All About Dog Agility

What Is Dog Agility?

Dog agility is an intense, active sport for dogs and their human partners.

The dogs race full tilt around an obstacle course somewhat like those found in military basic training, leaping over, under, around, and through obstacles. Their human partners race full tilt around the same course, directing the dog from obstacle to obstacle in the correct order. The dogs never make mistakes. (We leave it as an exercise for the reader to explain how a dog ends up on the wrong obstacle from time to time.)

Once you’ve tried dog agility, plain old obedience seems dull.

[Rem with ribbons]

One really good weekend

Some of the obstacles are:

Jump  TunnelA-frame
Tire  Collapsed tunnel    Weave poles (like a slalom)    
Teeter totter    Table/platformDog walk (like a tall balance beam for dogs)

Where Did Agility Come From?

It’s fairly new to North America—the first North American agility competition took place in 1989. The Europeans started it several years earlier.

Why Do It?

10. Exercises your dog.
 9. Exercises your little couch-potatoed muscles.
 8. Stimulates your dog’s intellect.
 7. Improves your reflexes and reaction time.
 6. Gets you nifty ribbons if you practice enough.
 5. Builds a sense of teamwork between you and your dog.
 4. Improves your dog’s obedience skills.
 3. Gives you something to do with all that spare money and land you’ve got lying around.
 2. Impresses your friends and loved ones at all of your barbeques.
 1. It’s totally awesomely fun.

Who’s Crazy Enough to Do This?

Dogs. You name them, they’re there. Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Shelties are common. You’ll see Collies and Goldens and Huskies and on and on. The All-American, Pedigree-Challenged, Mixed-Breed, Heinz-Variety Mutt wins a lot. Leonbergers and Newfoundlands display energy you’d never think you’d see in dogs of that size. Papillons and pugs popularly participate.

You have to like your dog, and your dog has to know some basic obedience. You have to like working with your dog as a team rather than treating him as another object around the house that needs dusting.

You should both be in reasonably good physical condition. If you’re not (through sheer neglect), this will help. Dogs can start agility at a fairly young age, but should never do anthing requiring full jumps, leaps, and twisting until their bones are fully formed—at least 1 year or older.

How Can I Find Out More About this Totally Awesome Fun Thing?

Visit the following Web sites for more information:
The Dogpatch
The world's largest agility Web site with tons of information and links to every other agility Web site in the known universe: http://www.dogpatch.org/agility

Clean Run
Includes Find An Agility Event in Your Area

The Bay Team
Agility club of which Ellen, Remington, and Jake are members and maintain their Web site (explaining all the typos there—dogs don't type too good): http://www.bayteam.org

Pagemeister elf@xs.com
Last updated November 11, 2002
GO HOME