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Dog agility is a fast moving and exciting performance sport where dogs are directed by their handlers through a challenging obstacle course. Dogs must negotiate various obstacles, including the A-frame, dog-walk, weave poles, seesaw, pause table, collapsed tunnel, and pipe tunnel. The course also includes several different types of jumps and hurdles. , such as broad, tire, triple and double jumps. In agility competitions, judges design different runs for each competition. Scores are based on faults and course times.
 
At Jump City we teach competition agility, but we donít expect every student to compete. While many of our students are competing at the top levels of the sport and are nationally ranked, many also come out once a week just to have fun with their dogs and get a little exercise.
Agility Dogs Any dog can participate in agility training as long as they are healthy and sound. There are no age or size limitations. We have dogs ranging in age from 6 months to 13 years, and from Great Danes to Chihuahuas. Many veterinarians, obedience trainers and dog behaviorists recommend agility training to help solve problems ranging from shyness to fear aggression because the training helps socialize and build a dogís self-confidence, teaches focus, and dramatically increases the bond with its handler. Many rescue dogs come to Jump City with histories of abuse, abandonment and neglect. After a couple of months of agility, we have seen these dogs turned into confident, happy dogs, with owners who are amazed and delighted at their transformation.


photo by Terry Curtiss, www.tc-pro.com

History of the Sport
Englishman Peter Lewis is credited with developing this exciting sport that was modeled on equestrian grand prix jumping. The sport was first seen in England in 1977, and the first competition took place a year later at Crufts. The English Kennel Club awarded official status to the sport in 1980, and it quickly spread to the United States in 1986.

In response to the fast growing interest in agility, the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) was organized to serve as a referral network for individuals and groups interest in participating. It also set guide lines and standardized obstacles. The North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC) was formed shortly thereafter, followed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) program and the United Kennel Club.
While each organization has slightly different rules and equipment requirements, all offer Novice through Championship titling opportunities and annual National Championship competitions. USDAA, NADAC and UKC are open to mixed breeds and pure-breds alike, while AKC is only open to AKC recognized breeds.
 
What Is A Show & Go?
A Show & Go (sometimes called a Fun Match or Practice Match) is an opportunity to practice running agility courses under the same conditions you find at actual competitions. The courses are timed and judged and scores are recorded by someone at ring side on a scribe sheet.

People participate in Show & Go's for various reasons. People already competing come to get "tuned up" for upcoming agility trials. In regular competitions, you are not allowed to train or use treats or toys in the ring. At a Show & Go you can, so you can work on any specific problems you might be having at trials - such as contact problems, downs on the table, etc.

A Show & Go is also a good place to get your paws wet if you haven't yet started competing. You can get the feel of what morning check-in is like, course walk throughs, and running a course with a judge in the ring. It's a good place to find out what agility is like for you and your dog outside of your class setting.

I highly recommend Show & Go's for just about every student (with the exception of 1st and 2nd session students). But even if you don't participate, you should come out to watch and get a feel for what competition is like and to have a great time.

Help at Show & Go's is always appreciated and a good way for you to get a closer look at the sport. So if you have some time to set bars knocked down in runs, want to learn how to time or scribe a run at a trial, be a gate steward, etc., just let us know. Keep in mind that whether you volunteer to work at a Show & Go or at a "real" agility trial, you can usually earn free drinks, snacks and lunch, and maybe even free entry fees.

 

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