Dog Agility

dog agility

What is Dog Agility?
Dog agility is a canine sport where handlers direct dogs through various obstacle courses in a race for both accuracy and time. Dogs run off-leash without toys, rewards, or food as incentives. The handler cannot touch the dog or the obstacles.

 

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What are the requirements?
Dog agility courses utilize obstacles that meet designated criteria to assure safety and essential uniformity of the prescribed challenges of the sport. Common obstacles include:

  • One flat table
  • One tire jump
  • Set of 10 to 12 weave poles
  • Three winged hurdles, including one spread hurdle
  • One pipe tunnel, two tunnels, and one collapsible tunnel
  • Three contact obstacles, including a see-saw, dog walk, and A-frame

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Can any dog breed train for it?
Any dog can train for agility. Your dog must be at least one-year-old to compete, but you can begin training your puppy much earlier. All breeds can learn agility, although some require more patience than others depending on what motivates them.

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Are there agility clubs?
Agility clubs assist with training and preparation for competition in agility events and are available nationwide. Some of the top agility clubs include:

  • North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC)
  • American Kennel Club (AKC) Agility Invitational
  • Canine Performance Events (CPE)
  • Parkersburg Obedience Training Club (POTC)
  • Skyline Agility Club

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Is there dog agility certification?
The United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) offers three competitive programs for the dog agility enthusiast:

  • Championship, which is competition following exact rules for competition
  • Performance, where dogs compete without the more rigorous physical demands
  • Junior Handler, for school-age children and their pets, with emphasis on learning the fundamentals of responsible pet ownership and team camaraderie

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Does it cost to compete in the sport?
The price of agility classes guided by a skilled instructor will vary depending on where you live. Competing in the sport typically requires a $25 registration fee, and some competitions charge per event.

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How is it scored?
The competitor who ends up with the least total penalties is the winner. The three primary methods for scoring classes in dog agility include:

  • Standard, the preferred method for scoring
  • Time-Plus-Faults, which emphasizes speed
  • Point-basis, utilized in performances of obstacles

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How do I get started?
Find an agility club in your area so that you can explore dog agility first-hand. You may also like to attend an agility demonstration or test scheduled in your city. Scanning the USDAA Official Rules and Regulations will also provide valuable information in further describing the programs and philosophies the USDAA offers.
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