Agility is a fast moving dog sport in which the dog and the dog handler negotiate an obstacle course racing against the clock. It is fun and exciting for both members of the team with the dogs working off-leash and being guided by the signals and voice commands of their handlers.
Agility began in England in 1978, as entertainment at dog shows and agricultural fairs. The obstacle courses were inspired by jumping events at horse shows and agility quickly developed into a popular spectator sport. Agility continued to grow coming to North America in the 1980’s. It is now the fastest growing dog sport in Canada with most communities having active agility clubs and access to competitive agility trial events. The purpose of agility trials is to demonstrate the dog’s ability to work with its handler under a variety of challenges through a course of various obstacles. There are several different classes requiring different skills with increasing levels of difficulty. The classes are divided by jump height in order to make the competition equal between the different sizes of dogs.
In all levels of agility the team requires conditioning, concentration, training and team work. Training includes practices and instruction to develop course strategy, accuracy, speed and distance handling over obstacles such as Contacts (A-frames, Teeters, and Raised Dog Walks), Jumps (Tire Jumps and Hurdles), Tunnels, Weave Poles and Pause Tables.
Whether for recreational activity or competitive trials, agility builds a strong bond between the handler and the dog and provides both with hours of fun exercise. Clubs in the our local area, the Comox Valley, include the Roadsters, TaG, Incredible Canines and TailBlazers Agility Clubs, which host trials, activities and lessons. Trials include fun matches and competitive trials which award titles to recognize various levels of achievement of the team.