Dog Agility Explained

Dog Agility is a fun and exciting sport for both dogs and people. It emphasizes teamwork where the handler directs the dog through tasks of climbing, jumping, and crawling over, under, around, and through various obstacles. In addition to giving the dog a better sense of balance, teaching him to be aware of where his body is, and building confidence, agility keeps the dog physically fit. Dog agility can be done for several reasons, including: fun, fitness, recreation, exhibition, or competition. In addition, it has also been used as a behaviour modification tool for a shy or timid dog in that it builds confidence and can eliminate shyness or fear of the unknown.

Agility is enjoyed by people of all ages and all kinds of dogs. Many clubs and organizations allow mixed-breed as well as pure-bred dogs, many also have junior handler programs as well as programs for senior handlers and veteran dogs.

Dog agility has now become a title event through several organizations, including the AAC, CKC, AKC, UKC, NADAC, and USDAA.

In Canada, Agility is now the fastest growing dog sport in the country.

At an agility trial, the courses are designed by the judges and the competitors only see the course on the day of the event. They are given a “walk-through” period before the event to learn the course and plan their strategy. Typically, a course includes 15 to 20 obstacles with allowed times of 30 to 60 seconds. Faults may be incurred for incorrect performance or taking obstacles out of order as well as for taking longer than the allowed time.

Competition classes are divided into three levels: Novice/Starters, Advanced/Open, and Masters/Elite. Teams can compete in local trials and then advance to regional, national, and international level competitions held by the various sanctioning organizations.

At this time, the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) offers standard agility titles as follows:

  • Novice — AGN
  • Intermediate — AGI
  • Excellent A — AGX
  • Excellent B 3 AGMX

Dog agility gives you, the dog owner, a chance to get out and enjoy some good quality time with your companion and meet some great people along the way. The dogs truly enjoy doing agility, especially those high-energy dogs who need a job to do.

Agility Clubs & Associations

Note: Listings of local Agility Clubs can be found under the Dog Club Listings sorted by Province.

Ottawa Valley Border Collie Club

Photo credit: Ottawa Valley Border Collie Club

Agility Books, Accessories & Equipment

Coming soon