Dog agility is a favorite activity for many pet owners. It helps to keep you and your dog fit while giving a sense of accomplishment when you win trophies at competitions. Dog agility training offers more challenges than other types of training, but it also brings more fun. This sport is designed for your dog and you. It is very popular in the United Kingdom and in the United States while it is gaining popularity in Australia.
The contests include a main event where your dog runs many different courses. Each course has a set number of obstacles, with 26 being the average. The dog that is quickest to complete the course without faults is declared the winner at the end of the day. While that may sound easy, it is more difficult than you think.
Some of the obstacles that you find in the course require much training for your dog to master. You will find two types of races in agility courses, one that involves jumping while the other focuses more on agility. In the jumping courses, you will find obstacles that require your dog to jump over objects, such as jumps, which look like a pole vault goal and challenge the dog to jump approximately 4 feet to pass without knocking the pole of the posts. Weaves are lines of straight poles, that range from 6 to 12 poles long and require your dog to weave through the poles before exiting at the end of the course. The agility courses include contact points on the obstacle and your dog is not allowed to touch. Success in the sport requires a significant amount of agility training for your dog.
Be aware of the requirements if you think you are interested in entering your dog in agility trials. The animal must be registered with the appropriate kennel club for your location, the SKC for the UK or the AKC for the USA as well as the agility club that sponsors the trials you want to enter. Members of agility clubs meet one or two times weekly for training, set up practice courses or select obstacles for which their dogs need practice.
Clubs do not allow you to train puppies in their meetings until they reach one year of age. However, many agility enthusiasts purchase some equipment for home use and start their puppies at a young age, some as early as 6 weeks. If you choose to start early, do not make the dog do dangerous tricks. You can purchase equipment from Jax, one of the manufacturers of obstacles for agility training.
You do need to plan on some training before entering the first show. Dogs need to be able to complete the course before you enter them.
While dog agility is a lot of work, it results in a lot of fun. You get to meet a lot of people with similar interests and compete in a fun atmosphere.