What's Dog Agility?
We had a pretty large event at our facility this weekend. The EO/AWC Tryouts for the Canadian World Agility Team. Competitiors came in from all over Canada for a chance to win a spot on this exciting team.
I thought it was a good time to share an overview of the sport of Dog Agility - something you get to play with your 4-legged friends. It's all about the team!
Building a bond and directing your dog over an obstacle course made up on tunnels, weave poles, jumps and contact equipment. What fun!
In Canada, there are several Agility organizations including events sanctioned by the Canadian Kennel Club and the Agility Association of Canada. Each have some key differences and some more subtle uniqueness that you'll want to be aware of.
20 time World Agility Champion Kayl McCann attributes her success in agility to her dog's thorough obedience training. Most dogs innately love agility. It's fun for them, and they'll happily run around the course taking tunnels and jumping hurdles, but to truly have a successful partnership with your dog in sports, your dog needs to know how to listen in extreme conditions. When the excitement is high, the event is loud and the course is demanding, your dog needs to be in the habit of looking to you for information and responding quickly to verbal and physical cues. The more work you've done teaching your dog how to listen well, the more likely you are to have success in agility.
We wholeheartedly believe that a well-trained dog who knows how to listen in day-to-day life will do well competing in agility. If they are undertrained, there are far too many options for self-rewarding. Dogs who don't yet have good listening skills will likely run agility happily, but they may make up their own course by taking the obstacles they want rather than the ones they're directed to or they may take a moment on course to visit ring crew. This could actually send your dog training progress backward since your dog will get reinforced for ignoring you. That is why we insist that all dogs going into our agility programs have reliable off-leash control. That way, it's fun for both the dog and handler and the risk of accidents is minimized! The bond you'll build will be worth it!
Agility is for dogs of all shapes and sizes! You can customize how high your dog has to jump, so whether you have a Mastiff or a Toy Poodle, all can play and have a great time!
Here is a great agility video taken from one of our demonstration nights. It's actually shot in 360 degrees, so if you have a smart phone, have a look at this with it!