Dog agility is a fast paced and action packed dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off lead with no food or toys as incentives, the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles during their run.
Agility has been a part of ACODC since 2010 and is continuously growing in members. Due to the level of distractions and the fact that all exercises are performed off lead, good general obedience is a must. Dogs and handlers start with ‘Foundation’ work where all obstacles are on the ground only – the dog is hereby taught spacial and body awareness as well as the basics of agility. Positive reinforcement is the key – the dog has to enjoy what it is doing! The training process is slow but steady, it takes months of training before handler and dog run a full course.
While there is no guidelines on which dog breeds are suitable for Agility, naturally some dogs will have physical advantages and disadvantages when it comes to navigating an obstacle course. Dogs with shorter faces such as Pugs and Chow Chows can experience challenges breathing while navigating the course. For long-backed dogs such as Basset Hounds and Dachshunds too much jumping can cause back injuries. For overweight or generally heavy dogs we need to consider their joint health before sending them flying over obstacles.
At ACODC we train towards both ANKC and NADAC Agility Standards with no preference given to either. Current members compete in both ANKC and NADAC trials throughout the year. From Papillion Dog to Rottweiler and Saluki we have dogs of various sizes and shapes training alongside each other!
In order to get started you will need:
A dog aged about 10 months or older so that its bones have stopped growing and they are strong enough to start foundation work.
The physical ability of both handler and dog to train for Agility. Dogs that are not physically suitable due to their size/weight ratio may join in under instructors supervision over appropriate obstacles.
The dog MUST have a good recall under distractions because all training is off leash.
Dog and Handler must have reached Level 4 at ACODC Obedience.
Lots of patience. Be prepared to invest a lot of time in foundation work - it takes approximately 12 months of training before you and your dog will be able to run a full course!
If you are interested in starting to train your dog in Agility please come see one of the Agility Instructors on a Sunday morning. We are happy to show you a few exercises to get started and answer all your questions!
Set up from 8am, training til 11am
Spots for Agility are limited due to space restrictions. A four week foundation course is run annually for ACODC members who would like to train their dog in Agility. There is currently a waiting list for the next foundation course, please see one of the Agility Instructors on Sunday morning if you would like to be added to this list.
During these four weeks we are working with you and your dog on building the foundation to your Agility Training. Among others we will work on reinforcement, flat work, developing self control, starting contact work using a contact board, driving lines, developing rear end awareness and core strength.
Following the four weeks of introduction you will continue working on the foundation course, gradually increasing the level of difficulty. Step by step we will build your skills over the next few months including introduction of crosses, direction changes, new obstacles such as A-Frame, Walk, Tire, Seesaw etc.
We are currently taking expressions of interest to join the next four week Agility Foundation Course. If your dog fits the above criteria and you think you and your dog would enjoy improving your communication and learn fun new skills together, the best way to get your name onto the waiting list is to come down to Altona on Sunday morning and speak to one of the Agility Instructors.
Please do take note that Agility training is a long-term commitment and after the first four weeks your training will continue. Several of our members do still attend Obedience classes aside from Agility so there is no need to choose one over the other, however you will be expected to help set up and break down before and after.
We look forward to meeting you!
Please find a link to the detailed Agility Guidelines here: