Agility is a fast moving, challenging and energetic sport that requires great teamwork between dog and handler. Dogs work off leash and are guided by the signals and voice commands of their handlers as they speed around an intricate course over or through a variety of obstacles, including jumps, tunnels, weave poles, even a teeter totter and complete the course (hopefully cleanly – without penalties, and within the time allowed).
Agility is open to all breeds, and dogs are grouped according to size, with appropriate jump height and speed requirements for each size range, so every dog has the same chance to excel. To begin learning about agility, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Make sure your dog has excellent foundation manners. Take a course with one of CAPDT’s trainers to make sure your dog has a great recall, stands well for examination, is crate trained, has a good long down-stay (for resting between rounds) and knows their release cues. These are among the very first foundation skills.
- Watch some of the excellent videos of agility rounds on YouTube (Google “world agility championships” to see if this is a sport you might be capable of “going all the way in” (and getting an International Agility Title). Like most dog sports, there are beginner/hobby levels and advanced competitive levels. Think about your time, energy and finances and consider what a realistic goal is for you and your dog.
- Find a local CAPDT trainer who offers an agility fundamentals or a “Try Agility” course. You can search in the CAPDT directory using the word “agility” and your area.
- In Canada, formal agility sport events are held under the rules of the Canadian Kennel Club. Review the CKC’s agility rules & regulations. You may wish to consider taking a membership with the CKC as you progress in the sport so you can compete in official agility events.
- Our CAPDT trainers can help you learn what you need to compete. Many trainers will offer help and support as you move ahead in your chosen sport.
- Most importantly, have fun!