Are you looking to get off of the couch and on the move with your dog? Does your dog respond well to your commands? Agility might be just the activity to combine sport and communication. Best of all, your dog can enjoy the agility course regardless of breed or size. With a few adjustments to obstacle heights, almost any dog can participate.
With its mix of jumps, teeter-totters, tunnels and poles, agility helps your dog hone physical skills, speed, competitiveness and mental acuity. Agility engages the whole dog and person, who work together to beat the clock (not other animals) by navigating the course with as few errors as possible.
Ace Russell, owner of Agility Center of East Tennessee and inventor of Way to Weave, a weave pole manufacturer, came to the sport after showing dogs in conformation for years and was immediately hooked. He now serves as the training director for the Tennessee Valley Kennel Club.
The nice aspect of agility is that it is relatively easy to get involved,” says Russell. “The commitment of time and money can vary based on the passion of the competitors.”
Just a class a week for a few months will initiate any dog to the sport. Dog agility camps are also offered in many countries as newcomers flock to the sport. You can also begin in your own backyard, building jumps and obstacles to acclimate your dog to the activity. If you have questions about your dog’s abilities or on building a proper course, contact your veterinarian or an agility expert.
For additional information on dog agility, contact the United States Dog Agility Association or The North American Dog Agility Council.