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A fun and energetic way to bond with your dog

Learn with an Agility 1st Instructor. An action packed dog sport, Agility is all about navigating a course of jumps, tunnels and obstacles. It’s such great fun and there are so many new skills you and dog will learn. It takes training to teach the dog how to use each piece of equipment safely and accurately, and to learn to put sequences together. Watching their confidence and skill improve over time is immensely rewarding.

By learning Agility, you and your dog will build on your bond as you do this fun activity together. Agility comprises of several pieces of equipment:

  • Jumps – these are set according to the height of your dog(pictured left)
  • Tunnels – these can be straight or curved
  • Dog walk – a raised plank with a ramp either side
  • A Frame – a wide ramp up then a wide ramp down (pictured above)
  • See saw – the dog walks on and causes it to tip to get off
  • Long jump – low planks the dog jumps over

How do Agility competitions work?

Once you are confident that your dog can navigate all the obstacles and put them together in a sequence, you can enter your first show! Shows are run by various organisations including independent clubs, UK Agility and the Kennel Club. Some shows are aimed at beginners and contain simple courses, some even allow you to take a toy in the ring. The “Agilitynet” website has a list of all the Agility shows available to enter across the country, and links with how to enter them.

If you want to enter a Kennel Club Agility show, your dog needs to be officially measured. Kennel Club Agility is split into 7 grades. Grade 1 is for beginners. You compete in a class of similar ability dogs. If you win 3 classes at Grade 1, you become Grade 2. Once you are Grade 2, all future and other dogs you have start at Grade 2. As you continue winning classes you will move up the grades where the courses get progressively harder. Other organisations have their own, similar, Grade system.

At a show, there will be at least one ring, usually more, set up with a course. You will have been sent “running orders” before the show which tell you which ring you are competing in, what order the classes will be run and how many dogs are in your class. You are allowed to “walk the course” before you take your dog to run it. This means you can enter the ring before the class starts, without your dog, and try to get the order of the obstacles in your head and plan how you will handle it. You would usually expect to be able to run 3 or 4 classes per show.

Competing in Agility is super fun, and if your dog can cope with the exciting atmosphere it’s a very enjoyable, and somewhat tiring, day out!