"A bad day at an agility trial is still better than a good day at work!" A great bumper sticker and a motto to live by for those of us who are true agility junkies. It wasn't all that long ago when we would tell someone we do agility with our dogs, all we got were blank stares or questions about what agility was. Times sure have changed! Now it seems like everyone is training in dog agility or at least knows someone who does.
Originating in England, Agility is one of the fastest growing dog sports. Spreading rapidly across the U.S., you can now find an agility trial on almost any given weekend throughout the year. Thanks to TV channels like Animal Planet, those of you who aren't able to venture out on the weekends to our country’s great parks and equestrian centers, can enjoy the spectator appeal of dog agility from the comforts of home.
Dog agility is a fun sport played with a dog (mixed or purebred) and handler team. Running an obstacle course off leash in a set amount of time, teams try to negotiate each piece of equipment safely and without incurring any faults. Faults can be anything from skipping an obstacle, knocking a bar, going off course, or missing a contact.
Agility classes run for 8 weeks and classes are ongoing throughout the year and are offered through Paw Prints Dog Club. Classes are held in Apple Valley and times vary depending on the weather and daylight available.
The first set of classes, Beginner, focuses on foundation building for later agility training with some introduction on low safe obstacles. After completing this level successfully, the students move into Novice where the dogs are introduced to the various obstacles (see description of agility obstacles below). From that point on, the handlers and dogs will take more advanced agility classes. Currently Paw Prints Dog Club offers Beginners, Novice, Intermediate 1 and 2, Advanced, and four higher level handling classes.