Agility is a sport where dog goes through obstacle course in race for accuracy and time. The dogs run not for food or toys. They run off leash without any guidance from handler. However handler can influence dog through voice and body language.
Agility track is a set of obstacles arranged in whatever way the judge wants them to be. The field is made of dirt, grass, rubber and other harmless objects. Obstacles are numbered to emphasize the order of the passing. Agility training is important for these sports since, the tracks are not easy for the dogs to pass without guidance.
Training is a must for all dogs. It helps them to mellow down their aggression. It makes them better family pets. Most pets today are bred down to even temperament. Still, a little more obedience always helps. Dog Agility Training is specifically to improve its capability to follow commands.
There are five types of dog training – Obedience, Behavioral, Canine Good Citizen test, Agility and Therapy. Obedience gets you till making your dog to follow basic ‘sit – stay – down’ commands. Behavioral training helps to change a habit or two. AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test is to see how well behaved your dog is. Therapy dogs comforts people in need, especially kids in hospitals. It is agility training alone that makes your dog to master complex commands.
Dog Agility contests are being demonstrated since the 70’s. It all started in the United Kingdom. Organizations around the world picked it up. Now there are major competitions held everywhere. As an entertainment, it was first documented in Crufts dog show in 1978. It appealed to the dog owners who were dazzled by speed, skills and complexity. It was in 1979, agility training was started professionally. In 1980, it was recognized as an official sport by Kennel Club UK.
Not all breeds are eligible for agility contests, though they can undergo agility training. The American Kennel Club allows for all registered breed to participate. They however block entry for mixed breeds. Other associations like the CPE, UKS in the U.S allows mixed breeds. The UK kennel Club allows for mixed breeds as well as purebreds. The dogs needs to be 18 months or older to participate in events. The eligibility for breeds varies from country to county. Some countries conduct separate contests exclusively for native breeds to promote them. Obviously most native breeds can’t compete to the likes of Doberman, German Shepard or Rottweiler.
There are some terms you need to familiarize before training your dogs for agility.
- Refusal: Long hesitation of the dog while facing an obstacle.
- Front Cross: A switch of sides in front of the dog to alter its course eventually.
- Blind Cross: It is the practice of outrunning the dog and effect a change in its path.
- Rear Cross: This handling manipulation allows changing sides and initiating a turn in dog’s path.
- Reverse Flow Pilot: The dog jumps out from under handler’s arm. Handler may change his stance relative to dog.