What Is Dog Agility?
Dog Agility is a sport where both the owner and the pet benefit. This is a very special time for both the dog and the owner. It is one of the very few times when both, the pet and the owner, rely on each other to complete a course, under time and with as few errors as possible. It consists of a course, laid out with Agility obstacles. Agility obstacles are in the form of an A-frame, dog walk, weave poles, Agility Jumps, a table, teeter, tire and tunnels. This can be done in competition or in your own backyard. It is a very good form of exercise, which it is aerobic (from running) and mentally because of the thought of how best to perform the course with the least possible errors. It also is a good way to train your dog to listen to you and to get them to socialize.
The Agility obstacles are a challenge. When performing an A-Frame, the dog must approach it straight on, climb the apex and manage to walk all the way down without ‘flying off’ (jumping prior the yellow painted area at the bottom, called contacts) on the opposite side. The dog walk is similar to the A-frame, because you climb up and down two sides (with the yellow painted area, contacts), but with this Agility Obstacle the dog must walk along a plank that connects the two ends. Agility jumps take many forms, from a spread jump which can be from 4″ to 24″ long to single bar agility jumps that are from 4″ to 24″ in height( some venues may jump longer or higher.) Agility obstacles can also be in the form of double bar and triple bar jumps which, for lack of a better way to put it, combine both the spread and single bar type agility jumps.The weave poles are made up of 6 to 12 poles which your dog must weave in and out of each pole. This is the hardest obstacle for some dogs to master. The teeter is an Agility obstacle that is similar to a human teeter-totter, except the dog walks across the teeter from a downed end and as it is walking to the middle causes the teeter to go down on the opposite end. This also has the yellow Contacts at the end. The Agility Tunnel, is much like a child’s play tunnel, except that they are made of sturdier material so that the dog does not break through the agility Obstacle while running through the course. The tire, is another form of agility jump, where the dog jumps through a tire, instead of over a jump. This also is raised or lowered to the height for the dog. The table is the one time on an Agility Obstacle course in which the dog comes to a stop. These tables are generally referred to as a pause table. The name is derived from the use, the dog is to pause on the table prior to moving on to the next obstacle. It is also used for stopping the time at the end of a run.
My border collie dog, Skye, runs in agility trials. We began classes for her when she was about four years old, she will be eight in September, 2011. There are some agility obstacles that have been more trouble than others. Skye is very fast and in the early days had a bad habit of attempting all agility obstacles as if they were merely there to slow her down. Skye had flying off the A-Frame and dog walk to a science, but after a lot of hard work and hours of practice, she now completes these agility obstacles with precision. Agility Jumps are another story, When we first started out she had no trouble with jumps, completing them like a champion hurdler. As she ages Agility Jumps have become more of a challenge. She still maintains her speed, but she was having difficulty completing jumps without knocking the bars down. To assist her, we changed her status from regular to veteran (Canine Performance Events (CPE), the venue in which she participates), which enables her to jump at 12″ instead of her 16″ height requirement. This has helped her out a great deal. The bonding experience with her is one that will not be forgotten, it is our time alone.
Dog agility is a sport in which both the owner and pet participate in Agility Obstacle Courses. This can be beneficial to your relationship with your pet, but both of you will get exercise and time to form a wonderful bond over Agility obstacles and an Agility course. Enjoy your time with your pet, whether it is on an agility course, a walk in the park or just sharing a quiet time together.
If you are interested in Agility Obstacles to bond with your dog or to maybe just have fun in your own backyard or even to compete go to skyebirdpetsupplies.com for all your agility and pet supply needs.
My name is Rachel Dohran.