San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Dogs Get Agile in Santa Ana

Fido and Spot may enjoy fetching Frisbees and chasing tennis balls, but they’re really going to love agility training in a playground full of seesaws, hurdles, tunnels, ramps and weave poles.

Agility training for dogs was born in England in 1978 as an exhibition to entertain spectators between events at Crufts dog shows. In the mid-1980s, it was introduced to the United States, and now it’s taking off in Costa Rica.

The sport is equal-opportunity fun for both owner and pet. No pedigrees required. No prior experience necessary. And owners may be young or old, quick or slow, graceful or clumsy. However, a sense of humor is mandatory.

“The object of agility is for a handler to direct his or her dog over a timed obstacle course without the dog making a mistake, such as bumping a jump or missing a weave pole,” says Jory Freimann, owner of Pets’ Paradise agility training program, which is affiliated with the U.S. Dog Agility Association.

Freimann, owner of Pets’ Paradise Hotel and TrainingCenter in Heredia, north of San José, started a new agility program earlier this year in Santa Ana, southwest of the capital. Canine pets and their owners meet Saturdays at 2 p.m. at the Escuela de Equitación Yos Oy in Santa Ana Centro for training, exercise and fun.

The cost is $125 for an eight-week course. All classes are small, and all training is positive with the use of a rewards system, including food and toys, Freimann says.

“With this type of training, dogs are able to release their energy in constructive ways and learn to be under control and in super spirits,” Freimann says, adding that the owners benefit from partnership and teamwork with their pets.

For information, call 8381-8285 or 8871-7860, or e-mail

–Mary Chalker


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