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The Sport Of Agility For Dogs

Apr 8, 2008
Originally based, loosely, on the equestrian jumps, agility obstacle courses for dogs are meant to provide the dogs with an outlet for their athletic skill and a place to showcase their agile abilities. The handlers are allowed to use hand signals but the dogs must work 'off-leash' when running the agility courses. The handler may run alongside the dog, however, but the best dogs will run without a handler next to them.

The dogs earn points for speed, agility & the way they complete the course & and are penalized for any stopping, skipping equipment or straying off course for distractions. The best dogs for the sport of agility are the working class dogs, such as the Border Collies and the sporting groups; something like a Dalmatian would be willing to work well on the obstacle course. However, all dogs are willing to please their masters and will try if they can to concur the agility courses.

There are several pieces of equipment on the agility course and they are set up in a circular track for the dogs to run around and maneuver through or over. They are in no particular order, although the judges usually don't put all the jumps in a row or all the climbing equipment next to each other.

There is the tunnel dogs crawl through. This is usually made of reinforced nylon and metal rings to hold it up so the dogs can crawl or run fast through it. there is also a tunnel that is flat called a 'chute' in which the beginning of the piece of equipment is similar to the tunnel and is held up but the back end is made of a nylon and does not contain anything that will help it stand up. The chute is to see if the dog will run through something that will touch its body without becoming tangled or scared.

The tire they jump through is not the same as an automobile or other type of vehicle tire. It's made of flexable tubing and is usually mixed with a bright color. The agility course is set up for safety for the dogs and with lots of color for the spectators. Although, spectators almost always have a great time watching the dogs run the course because they are so good at what they are doing. It takes months and months of daily training to get a dog ready for an agility competition.

Other equipment on the agility floor includes the weave poles in which the dog weaves in and out of flexible poles as fast as they can; there are the jumps at various levels, depending on the highest of the dog, and the A-frame which is basically a large ladder without the slats. The dog must climb up the A-frame and pause on the yellow portion of the 'ladder' and then on the decent, the dog must again pause on the yellow portion. This shows the judges that the dog can take instructions well and can stop when needed.
About the Author
Tristan Andrews is a freelance author who writes articles about Dogs and Dog News.
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