This is the sport most often seen on television. Courses generally have from 15 to 25 obstacles, depending on the organization and the level of difficulty.
Types of Obstacles
The different types of obstacles test the agility, obedience, and athleticism of the dogs ... and of their handlers.
Contact obstacles are generally those that require climbing: the A-frame, the dogwalk, and the teeter-totter, for example. They are called contact obstacles because each of these has a "contact zone" at each end, usually the last three feet or so. These contact zones are painted in a contrasting color; the common contact zone color is yellow.
Different organizations have somewhat different rules for "making contact" with the obstacle in the contact zone, but all require at least that the dog touch the contact zone on the exiting side of the obstacle. Failure to make this contact constitutes failure to complete the obstacle.
The teeter-totter obstacle has an even more restrictive rule to protect the dogs. Not only must the dog touch the "down contact", but the dog cannot leave the obstacle until the teeter-totter has touched the ground. This is to discourage dangerous "fly-offs" when dogs run through the obstacle too fast.
There are several different types of jumps. These vary by the framing of the jump: side panels or wings on some, panels on the bottom forming the jump itself, or simple bar jumps. Bar jumps may be single, double, or triple, indicating the width of the jump. For double jumps, both horizontal bars are placed at the same height. Triple jump bars are graduated in height, with the first bar being set lowest and the last bar highest.
The tire jump is set so that the bottom of the tire's central opening is at the jump height for the performing dog. The dog must jump through the tire, but contact with the tire is not a fault.
The broad-jump is the only jump where the length, not the height, of the jump is made appropriate to the size of the dog competing. The broad jump is generally made of two to five panels, laid out on the ground, testing the dog's ability to leap all of the panels in a single broad bound.
There are two sorts of tunnels: open and closed.
Open tunnels have the same diameter at all points. They may be placed straight or bent at one or more points along their length, forming L or U or other shapes. These tunnels are sometimes bent under contact obstacles like A-frames or dogwalks.
Closed tunnels have an open entry, but then become collapsed fabric tubes that the dogs must push through to the end. These are always set up so that the dogs go straight through them; they are never bent.
The weave poles are one of the hardest obstacles to train. The dog must "slalom" through 6 to 12 poles, always starting around the right side of the first pole and weaving alternate poles thereafter.
The pause table height is set appropriately for the height class of the dog running the course. The judge decides before the trial whether the dog must sit or lie down on the table. Whichever posture is required, the dog must hold the posture on the table for 5 seconds.
Scoring is done on the basis of accuracy first and time second. That is, a dog completing a course without faulting on any obstacle will outplace a faster dog that has made course faults.
Faults are given for
Because there is a standard course time set for each course, based on the length of the course and the level of competition, a very slow dog will not be able to complete the course without faults, no matter how accurately it performs the obstacles.
In addition, teams may be disqualified if the handler touches the dog deliberately during a run, treats the dog harshly (including verbal abuse), or trains during a run. If the handler touches any obstacle, the team is likewise disqualified.
Other Doggery Agility Pages
Static Agility Clipart by Mary Jo Sminkney of
Animated Image of Agility Tunnel by Graphics From Fuzzy Faces Free Doggy Graphics.