Dog Agility is a sport open to all dogs, it is the fastest growing of the dog sports and most breeds, from Toys like a Chihuahua to Giant Breeds, like a Great Dane, could be suitable for agility.
Agility is fun sport for dogs and handlers to get fit together. Dogs are required to learn fun obstacles such as hoops, tunnels, weaving poles, scramble, dog walk, table, see saw and jumps.
Obstacle jump heights are suited to the dogs, jumps at 200 mm, 300mm, 400mm, 500 mm or 600mm based on the height of the dog at the withers.
Be aware that a few breeds may not be suitable for agility and it may be advisable they become spectators rather than participants. It is also advisable not to train overweight dogs or dogs with joint problems without consulting your vet first.
Agility training is specialized and offered by select affiliated Clubs. Agility training is through Agility Clubs (specialist) and then some of the Obedience and Training Clubs offer classes as well. Some affiliated Clubs require dogs to have completed basic obedience training before agility training can commence. Other Clubs will train dogs without any prior obedience training.
Puppies could start from eight months of age when their joints and bodies are fully developed. Fit adult dogs can commence training at any age.
Some handlers and dogs may only decide to come to training for the fun of it all… while the serious teams can move into the competition arena at 18 months of age.
Agility was originally developed from equestrian show jumping.
The aim of this competition is for a handler to direct their dog around a course of different obstacles to assess and enhance their intelligence and ability. It is an educational and sporting activity intended to improve the dog's integration into society.
Dog Agility competitions are held around Australia and the World. Most weekends Agility Trials happen and offer classes of the various levels of difficulty from Novice to Masters. Courses are set by the Agility Judges and no two courses are ever the same.
Competitions for Agility, Jumping and Agility Games include Novice, Excellent and Master classes. In Agility and Jumping there is also an Open Class which all the dogs compete against each other not just their height category. The Agility Games classes test the handler's strategic skills in classes of Snooker, Gamblers and Strategic Pairs.
A ‘clear round' must be obtained to receive a “Qualification” which is no time faults or course faults recorded on the course. As qualifications are gained “Titles” are awarded and the dog will progress to the next higher class, Novice to Excellent and then Master. The highest level of achievement is Agility Champion.
If you are interested in becoming fitter and wish to train your dog in agility or participate in agility trials, please contact your closest affiliated Agility Club or Training Club they will be pleased to assist you.
For all rules relating to Agility please view the ANKC website.
Photos compliments of Canine Fun Sports
(Ref: Qld Dog World Magazine - January 2021)