Agility, Jumping & Games
What Is Agility?
Agility is the FAST, FUN and EXCITING sport of a handler directing a dog around a course of obstacles to beat the clock. In competitions, the course is set by a judge with the aim of the handler having the dog complete the course within a time and with no faults. Dog Agility is a team sport where a person and a dog form a team. A team sport where you are in charge of the strategy and your dog is responsible for the athleticism.
The course will consist of various jumps, tunnels, elevated walks, weave poles, and A-Frame, and a see-saw of which must be completed in the correct manner. The aim is to find the balance between the control of the dog and the speed of the performance.
Scoring is based on faults, similar to equestrian show jumping. A dog that completes the obstacles correctly within the set time will earn a Clear Round. Dogs earn titles when they achieve a set number of clear rounds.
Who Can Do Agility?
Anyone who loves playing with their dog can do agility – Agility is not restricted to age or mobility! Handlers can be children or the older generation, and even some mobility aides are accepted too.
Agility, and its companion activity, jumping are structured for dog owners with all levels of skill and physical ability and provide the opportunity to attain more enjoyment from dog ownership.
During actual agility and jumping trials there are several levels of competition ranging from novice level to suit dogs new to the sport to master level for more experienced dogs. There are also jumping competitions at the basic level that include only jumps and tunnels which gives the opportunity for dog owners to join in the fun of trials soon after they begin teaching their dog the sport.
What Are the Benefits?
Participation in agility training or trialling is great fun. It enables you to provide a release for the energy of your pet and yourself in a way that can be much more interesting and exciting than simply taking your dog for a walk. It helps your family pet to become more responsive to you and also helps you to gain more control and have a more obedient dog. Agility is an exciting way to enhance your leisure time with your dog.
Can I compete in Agility and receive awards?
Competitions are held at state and national levels and are structured in a similar manner to equestrian events. The judge designs and sets up the ‘obstacle course’, measures its length and after considering the degree of difficulty calculates a standard time in which the course should be completed by the dog. Each competing dog has to run the course within the set time, negotiate all the obstacles in the correct order and correct manner in order to avoid receiving course or time penalties.
How Can I Get Involved?
Most dog clubs or training schools will provide agility lessons for dogs over 6 months of age. Attending an Agility trial or volunteering to help is a wonderful way to attain an understanding of the sport too. Dog Agility does not have to be a competitive sport. It’s a great way for owners and pets to get regular exercise as it stimulates dogs mentally and physically. It is also a great way to met new friends and like-minded people.