Getting Started in Agility
The Agility is a fun and complete sport, suitable for all kinds of dogs over 18 months old. It consists of the combination of a guide (owner) that leads the dog through a pre-established course, while overcoming several obstacles following an order and time. Finally the judges determine the winning dog based on his skill and dexterity.
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This sport develops the dog’s intelligence, obedience, agility and concentration in addition to strengthening your muscles and fostering rapport.
Everyone can practice Agility if they are predisposed, willing to spend a good time and enough time, they do not have to have advanced skills or a great ability as an instructor. Read on to learn how to get started in Agility .
Agility is a type of competition that has an international regulation elaborated by the FCI (the Fédération Cynologique Internationale ) that is in charge of organizing the official championship and establish the basic rules, although worldwide (including Brazil), not homologated that allow to practice this activity freely.
Remember that practicing Agility is a fun way to spend a good time together with your pet, so you should do so only with an adult dog (at least 18 months old) who is not pregnant, sick, injured or medicated. People who practice this type of practice will be expelled immediately.
Categories of dogs
As previously mentioned, all types of dogs can practice Agility whenever they are healthy and willing. For this reason three categories were developed in the official competitions:
- S or small category: The dogs are less than 35 centimeters apart on the cross.
- Category M or average: Dogs of this category are between 35 to 43 cm to the cross.
- Category L or large: The last category is for dogs that exceed 43 cm to the cross.
Routes and type of obstacles
The Agility circuits have a variety of obstacles placed randomly on the ground where they do the competition. The amount and variety of obstacles determines the degree of difficulty and speed at which the dog will be subjected. There is a defined time frame to carry out the entire course defined in a given order.
A professional Agility course should:
- Have a space of at least 24 x 40 meters. The lane inside will be at least 20 x 40 meters.
- The length of the course will be between 100 and 200 meters and will have some 15 or 20 obstacles (at least 7 will be barriers).
- The size of the heels will be proportional to the category of the dog that competes.
- The distance between obstacles will also be fixed according to the category of the dog.
- The guide should be able to stand on both sides of each obstacle if necessary.
In addition you will have several types of obstacles that the dog must overcome:
- Jump barriers
- Wall or overpass
- Canvas tunnel
- Hard tunnel
- Long jump
Where can I start practicing Agility
Before enrolling yourself and your dog in your country’s Agility competitions you must start properly in Agility and reach the entry level. It is important that this process happens gradually without forcing the dog or exploring it physically.
For this you have two options, look for a club where they teach you to practice Agility or work out in your home, a very fun but feasible option for few people.
- Enrolling in a club / school is the most appropriate idea for anyone who wants to practice this sport and start in official competitions, since teachers can guide you, teach you techniques, ways of motivation, appropriate pace, etc. In addition, in class will be accompanied by other people, something that encourages the socialization of the dog and increases his predisposition to see other dogs do the same.
- Creating the Agility course at home is a fantastic idea for those who want to enjoy their pet, learning independently and without pressure. If you have a garden big enough and have the economic resources to do so, go ahead! You will have great moments with your dog!