Pet owners come up with so many creative ways to have fun with their pets. Agility is just one of them. Whether dog, cat, or rabbit, your pet will enjoy leaping, jumping, and running around, especially if you join him.
Perhaps pet agility had its beginnings in equine steeplechase which began in the 1700s, in Ireland. Horses had to be able to run, jump, wade through water and otherwise maneuver cross country in the fox chase. Patterned after equine steeplechase, dog agility was born in 1978 as entertainment at the Crufts Dog Show in England. Since then mixed breeds, as well as purebreds, have been leaping hurdles and negotiating tunnels, weave poles, A-frames, and teeter totters. It wasn’t long before cats and rabbits got in on the fun as well. Contrary to what most people think, both cats and rabbits can be cooperative and trainable.
Have a veterinarian check your pet first to make sure he is up to the rigors of the sport. While you’re there, inquire about local clubs. If there are none nearby, you can still set up your own simple obstacle course and invite other pet owners who are interested in trying something new. Find a pattern on the Internet or be creative. Most pets work on leash at first, becoming more reliable off leash with a little practice. For dogs, basic obedience is helpful. Remember that collars are not safe for cats and rabbits. Use a harness instead for them. Cat owners can encourage their kitties through hoops, under tables and over chairs, using a lure. Patience and lots of food lures work best with rabbits. Training tips for dogs, cats and rabbits can be found on the Internet. Some pet owners train seriously for competition and others participate just for fun.
Being active comes natural to animals and you’ll be surprised how quickly your pets catch on. They will have so much fun they will forget they are learning commands. You’ll have so much fun you’ll forget you’re strengthening your bond and reaping health benefits at the same time.