Dog Agility Training A True Test of Your Dogs Agility and Intelligence

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

Dog Agility Training A True Test of Your Dogs Agility and Intelligence

by Mike Long

Dog agility training made its debut in Great Britain in 1977, inspired by the timed cross-country and stadium jumping in equestrian combined training events. The sport consists of an inspiring team of a dog and his handler negotiating a course of obstacles. The trainer gives commands while the dog quickly manipulates his way around jumps, tunnels, dog walks, see-saws, A frames, and weave poles.

Competitions are judged based on time and the dog's ability to clear the obstacles. Although the sport is loved mostly by its competitors it is also a treat for the spectators.

Dog agility training competition is a serious and well organized sport with many guidelines and regulations. The two divisions in the competition are based on the dog's size. A dog between sixteen and twenty-one inches from the shoulder is put in the mini division.

Competitors in the 'mini' division are required to complete courses with jump heights being twelve inches, eighteen inches and twenty-four inches. Dogs measuring over twenty-one inches at the shoulders compete in the 'open' division and are required to jump twenty-six, twenty-eight, and thirty inches. Competitors must be measured by an approved dog agility judge prior to the competition.

Before beginning training, the dog's growth plates must have closed in order to prevent injury. Growth plates close around nine months old. At this time the animal can begin dog agility training and will be ready for competition when he is able to clear the jump heights in his division.

How do dogs get started in dog agility training?

The first step in the dog's competitive career is the 'starter' division; this division is reserved for dogs that do not yet hold agility titles. After the dog has one clean round he earns his 'starter' title. With this title the dog is qualified to compete in the advanced level. To earn an 'Advanced Title' the dog must successfully clear three rounds judged by two different judges.

At this time the dog is eligible to compete in the 'masters' classes. In order for the dog to earn a 'Masters' title he must successfully complete a six part qualification process. This process includes versatility classes with three clean rounds by two different judges. The 'masters' title also requires three successfully completed games courses with qualifying scores from two judges.

Not every dog can be a 'Master', but they sure have fun trying. Dog agility training is a fun and challenging sport enjoyed by many people around the country, but none of them are having nearly as much fun as the dogs.

Mike Long runs a dog training website that focuses on educating people about the different ways of training your dog or puppy. If you would like to learn more, including additional articles, and training tips, tricks, and ideas, check out his site at

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