Can old dogs do agility?

Do you have an older dog, but would still like to give agility training a go? Elizabeth Kershaw offers her advice...

Q) I've just started taking my dogs to agility training for fun. One is seven and the other dog is nine - is it OK to do agility at their age? Is there any equipment that we should avoid? 

A) Elizabeth says: "A lot will depend on the fitness and breeds of your dogs. I remember having an older Beardie who took to agility aged nine, and because she was fit and agile, she really enjoyed doing agility for a couple of years until her eyesight changed and she found it difficult to judge heights and distances. If your older dogs have always been well-exercised and have good firm muscle tone and no injury problems they will enjoy agility.

"Play it by ear and be ready to stop agility if your old dogs show any signs of struggling with the obstacles. Above all keep agility as a fun activity and avoid any pressure that might cause stress."

Top agility tips

  • Find a local agility class that can teach you and your dog how to begin agility safely.
  • Visit the Kennel Club website to search for a KC-affiliated club or the Agility Net website for agility clubs near you.
  • Keep an eye open on walks for obstacles that could help with agility training - bollards to weave around, a fallen tree to walk along, or a branch to jump over/go under.
  • You don't need lots of agility equipment to start agility at home - simply grab a broom handle and a couple of flowerpots.