever
Obedience training is one of the best things you can do for your dog. It can help to strengthen the bond between you and your dog as you take an active role in his education. This will also help with house training as he learns that sitting means he’s going to get a treat and laying down means he’s going to get a treat.
Obedience training is especially important for a dog like a labrador because it can mean the difference between your dog being an asset or a liability when you’re out in public. Having a well-trained lab means that you won’t always be yanking on his leash whenever there’s something he might want to go check out. It also means that he won’t be running straight for anything that catches his eye, which is especially important if its something he shouldn’t be eating or something that might scare him.
You can start obedience training your lab when he’s a puppy but it’s never too late to start even if your dog is already grown. In fact, older dogs can sometimes be harder to train simply because they’ve gotten used to certain behaviors over the years.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Hematologic and biochemical changes during canine agility competitions (S Rovira, A Muñoz, M Benito – Veterinary Clinical Pathology, 2007 – Wiley Online Library)
- Ontogenetic effects on gazing behaviour: a case study of kennel dogs (Labrador Retrievers) in the impossible task paradigm (R Anderson, G Labradors)
- Exercise induced collapse in Labrador retrievers (B D’Aniello, A Scandurra – Animal Cognition, 2016 – Springer)