Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Sport Of Dog Agility

If you've never watched dog agility, I highly reccommend that you check it out. It is a lot of fun to watch, and pretty cool to see just what dogs really can do. Your dog isn't the type to do this? So what! I've watched it on T.V. before and my dogs just sit right next to me and watch it too! Here is some information about the sport.

Agility is a sport in which a dog demonstrates its agile nature and versatility by overcoming different obstacles. In this sport the handler is given a set amount of time to direct their dog off-leash around a course. Originally loosely modeled on equestrian stadium jumping competitions, the sport has evolved its own additional obstacles, scoring systems, and performance ideals.
Success in agility requires proper training, as it is a game of physical skill, control, patience and, most of all, teamwork between handler and dog. Agility is a race against the clock, but accuracy is the first requirement.
Agility courses usually consist of jumps, tunnels, a tire, a pause table, weave poles, and contact obstacles. The contact obstacles include the dog-walk, see-saw, and A-frame. The dogs are required to have at least one paw touch the yellow painted areas on the way up and especially on the way down the contact obstacles. When performing the weave poles, the dog must enter to the right of the first pole and weave each one until they exit the last pole going to the left.
The obstacles in agility have been designed with both safety and spectator appeal in mind. All jumps have easily displaced bars so that the dog should not experience injury should he misjudge and take down a jump bar. All obstacles that the dog must physically scale have ‘contact’ zones painted on the equipment: the contact zones enforce safe training techniques since handlers know that dogs will be faulted unless one or more feet are in the contact zone while ascending and descending. All contact equipment surfaces are roughened for good traction in both dry and wet weather.

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