Dog agility requires a dog to have the highest degree of obedience, because dogs compete off leash and the handler can only use voice control and body language to control their dogs. Accuracy and speed by the dog plays a very important part in competition agility as well as the ability by the handler to control that speed and accuracy hence the need for top quality training to ensure that man and dog are working as one.
Agility first came to the public attention at Crufts in 1978 when Peter Meanwell and John Varley devised an entertainment showing dogs’ speed and agility as an interval event for the audience between the Obedience and Breed competitions in the main ring at Crufts.
This was Agility Jumping which was essentially based on the equestrian sport of show jumping (which was itself very popular at the time). This demonstration went down so well with the public and dog owners that Agility Jumping has since become one of the most rapidly growing dog sports in England, Western Europe and North America.in England, Western Europe and North America.
Agility requires a well-controlled dog and an energetic handler and we prefer new agility members to have been through the Obedience classes before joining agility.
The club offers training from experienced competing members including trainers who have qualified for Crufts & Olympia.
Members in the Agility Section are expected to help with setting up equipment and tidying up at the end of sessions. As the club is run by volunteers members are expected to help out at shows and events.
We have beginners in the lower levels and more experience and competing members in the higher group. There are times when an evening training session may have to be cancelled or classed merged at short notice. Please check the club's Facebook page or notice board in the barn for details.
If you are interested in joining the Agility Section, please see the Club's Membership Secretary who will add you to our waiting list.
Agility in The Barn
Agility equipment includes various obstacles such as; Jumps, Tunnels, Weave Poles, Seesaws, A-Frames, and Dog Walk. All obstacles used in agility have been designed with both safety of the dog and handler and spectator appeal in mind.
There are several types of jumps used. All of these jumps can be adjusted in height and length to suit the size of dog. Some are listed below.
Wing Jump - This is a jump similar in design principle to those used in equine events and has easily displaceable bars so that the dog should not experience injury if it misjudges the jump and takes down a jump bar.
Long Jump - Has a set of slightly raised platforms over a wide area; length is adjusted to the dog's height.
Tyre Jump - A padded tyre suspended in a frame; the dog must jump through the tyre.
The tunnel is a minimum of 3m in length and should have a minimum diameter of 60cm. It can be set up in a straight line or in a slight curve (single direction), which the dog runs through.
The Weave Poles are set in a straight line at specific intervals and the dog must weave through the poles. There should be a minimum of 5 and maximum of 12. Weaves can be one of the most difficult obstacles.
These are obstacles which a dog must physically ascend and descend (scale). They have 'contact' zones painted on them at each end, which the dog must touch with one or more feet when ascending/descending.
Seasaw - Similar to the ones used in children’s playgrounds however it has no handles. The dogs must ascend up the seesaw from the contact zone at the beginning; make it tip, and then descend down the other side and leave the seesaw via the second contact zone at the other end. The dog is not allowed to jump off before the seesaw is grounded.
A Frame - is a simple obstacle consisting of two sides, about 2.74m long and 91.4cm wide. The apex is around 1.7. from the ground forming a rough ‘A' shape, which the dog ascends and descends without jumping off the sides. This obstacle also has contact zones at the bottom ends which the dog must touch.
Dog Walk - This obstacle is very like a balance beam used in gymnastics and is about 25.4cm to 30.5 cm wide and about 1.2m from the ground with two ramps on both ends to allow the dog access to the flat beam; like the seesaw it has contact zones at each end.
Measuring is at the withers.