Agility is the fastest growing sport for dogs in the United States. It is also one of the most exciting for human spectators to watch!
A handler directs a dog through an obstacle course made up of tunnels, jumps, and weave poles using only voice commands and hand signals. The dogs are judged on their course speed and accuracy. Typically, an agility course is 100 x 100 feet, with 10 to 20 feet between obstacles. The first canine agility demonstrations are thought to have been in the late 1970s, held at dogs shows in the United Kingdom. In the early 1980s, the sport quickly become more popular in the United States, and several national and international agility organizations were formed.
In agility dogs of all sizes are welcome. Lightweight, fast dogs like the Border Collie are normally some of the best at the sport, but any dog in good physical condition, regardless of size or pedigree, is welcome to compete. There are even special courses built for small dogs in The Teacup Dogs Agility Association. The obstacles are scaled down to allow dogs under 17 inches tall to excel at the course.
To get started in agility you’ll want to find a good trainer to get you started in the right direction. However, first you’ll want to be sure that your dog is well trained in the basic commands for “sit” and “come” before starting more rigorous training. In Knoxville and the surrounding area there are several dog parks with agility equipment, as well as trainers who specialize in agility training. Check out the resources below to help you and your dog get started in this sport.
Knoxville Agility Training:
Agility Adventures 865.604.1565
Dawn Darr 865.584.6553
Oak Ridge Kennel Club www.discoveret.org/orkc
Dog Parks with Agility Equipment:
PetSafe Village Dog Park, 10424 Electric Avenue
Dogwood Park at Victor Ashe Park, 4901 Bradshaw Road
United States Dog Agility Association
North American Dog Agility Council
photo credits: RAT NADAC June2013 – Sun Elite Regular – Martucci via photopin (license); RAT NADAC June2013 – Sun Elite Regular – Martucci via photopin (license)
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