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No matter what the size, dogs love the competition and exercise afforded by dog agility training and events. This is the perfect way to bond with pets and get your daily dose of exercise.

In this section, we describe the obstacles, look at an example course map, learn about the many titles that can be earned and list some further resources.

Use the Table of Contents on the right to continue your agility journey.

AgilityRing

Novice Preferred qualifying run from D'Nae Wilson:

 

 


Dog agility equipment can be somewhat confusing to the beginner. Each obstacle has a name, although it may be referenced by another word, depending on the locale of the trial. Each handler will also have a specific call word (instructional word) that will help the dog to know what he is supposed to do. Some obstacles require a dog to jump over or through an area, while others require the dog to encounter a “yellow zone”. It helps to be aware of the various terms before attending a trial.

A-Frameaf tmb

This contact obstacle is constructed of two large aluminum or wooden planks that are 3' wide and 9' long. The planks are set up to form the peak of triangle, or 'A' shape. The A-Frame is also known as a scaling wall, frame, wall, or mountain. The dog is to ascend a somewhat steep incline and then come down on the other side making sure that his paws come in contact with the yellow zone. Common handler instructions or call words include “charge”, “mountain”, “wall”, and “climb”.

Broad Jump

In the broad jump, the dog is required to jump the distance of a horizontal plane. Jump height is not as important in this obstacle, as the boards are only 6”-12” high. This obstacle is almost placed in the form of a very low table with an incline, but the dog is not to contact any area of the formation; he is required to clear the distance in full. This is also known as a long jump. Common handler instructions or call words for the broad jump include “over”, “jump”, and “hup”.

Chutechutetmb

Similar in function to a tunnel, the chute has one end held open by a plastic barrel that measure 22” in diameter; 10'-12' of fabric is attached to this barrel at one end, allowing an opening is the fabric for the dog to begin navigating the obstacle. The middle and opposite end of fabric are not supported by coils or a tube. As the dog runs through the chute, he pushes the fabric open, allowing him to come out of the opposite end. This is called a chute, closed tunnel, or simply a tunnel. Common handler instructions or call words include “tunnel”, “zoom”, “go”, “through”, and “push”.

Contact ttir tmb

The contact obstacles include the A-Frame, Dog Walk, Teeter and Table. The contact obstacles have an area or areas that are painted yellow. At least one of the dogs paws must physically touch each contact area. The handler may instruct the dog to “touch”, “paw” or “get it” to make sure that contact with the yellow portion occurs. This helps to ensure that the dog will not attempt to leap on to or off an obstacle at a height that could pose a risk of injury. In the case of the table, the dog will be expected to pause for five seconds in either a sitting or standing position.

Dog Walkwalk thm

The dog walk is a contact obstacle constructed of three 8' - 12' planks. It is sometimes called a balance beam, catwalk, or plank. The dog ascends on one side, walks straight across quickly and without wavering, then descends the opposite side. His paws must make contact with the yellow zone; the dog may not leap over this contact area. Common handler instructions or call words for the dog walk include “climb”, “walk”, “walk it”, and “walk on”.

Jumpsjumptmb

The bar jump obstacle is made of PVC piping which is formed into a base. A minimum of two bars are then placed on the base at the height required for the dog competing. Wings can be added to each side; this offers increased stability, a slight distraction to the dog (requiring increased attention) and an increase in the distance of dog to handler. Bar height is adjustable from 4”-26”. This jump is known as a hurdle or bar jump. Common handler instructions or call words include “over”, “hup”, “jump” and “up”.
The panel jump is essentially the bar jump, but panels are added to make the obstacle appear solid, with no space between bars. The panel jump is also known as a wall or hurdle. Call words would be the same as with the bar jump.

Spread Jumps

The spread jump is of the same construction as the bar jump, though it is a series of two or three bars which ascend over a horizontal plane, requiring the dog to not only jump to a specific height, but to span the width of the horizontal plane as well. Both the height and width of this obstacle are adjustable. This obstacle can be called a spread jump, double jump, or triple jump. Call words are the same as those used for other jumps.

