Agility is one of the fastest-growing dog sports around. That’s probably because it is such great fun for both the dog and the dog owner. In the UK anyone can compete with their dog in agility competitions. You don’t have to have a pedigree dog to take part in events held by the Kennel Club. However, your dog does need to be registered with the Kennel Club through the Breed Register or the Activity Register.
Agility is a fun sport and it does require some fitness for you and your dog. The two of you go around a course with various obstacles and time does come into play. The size of your dog isn’t important because you will only be competing against other dogs of similar size. Dogs are measured before competition to make sure they are in the right class. Dogs have to be over 18 months of age to compete because the sport can be physically demanding and it’s important that the dogs are not over-stressed when they are too young.
There are several different types of agility shows and you and your dog can compete in the one that fits your situation best. Agility matches are for members of a show society. Entry to Limited agility shows are restricted to the members of a show society or to competitors from a certain area. Or they can be limited to certain breeds or sizes of dogs. But there is some limitation placed on them. Open agility tests are open to anyone who wants to compete. Championship agility tests can be scheduled with a special Championship Class that can be divided into three separate rounds. The winner and the second place dogs are awarded an Agility Certificate and a Reserve Agility Certificate. There are three different size categories offered for these tests.
There are many different classes offered at agility shows and they usually become more competitive as you win and move up at different shows. There are Jumping classes, classes with the see-saw or dog walk or “A” ramp obstacles; and there are Special classes such as the Helter Skelter, the Triathlon, the Gamblers, the Knock-Out, and the Pairs. These classes are offered at various levels such as Elementary, Starters, Novice, Intermediate, Seniors, Advanced, or Open.
The important thing to remember is that whatever level you and your dog are at, you will always be able to compete at a level that is appropriate to your skills and against other dogs with similar experience. This insures that the competition is fair and makes agility fun and exciting.
Agility is good for your dog because it does take a lot of training and hard work. You and your dog have to spend time preparing and working on your training for the obstacles. The work you do together brings you closer and you can have a lot of fun along the way, both in the actual competition and as you prepare. Agility is also a good way for you and your dog to work on your communication with each other. The best agility dogs have great communication with their owners. Plus, agility is great exercise for you and your dog. It’s a wonderful way for both of you to keep fit.