What is dog agility?
Dog agility is a sport where the handler and dog negotiate a series of obstacles in a specific order that is determined by the judge. Obstacles included in an agility course can include jumps, tunnels, see saws, weave poles, dog walks and A-frames. The aim is to complete the course as quickly and accurately as possible. Faults are gained for knocked bars, incorrectly completed obstacles or going over the specified time limit. A clear round is a run where there have been no faults. If several dogs gain clear rounds, the winner is determined by the fastest time.
There are also agility games where the handler gets to determine which obstacles to do and there may be aspects of distance handling where the handler can’t be close to the dog. There also some events where two dogs may enter and complete a course together- this is always lots of fun!
Why do dog agility?
Agility training is a great way to have fun with your dog. It is great exercise mentally and physically for both dog and handler. Training helps you bond with your dog and may prevent behavioural problems from developing. Many people with hyperactive dogs say that agility training has helped challenge their dog and funnel all that energy into something productive rather than destructive! Entering agility competitions is a fun way to test your dog's progress, although plenty of people don’t enter competitions and just do it for fun. Agility training is also a good way to meet other dog lovers and competitions can be an especially social experience.
Any dog can participate in agility provided they are healthy and don’t have any major medical issues or injury. However, most dogs with issues can participate in agility training provided they do modified versions of the equipment to make it easier for them. Working breeds in particular seem to excel at agility, however there are a wide variety of breeds and crossbreeds that also compete very successfully.
Where can I do agility?
In the Wollongong region there are several dog training clubs which offer agility training:
- Good Dog Agility and Training Club, JN Memorial Park Warilla 4284 8461 Agility training at 6.30pm Wednesday night
- South Coast Dog Training Club, Dapto Showground 4261 2255 Agility Wednesday night from 6.30pm
- Wollongong Dog Sports Club, Figtree Pony Club 0407 228 760 Agility training Monday night from 6.30pm
- Naughty Dog School 4272 2662 “Fungility” classes Sunday morning
Please feel free to come and have a chat with me (Zoe) about agility if you need further information.