A few safety measures
Here are a few things I would like to warn people about and get them to think about them, to either make sure they don’t ever do these things… or limit doing them and maybe just be more aware of potential hazards and risks.
Make sure your dog is fit for the task. An overweight dog should not be asked to jump, the same goes for a generally unfit dog.
When your dog has been off for a period of time whether it be a month or 3 months then bring it back to full height jumping gradually. Take a month or more slowly raising the poles and building fitness and muscle strength over that time. Also limit the amount of weaving in one session. Everything gradually.
Having a game of tug with your dog is an excellent way to interact with the dog while being rewarded by you and should be promoted. But a couple of things…
Some people swing the dog around on the tug and crack them like a whip up and down, this cannot be good for them. A game of tug is great but let the dog do more of the tugging rather than us. Also some breeds do not like tugging so please don’t force them.
One of the things I see many handlers doing is placing a toy at the bottom of a contact, like the dog walk, seesaw or worse still the A frame. A high-drive dog runs over the dog walk or A frame very fast and slams into the floor to grab the toy and almost does a handstand. Please do not train this way, the dog’s body cannot continuously take that pounding. There are better, safer ways to get that drive.
If your dog is injured or you even suspect something isn’t quite right then do not dose them up with painkillers and run them in agility. This will knock years off their career. The drug may mask the pain but you could be doing so much more damage running them whilst masking pain. They could even have an adverse reaction to the drug. If you love your dog then do not do this.
Make sure the toy when rewarding the dog cannot be swallowed, use a big enough toy for that particular dog.