Dog Agility Training.


Dog agility training began in England in 1978, so is still a relatively young sport, it made it over in America by 1994, and is now the fastest growing dog sport event.


Dog agility training is the ultimate way for you and your dog to have fun together and therefore to increase your bonding as well as giving you both lots of exercise. As a spectator sport there is not much to better it, it is just so exciting, mainly because the dogs get so much fun out of it them-selves, the dogs fly around the course with their tails wagging ears flattened, and the occasional excited yap.


Dog agility training was originally designed by combining horse show jumping with different obstacles particular to dogs, each course is different and challenges the handler to find tricks and devices to steer the dog to the end of the course with as few a mistakes as possible, as there are penalties points for taking the wrong route, knocking down a jump or not touching certain points that are generally marked in red.


The dogs display there agility and capability of following the cues that their owners give to direct them through a timed course that has a variety of obstacles, that include weave poles, jumps, tunnels, see-saws A-frames and many more.


There are various classes and grades, so that you and your dog can compete at the level that suits you. There are classes for senior dogs, and even classes that exclude collies, as these are generally the best dogs at this type of sport.  By  excluding the collies it gives all other dogs a chance, not only of competing but of winning as well.


Classes are also divided into sizes; “Mini” classes are for dogs under 15 inches,

“Midi” classes are for dogs measuring more than 15 inches but less than17 inches.

“Standard “ classes are for any size dog, but the height of the jumps are generally too high for smaller dogs.


Class levels come in eight different levels varying from elementary through to championship.

Elementary;   For owners, handlers or dogs that have not acquired a 3rd or above in any licensed agility show.

Starters;  For owners, handlers or dogs that have won at a licensed show.

Novice;   Open to all dogs that cannot enter Advance or Senior classes.

Intermediate;  All dogs except those eligible for elementary  or starter classes.

Senior; Dogs  must have won 2 first prizes, starter and elementary excluded.

Advanced;  Dogs must have 4 wins at intermediate, senior or open agility.

Open;  Open to all dogs.

Champion; Dogs must have qualified to advanced status.


There are also special classes these will vary at each show, but a few to look out for;


Juniors;  generally divided to under12 years and over 12 years. May vary from show to show.

Veteran;  Open to dogs over 7 years of age, but this can vary. The jumps are usually lower and the weave poles may be spaced further apart.

Gamblers; each  obstacle has different points, and you have to gain highest no. points.

ABC;  anything but a collie

Pedigree dogs only;  in all classes of mini, midi, and standard

Proper dogs;  crossbreeds only, also in all class sizes.

Pairs; divided into many of the above classes.

TYOL;; take your own line, different at each show.

TFO;   time fault out, a simple course where you keep going until you make a mistake. You need to be fit!

Helpers  just for those who have given there time to the show.

Pay on the day;  Usually as practice runs or as small competitions.

Allsorts; any dog not entered in any other class.


 Are you interested in agility training?

 Your local area is bound to have an agility training school, ask at your local kennels, vets or look in your local paper. It is a great way to make new fiends, for you and your dog.

Every agility instructor will have different ways of teaching you how to teach your dog each obstacle, with incentives such as treats toys or praise. Providing you keep it fun agility is a great way for your dog to learn control. Before you attend an agility training school you must of course have the basic training skills, such as sit, down and stay. Most importantly your dog must come to call, he cannot be allowed to run out of control at any time, it would spoil it for all the other dogs and owners.


Should you be unlucky, and not have any agility training schools close to you, there are plenty of books and videos available, for you to teach your-self. All the  agility equipment you need is also readily available.


You are welcome to use this article written by Valerie Dancer, for your website or publication. Providing it is copied in it’s entirety, including the web site address, linking back to us.

Copyright 2006


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