Dog agility is an exciting dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles. Dog agility is a great team sport for you and your dog and is especially useful for establishing confidence in dogs. Dog agility is also fun for both handlers and spectators, and the agility training necessary to compete will help strengthen the trust between you and your dog.
Dog agility has been recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and is open to any breed. Any dog that is over 12 months old may take part in competitions. Agility is a fast action sport that tests the handler's ability to quickly communicate with their dog as well as their dog's willingness to comply with speed and accuracy. In an agility course, while being timed, a dog may be asked to handle such obstacles as running through open and closed tunnels, jumping a variety of hurdles, running a narrow bridge, walking up and down a seesaw, weaving through a straight line of poles, and jumping up on a pause table. Obstacle heights are adjusted depending upon the measurements of each competing dog in order to make agility competition fair to dogs of all sizes.
Dog Agility Obstacles
The following is a list of obstacles that a dog will learn to negotiate for an agility course:
"I waited for a long time for Monica to start teaching agility classes (over a year). There aren't many quality instructors/facilities in my area and I knew that Monica competed in agility and I knew her style of teaching would be good for my Dalmatian since she owned two of her own, she knew the breed well. That was important to me. After taking two sessions with her and now about to begin my third, I am very glad I waited. Monica's classes are calm, quiet and taught in a positive manner (which is very important with Dals, especially my rescue girl)! She teaches the basics, building on that instead of jumping ahead, which may result in the dogs being fearful of a certain apparatus and always having trouble in that area. She starts small and works up from there. I highly recommend her classes to people. In fact, I have to four of my friends who are also in my class!"
— Dana H., Vernon Hills, IL