By Deva Wilsong DogGoneFunAgility.com
Dog Agility began in the 1970’s as entertainment at the prestigious Crufts dog show in the United Kingdom. Due to the fast paced exciting nature of the sport, it became extremely popular. Today, thousands of people all around the world train and compete in dog agility as a fun activity to do with their dogs!
In dog agility Dogs and their Humans (referred to as a handler) complete timed obstacle courses. In these obstacle courses, handlers direct their dog around the designated obstacle course. Handlers use auditory & physical cues as the dogs run off leash without treats or toys in competitions. In every competition the layout of obstacles is different providing a unique challenge Every Single Time! Although the layout of the obstacle course changes, the obstacles are always the same and built to strict regulations to keep all the dogs safe! Dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds can train for and compete in dog agility. Agility offers many different classes, events, and jump heights to make sure it’s safe for everyone to participate!
What are the obstacles?!
The Dog Walk -> This long narrow plank requires the dogs to transverse across 3 different boards while maintaining perfect balance.
The A Frame -> This wide obstacle shaped like an “A” challenges the dogs to preform inclines and declines at a fast speed!
The Seesaw -> The seesaw or “teeter” tests the dog’s confidence, balance, and proprioception as the dogs run across this obstacle and the board tilts and moves to the ground!
The Weave Poles -> For the weave poles dogs snake around every pole always entering with the first pole on their left shoulder. This is one of the hardest obstacles to teach!
Pipe Tunnels -> Tunnels are typically the most fun obstacle! Dogs enter one side of the tunnel, run though the tubes as fast as possible, and exit on the other side!
Jumps -> Jumps make up 90% of most agility courses. Dogs are measured and put into different jump heights based on how tall they are at their shoulders. This helps to keep the dogs jumping a safe height and to keep the competitions fair as a Chihuahua Isn’t competing against a Great Dane.
Dog Agility is a fantastic activity to build a better relationship with your dog(s), build obedience skills in a FUN way, teach really reliable recalls, and build confidence! Agility can also keep dogs in better physical shape to keep them healthy for a nice long life with you.
Dog agility is also a FANTASTIC activity for the whole family. The fast paced hands on elements of agility are super fun for children of all ages who can really benefit from training dogs. Children learn lots of patience, empathy, and creative thinking skills from training dogs. Many agility organizations even offer Scholarships when it’s time for our junior handlers to go off to college!
The best way to get started in agility is to find classes with experienced instructors. Dog agility is a family friendly, FUN sport and should always be taught using positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement training uses a reward (treats, toys, etc.) for desired behaviors. Because the reward makes dogs more likely to repeat the behavior, positive reinforcement is one of your most powerful tools for shaping or changing your dog’s behavior. Classes specifically targeted to your dogs are also extremely beneficial. Dog Gone Fun Agility offers classes for all levels and types of dogs. We offer “foundation classes” for beginners all the way to classes for students competing at a national/international level. There are classes for those who just want to have fun, for reactive or sensitive dogs, and even classes just for kids!
At Dog Gone Fun Agility our large variety of classes are taught using positive reinforcement, kept small so that every student receives individualized attention, and focus on letting everyone have FUN with their dogs!
Another great way to learn more about agility is to watch competitions. Competitions are held nearly every weekend at Dog Gone Fun and are free to the public! Everyone is welcome to come and join in on the fun!
If you would like to watch a competition, join a class, or have any questions about how to get started in agility you can find out more information at our website www.DogGoneFunAgility.com or by emailing us at monica@DogGoneFunAgility.com.