Dog agility has become a popular sport not just for the competition but also for the bonding experience it develops between the dog and owner. To strengthen the bond and save money, many owners choose to train their dogs in agility on their own with the aid of books.
What are the best dog Agility training books? Over the years, many books have made their way to market. They cover everything from Beginner Agility Training to Advance Obstacle Training. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the Top 15 Dog Agility Books.
- The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility – by Laurie Leach
- Having Fun with Agility – by Margaret H. Bonham
- Agility Right From the Start: The Ultimate Training Guide to America’s Fastest Growing Dog Sport – by Karen Pryor
- The Intermediate’s Guide to Dog Agility: Take Your Game to the Next Level – by Laurie Leach
- Agility Training for you and Your Dog: From Backyard Fun to High-Performance Training – by Ali and Joe Canova
- Learn Dog Agility Techniques of Champions: Have More Fun! – by Philip Seyer
- Dog Sports Skills, Book 1 – by Deborah Jones and Denise Fenzie
- Dog Sports Skills, Book 2: Motivation – by Deborah Jones and Denise Fenzie
- Dog Sports Skills, Book 3: Play – by Deborah Jones and Denise Fenzie
- Flatwork: Foundation for Agility – by Barb Levenson
- The Rally Course Book: AKC Novice Through Master – by Janice Dearth
- Excelling at Dog Agility – Book 1: Obstacle Training – by Jane Simmons
- Excelling at Dog Agility – Book 2: Sequence Training – by Jane Simmons
- Excelling at Dog Agility – Book 3: Advanced Skills Training – by Jane Simmons
- Dog Agility Equipment Construction Instructions – by Ann Embry
Table of Contents
1. The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility – by Laurie Leach
If you only have one dog agility training book, many feel it should be this award-winning, bestseller book. Laurie believes training should be fun and gives ideas on how dog owners can successfully teach their dog everything from simple obedience to dog agility tricks while also strengthening the dog/owner bond. She also gives tips on making your own agility training equipment. The book gives tips on correction-free training, clicker training and getting them ready to compete. This book is the first of a two-part set.
2. Having Fun with Agility – by Margaret H. Bonham
This book is just what the title implies. It focuses on how to make agility training not just a positive thing for the dog but fun activity. Dog owners who have difficulty enforcing rigid rules should find this book to be very helpful. It helps owners learn how to work with their dogs using positive methods, whether the dog is a Poodle or a Great Dane. This book is a down-to-earth and practical resource that focuses on mastering the basics of obedience and agility while having fun doing so.
3. Agility Right From the Start: The Ultimate Training Guide to America’s Fastest Growing Dog Sport – by Eva Bertilsson and Emelie Johnson
This big book covers everything from the foundation skills needed for agility to the actual competitions with step-by-step instructions. Readers learn the importance of getting the dog ready for agility, including teaching obedience, developing confidence and getting the dog to love the obstacles. It also gives tips on preparing the dog for agility while still a pup. While the book is geared towards dog owners who want to enter the dogs into agility trials, it also offers tips for those who just want to build a great dog/owner relationship without competing.
4. The Intermediate’s Guide to Dog Agility: Take Your Game to the Next Level – by Laurie Leach
This sequel to Laurie Leach’s first book is for the dog owner who has mastered obedience and agility training and is ready to go to the next level. The book features step-by-step instructions on various intermediate skills required to compete successfully in agility. Readers get detailed instructions along with more than 200 photographs and maps. It covers topics like reward-based training, using signals and body language and performing specific skills like shoulder pulls, lateral distance and speed changes. This book is for the more serious agility competitor.
5. Agility Training for you and Your Dog: From Backyard Fun to High-Performance Training – by Ali & Joe Canova
This book, written by two of America’s top agility competitors, is based on their positive training methods. It’s an ideal book for dog owners just getting started in agility. It offers various visual aids, including color photographs, course illustrations and step-by-step diagrams. Readers learn various proven training methods, whether you’re doing agility for fun or for competition. It teaches how to develop a strong bond between the dog and its owner. The book also focuses on how to use comforting communication with the dog to encourage the dog to perform safely, quickly and with complete confidence.
6. Learn Dog Agility Techniques of Champions: Have More Fun! – by Philip Seyer
Philip Seyer, the author of this self-teaching book, has been not only an award-winning instructor and writer for more than 40 years but also a successful AKC Nationals competitor. The book walks readers through each technique and method of training while explaining his reasoning behind the methods. It offers help in teaching 19 dog agility techniques, including the German turn, front cross, verbal directional cues, reverse spin, blind cross, and the canine arrow, among others.
7. Dog Sports Skills, Book 1 – by Deborah Jones and Denise Fenzie
This book is the first of an award-winning three-part series. It focuses on building a good dog/owner relationship, which is the first step towards successful agility competitions. This author believes that a dog’s breed or bad temperament should not deter a dog from being successfully trained and competitive. It shows how to develop a relationship in a comfortable and stress-free atmosphere. Whether the dog owner wants a well-behaved dog at home or wants to be a serious agility competitor, this book covers it all. It explains and illustrates how trick training can be used to develop a dog’s physical and mental flexibility.
