One of my favorite activities is dog agility, it keeps you fit and makes you feel good picking up those trophies at the end of each competition.
Dog agility training is somewhat harder than other training options, but I find it the most fun. Firstly if you haven’t heard of dog agility it is a sport for dogs and owners. It is extremely popular in the UK and now there are reports of it happening in the USA and down under in Australia. It comprises of a main event, of which there are lots of different courses for your dog to run. In the courses there is a set number of obstacles. 26 is the average. Your dog has to complete the course without getting any faults in the quickest time to win. Sounds easy? Think again.
There are certain obstacles included in the course which need much training to master. There are two different types of courses, there are jumping and there are agility courses. Jumping courses are exactly what it says on the box, they are courses full of obstacles which your dog is to jump over, things like jumps (two stands which face each other that hold a pole, the pole stand is around 4ft high) which your dog has to clear without knocking the pole down, there are weaves (the weave is a straight line of poles. They can be 6,8,or 12 poles in length, your dog must weave through this) which your dog must not come out of before the end. In agility courses there are contact points on obstacles which your dog must touch with their paws. This requires a lot of dog agility training.
To run your dog in a show you must be registered with the Scottish Kennel Club (SKC) (or the AKC, the American Kennel Club if you are from the USA) and be part of an agility club. The members of these clubs meet up once or twice a week and train together, they set up practice courses, or just do certain obstacles their dog needs practicing on.
Dog agility training is not allowed in a club before your dog is one year old. Most agility enthusiasts have some equipment at home so they can start their dog from as young as six weeks, of course the poles from the jumps lay on the ground, and they don’t make their dog do anything dangerous. There are companies such as Jax which make obstacles and also training obstacles.
A lot of dog agility training must be done before you enter your first show. Your dog must be able to run a full course.
Forgive me for making dog agility sound like hard gruelling work, not the fun it really is. It is spectacular. The people, the atmosphere, the fun! The dog agility training is just what you have to endure to get there!