Dog Agility is an international sport. Direct your dog through an obstacle course in a race against the clock to measure accuracy and completion. Neither the dog nor obstacles can be touched by the handler. Consequently the handler’s controls are limited to voice, movement, and various body signals, requiring exceptional training of the animal and coordination of the handler.
The History of the Sport:
The sport’s roots can be traced back to the late 1970’s to a demonstration that was held at Crufts Dog Show in the United Kingdom. Dogs were required to run around a course designed similar to horse jumping courses during intermission as a way to entertain the audience. It has since spread rapidly around the world.
What is an Agility Course?
Agility courses consist of several standard obstacles laid out by a judge. All obstacles are staged by the judge in a specifically sized area. The surface may consist of grass, dirt, or a rubber like material. Depending on the type of competition, the obstacles may have a different order in which they must be completed.
Expectations of the Dog Handler:
In the beginning, courses can be a rather complicated task for your dog. For the dog to correctly complete a course without the direction and training of a handler, just aint gunna happen. In competitions, the dog handler must first observe the course, decide on the best strategies, and direct their dog. Precision and speed are equally important.
What are the Basic Obstacles of a Course?
An A-frame is 2 broad ramps hinged together and raised so that the hinged connection is above the ground, roughly forming an A shape.
The Dog walk is 3 planks that connect at the ends. The center plank is raised to above the ground; so that the other 2 end planks form ramps that lead up and down.
A Teeter-totter is a single plank that pivots on a fulcrum, much like the traditional seesaw. It is constructed off-balance so that the same end is always on the ground.
The Crossover is a square platform, with ramps that descend from 3 or 4 of its sides. The dog must ascend and descend the correct ramp while changing direction.
A Tunnel is a long vinyl tube, through which the dog runs. The tunnel is constructed of flexible vinyl and wire so that it can be set in a straight line or curvy.