Do you have or do you know someone who has a very smart, high-energy dog? Have you ever watched the dog agility courses on television and thought your dog would excel at a course like that? I’ve always been a huge advocate for exercising your pet’s mind as well as his body, and as I’ve learned more about agility training for dogs, I’ve seen that it does just that. Agility training is a wonderful activity for both you and your dog to enjoy. After learning the skills, you have the option to compete—however, your dog doesn’t have to compete to gain all the immense benefits from this activity. With agility training, your dog learns to navigate through a series of obstacles and, in the process, he gains confidence, learns to think and follow direction, learns how to utilize his body in different ways (body awareness), gets to burn off some excess energy, and has a great deal of fun at the same time. This exercise helps build a strong bond between dog and owner, as you both learn together.
Living in pet-friendly San Diego, I figured there had to be multiple locations providing agility training for dogs. After doing some research and visiting a few locations myself, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite locations to try out this unique experience.
Agility Club of San Diego
This dog agility training center is a non-profit organization that promotes dog agility throughout San Diego County, but especially for South County residents. The agility club is located centrally in El Cajon. They provide a variety of classes at all levels and welcome dogs of all breeds. They also host the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Canine Performance Events (CPE) trials, which draw competitors from all over Southern California. They offer three course levels: pre-agility, beginner, and intermediate/advanced. Each is taught hands-on with an instructor. All dogs must be evaluated before starting class. Courses typically run about 6 weeks, and prices may vary but are generally about $80 for a 6-week course. agilityclubofsandiego.org
For residents of North San Diego County, look no further. Performance Dog Training serves residents of Solana Beach, La Jolla, Del Mar, and all surrounding North County cities. Performance Dog Training is operated solely by Dan Roy (owner) and focuses on all aspects of your dog’s life, starting with puppy training, moving on to obedience and behavioral training, and then to agility training. Whatever phase of life your dog is in, Performance Dog Training has classes suited to your dog’s needs. The company typically will visit your home, so if you’re looking for one-on-one, in-home training, Performance Dog Training is a great match. Performance Dog Training requires a behavioral evaluation before your dog can enroll in classes, to ensure they are placed in the appropriate class for their skills/behavior level. The company is affiliated with the ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America), CPE (Canine Performance Events), and NADAC (North American Dog Agility Counsel).
Your dog doesn’t have to compete to gain all the immense benefits from agility training.
Another top-rated North County stand-out for training and agility is a facility located in Escondido: Dog Quest. While Dog Quest offers a variety of classes and training for your dog, agility has always been its foundation. It offers classes throughout the week for all levels of dog training experience, ranging from “fast track” (for dogs new to agility), all the way up to advanced, specialized toplevel agility training for dogs. All dog agility classes are taught by Anne Platt, a nationally recognized top dog agility trainer. dogquestagility.com
Happy Dog Happy Owner
This location really stood out to me, because they offer something I hadn’t come across yet—dog water sports training! These training classes range from learning to doggie paddle, to retrieving in the water, to paddle boarding with your dog! Living in San Diego, what could be cooler? Happy Dog Happy Owner is a San Diego-based dog training company, and their mission is to ensure that you and your dog achieve your training goals. Whether your goals are related to basic manners, dog sports, obedience, or severe behavior issues, this company has the expertise to help. An important component of the classes offered at Happy Dog Happy Owner is teaching you how to communicate with and train your dog. Class sizes are limited, guaranteeing that you and your dog receive plenty of individual attention. They use positive reinforcement and training techniques that ensure the training is productive yet still fun for both owner and pet. happydoghappyowner.com
Pawtopia Dog Training
Colleen Demling, founder of Pawtopia, has more than 27,500 hours and 16 years of hands-on dog training experience, as well as vast experience in a variety of methodologies. Colleen is a CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA and an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. She also offers something unique: she is one of only two certified members of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) in San Diego County. While the IAABC does not focus solely on agility training, they do offer a “fun with agility” course to get your dog familiar and trained on several obstacles.
Whether you’re looking to have the next top canine athlete or simply looking for some basic training for your dog, San Diego has several options that will help you find the classes you’re looking for. Basic training and agility are both known to promote the mental well-being of your pet, and they both provide a way for you to enhance the bond between you and your dog. pawtopia.com