New to Agility: Getting Started in Agility Training

Agility © Samantha Houston
 

Agility can become a real addiction. It's fun, friendly and keeps you and your dog in tip-top shape. Most people's first view of Agility comes from the coverage of Crufts each year and the agility competitions held in December in conjunction with Olympia Horse Show. However, there are more than 300 licensed Agility Shows held annually, not to mention the numerous special sponsored events which take place nationwide.

Agility Shows are fun competitions designed for the enjoyment of competitors, and to appeal to spectators. All sorts of dogs can take part.

The formal requirements for competing in a Kennel Club licensed Agility show are quite simple:

  • Your dog must be registered with the Kennel Club, either on the Breed Register or on the Activity Register.
  • Competitors taking part in any Kennel Club licensed event must familiarise themselves with the Kennel Club Rules and Regulations beforehand. The Agility Regulations can be found in the Agility and Flyball Regulations booklet.
  • Dogs can only enter Agility shows when they are 18 months of age or over and have been officially measured and placed in the correct height category.
  • You will need to have an Agility Record Book (available from the Kennel Club online shop) in which to record your dog's height category and all your competition wins and clear rounds.

Training

Preparing your dog to be able to compete successfully will take a little longer than the formal requirements. It is essential that your dog is fully socialised and that you have effective control at all times, especially as your dog will be competing off-lead. For safety's sake it is recommended that dogs do not start training on equipment until they are at least a year old.

Joining a Club

Plenty of regular practice is essential preparation for Agility competitions, but supervised training at an Agility class is just as important. There are a number of training clubs across the country, many of which can be located via the Kennel Club's Find a Club tool.

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