Agility's Maze

Keen to try out agility with your dog? Here's an overview of the sport.
By Pets Team
Published on Wednesday, 10 July 2013

collie in agility

Agility for dogs is described as a sport in which handlers or owners direct their canines through obstacle courses in a bid to compete the course within the shortest time. The benefits of agility exercises include higher endurance levels, alertness and essential communication skills which serve to strengthen the human-animal bond.

Quickly gaining popularity, this sport is a much-needed outlet for many urbanised canines with expansive energy to burn. Ideally, pups as young as 12 months can start classes. It is not advisable to start them any younger as they might harm their still-growing joints. Though the majority of dogs appreciate the many activities in the agility course, do not despair if your pooch might not be the next star athlete.  Certain breeds like Collies, Retrievers and Schnauzers have been known to excel at such activities. Before enrolling in the next class, owners should check with trainers or vets on the health status of their dogs. Furkids with joint and respiratory problems must make a full recovery before embarking on agility.

Thinking of doing agility with your dog? Why not check out the overview of the agility course first?

Contact Obstacles

Dogwalk
Using three planks connected together, the plank is raised to about 1.2m off the ground. Contact zones are coloured to show where Fido needs to get on and off.

A-frame
Measuring 0.91m by 2.7m, two ramps are raised above the ground and connected together, making an A shape. Contact zones (showing where the dog needs to touch before moving on) are at both ends where they are supposed to ascend and descend.

Teeter-totter
Like a seesaw, this obstacle requires the canine to get onto the lowered side and causes the plank to shift using its weight. Like the dogwalk, contact zones are coloured for the same purposes.

see-saw

Tunnel
Made of vinyl and wire this obstacle can be formed into many different variations for the dog manoeuvre through.

Collapsed Tunnel (cloth tunnel)
About 3.7m long, this tube of fabric lies flat on the ground till the furkid runs through to reach the other end of the tunnel.

Jumps

Tire jump
Dogs are required to jump through this tire-shaped frame suspended above the ground.

jump tire

Broad Jump (or long Jump)
Jumps must be made over four to five raised platforms that are spread over a certain area. A dog’s height determines the distance they need to jump.

Jump (hurdle)
Fido will be required to jump over bars of differing heights without making contact with the obstacle.

Miscellaneous

Pause box
The use of this is similar to the table and is usually marked on the ground using pipes or tape.

Table
Your canine friend will need to jump onto this elevated platform and stay for a period of time.

Weave poles
This is not an easy feat; the dog needs to weave through five to 12 poles without skipping one. However, canines seem to enjoy doing this the most. 

weave pole

 

Photo sources: http://www.dog-obedience-training-online.com and http://www.cesarsway.com