8. Dog Sports Skills, Book 2: Motivation – by Deborah Jones and Denise Fenzie
This second book in the “Dog Sports Skills” focuses on motivation and what important role motivation plays in the dog’s success not just at agility trials but at home as well. It offers various ways to motivate the dog to get the desired results at the appropriate time. It also shows how to not just use motivators for training but how to slowly eliminate them from trains so the dog wants to compete without them. Readers also learn ways to analyze specific circumstances and how to best apply what they have learned into these situations.
9. Dog Sports Skills, Book 3: Play – by Deborah Jones and Denise Fenzie
This third book of the Dog Sports Skills series covers all areas of relationship building with your dog, including the role food plays in building a good owner/dog relationship. The book focuses a lot on how playing can not only bring enjoyment to the dog but can make the dog eager to compete to please its owner. It also explains how you can implement your dog’s natural instinct to play into successful training. This book helps readers understand the different types of play and how to identify each one.
10. Flatwork: Foundation for Agility – by Barb Levenson
This book doesn’t focus on the actual agility obstacles but about what takes place between the obstacles. It’s about developing communication between the dog and owner and maintaining the communication without the distraction of the agility obstacles. Owners learn how to make their body language consistent and clear so the dog can easily understand and respond. Since the dog spends more time away from the obstacles than actually doing the obstacles, this author feels away from the obstacles is where most of the training should take place.
11. The Rally Course Book: AKC Novice Through Master – by Janice Dearth
This book is slightly different from the typical dog agility training book because it’s for not just dog owners but also instructors and judges. It provides information on AKC rally course designs at all skill levels from novice through master. The book provides valuable information on judging, rules and rule changes, scoring, designing courses, practice, and teaching dogs. Individuals interested in joining the sport of dog agility should find this book very helpful.
12. Excelling at Dog Agility – Book 1: Obstacle Training – by Jane Simmons
This is a very easy-to-understand book that offers instructions on training your dog to safely and happily master every agility obstacle they’re given. It also includes various recipes for developing a happy and satisfying relationship with the dog while thoroughly understanding all that agility training entails. Readers are provided with diagrams and detailed illustrations on dog agility training. This book covers obstacle training on all professional agility equipment and goes over each obstacle in a step-by-step format while explaining the importance of starting at the beginning.
13. Excelling at Dog Agility – Book 2: Sequence Training – by Jane Simmons
This second book of the Excelling at Dog Agility three-part series teaches dog owners how to sequentially teach the dog each obstacle in order of importance until the dog reaches its highest potential for accuracy and speed. It teaches owners how to develop and use cues to communicate with the dog. Loaded with diagrams, pictures and sample exercises, this book helps to take the owner and dog from beginner to intermediate agility level. Other topics covered include turn sequences, distance circles, the importance of agility exercises, control commands, correcting problem areas and correction-free training.
14. Excelling at Dog Agility – Book 3: Advanced Skills Training – by Jane Simmons
This final book of the three-part series is as easy to read and understand as the first two. It offers help on how to successfully compete at the highest level of competition. Readers learn how to strengthen and maintain the dog’s skills for completing the performances required in the agility trials. Each chapter covers a specific area in agility that may need help. It even covers simple areas like how a dog can jump on a table without falling. Owners also learn about visual cues in the dog’s training. The book also has a helpful question and answer section.
15. Dog Agility Equipment Construction Instructions – by Ann Embry
This book is ideal for those who want to teach dog agility without spending tons of money on expensive equipment. It teaches how to build DIY training obstacles for your dog. This easy-to-understand book includes colored pictures and color-coded diagrams. Readers can see the projects in every stop of the building process right to completion. Readers have access to more than 15 construction plans and a shopping list of all needed materials. The obstacles detailed in this book require basic tools most people have in their homes.
Are there any good podcasts on Dog Agility?
With the way podcasts have increased in use and popularity, it comes as no surprise that dog agility training is also available on podcasts as well. Podcasts, which can be downloaded from the web, are a great way for dog owners to obtain ideas and learn about agility while they’re driving, relaxing at home or walking the dog. Here are two podcasts you can check out:
- Fenzi Dog Sports Podcast: Listen on Stitcher or iTunes
- Bad Dog Agility Podcast: Listen on Stitcher or iTunes
Are there any movies about the sport of Dog Agility?
There are several good dog agility movies and tons of great Agility clips on YouTube. A great family movie called My Dog The Champion hit the screens in 2013. It’s definitely worth checking out!
Dog Agility – A Fun Sport
Dog agility is as enjoyable for the dog as the owner, which might explain why it’s become one of the fastest growing dog sport the past few decades. It can be a big commitment but, with the help of agility training books, dog owners can take their dog to the next level and have a ball doing it!