Imagine the most fun a dog can have - leaping over a variety of jumps, tipping a see-saw, zipping through a slalom of upright poles, negotiating a narrow dogwalk and zooming through tunnels. To a dog, an agility field is a doggy amusement park. Whether you're looking for a venue where your dog can burn off some excess energy in a safe, constructive manner, or if you're interested in competing in the sport, agility training offers amusement and challenges for both the dog and handler.
With the handler in charge of strategy, and the dog given the athletic responsibilities, the team negotiates an obstacle course, performing each obstacle in the correct sequence. Emphasis is placed on accuracy and speed. Safe execution of each obstacle is paramount, with faults being assigned for knocked down poles, missed contacts (the start and end of the see-saw, A-frame and dogwalk), or taking an obstacle out of sequence.
People are attracted to agility for a wide variety of reasons. Some simply want to spend some "quality time" with their dogs, doing something that's fun. The only thing that's more fun than watching dogs do agility, is doing it with your own dog! Some dog owners who begin agility work have no intention of competing - they use agility as a means of instilling confidence in their dogs, to enhance their performance in the breed or obedience ring, or simply to make their dogs more confident pets. Other dog owners enroll in agility as a way to help their active canines "blow off steam" in a constructive and pleasurable manner, turning an unruly friend into a willing and appreciative teammate.
Watch this youtube video for one person's interpretation of the reason we do agility!
Almost anyone of any age can do agility. Members in clubs range from 4 years to 85 years old. All you need is a dog that is physically fit.
Agility can be a great sport for people with disabilites. It can encourage people to get out and meet others, remain physically active and establish an even better relationship with their canine companion. The sport currently has one visually impaired person competing with a sighted guide as well as numerous others with a range of physical challenges.
Dog Agility began as an extra entertainment to fill time between events at the world-famous Crufts International Dog Show in Britain in 1978. It was such a success with both the spectators and the participants that a new dog sport was born.
Dog Agility combines a fast pace, an athletic challenge, strategy and teamwork. Everywhere the sport is introduced, dogs, handlers, volunteers and spectators alike fall in love with the crazy fun-filled games that give Dog Agility its name.
Today, agility enjoys enormous popularity in Britain, with well-attended competitions every weekend during the show season. The larger events draw thousands of competitors and attract huge, appreciative audiences - many competitions are televised. This enthusiasm has spread to virtually all of Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand, followed by the USA in 1986, making Dog Agility a truly international dog sport.
Go to the CONTACTS page for a list of all the Agility Clubs in NZ.