Table

The table is another contact obstacle. It is constructed of wood and sometimes plastic as well. The dog must stop on the table for a full five seconds in either a standing or sitting position (refer to judge's instructions per this obstacle). Also known as a pause table, pause box, or box. Common handler instructions or call words include “get up”, “rest”, “get on”, “place”, “load up”, or “box”.

Teeterttir tmb

The teeter is a contact obstacle constructed of wood or vinyl. It consists of a single plank balanced on a metal or plastic frame allowing the board to 'teeter' back and forth with the dog's weight. The dog must ascend the approach and use his balance when he reaches the middle of the teeter, located directly above the frame; the pausing action that the dog will make at mid-point stabilizes the teeter and allows him to use his weight so that the opposite side comes in contact with the ground. The dog then makes his descent. The teeter can also be called a seesaw, tip-it, or teeter-totter (these terms are also the commonly used handler call words).

Tiretiretmb

This jump obstacle is not actually a tire. It is constructed of corrugated plastic tubing formed into a ring shape, which is held by a metal or PVC frame using cording and a chain. The dog is required to leap clearly through the 19” - 24” opening. The tire may be referred to as a tire jump, ring, or hoop. Common handler instructions or call words for the tire include “through”, “jump through”, or “hoop”.

Tunneltunneltmb

The tunnel is an open tube formed by a metal coil, which is then covered in full with vinyl. The tunnel ranges from 10'-20' long with an opening diameter of 24”. The dog is to navigate through the tunnel as quickly as possible. This may also be called an open tunnel or tube. Call words include “zoom”, “tunnel”, “go”, and “through”.

Weavesweave1tmb

This obstacle consists of between 6 and 12 vinyl poles that are secured in a straight line to a metal base. The poles will be spaced 20” - 24” apart depending on the trial sanctioning. The dog enters with the first pole on his left and then weaves in and out of the remaining poles until he reaches the end. The weaves are also called weave poles, slaloms, or slalom poles. Common handler instructions or call words include “in”, “out”, “weave”, “zig-zag”, “snake”, “slalom”, and “wiggle”.

Example Agility course

agility course


 

You find all kinds of abbreviations before and after the names of agility competitors. Here are a few of the common titles you might see.

PATH TO AN AKC AGILITY TITLEagilitycartoon
AKC agility titles are broken down into two large groupings, Regular and Preferred. Within each grouping, there are three title tracks.

REGULAR AGILITY TITLES:

Standard Agility:

NA – Novice Agility
Requires three passing scores in the Novice Standard ring, before at least two different judges.

OA – Open Agility
Requires three passing scores in the Open Standard ring, before at least two different judges. Prerequisite for competing is an NA title.

AX – Agility Excellent
Requires three passing scores in the Excellent A Standard ring, before at least two different judges. Prerequisite for competing is an OA title.

MX – Master Agility Excellent
Requires ten passing scores in the Excellent B Standard ring, before at least two different judges. Prerequisite for competing is an AX title.


Jumpers with Weaves:

NAJ – Novice Agility Jumper
Requires three passing scores in the Novice Jumpers ring, before at least two different judges.

OAJ – Open Agility Jumper
Requires three passing scores in the Open Jumpers ring, before at least two different judges. Prerequisite for competing is an NAJ title.

AXJ – Excellent Agility Jumper
Requires three passing scores in the

Excellent A Jumpers ring, before at least two different judges. Prerequisite for competing is an OAJ title.

MXJ – Master Excellent Jumper with Weaves
Requires ten passing scores in the Excellent B Jumpers ring, before at least two different judges. Prerequisite for competing is an AXJ title.

FAST (Fifteen and Send Time):

The third title track in AKC is FAST, a program that’s been around only since 2007. This competition places a premium on strategy and distance handling. Most dogs love doing FAST.

NF – Novice FAST
Requires three passing scores in the Novice FAST ring, before at least two different judges.

OF – Open FAST
Requires three passing scores in the Open FAST ring, before at least two different judges. Prerequisite for competing is an NF title.

XF – Excellent FAST
Requires three passing scores in the Excellent A FAST ring, before at least two different judges. Prerequisite for competing is an OF title.

MXF – Master Excellent FAST
Requires ten passing scores in the Excellent B FAST ring, before at least two different judges. Prerequisite for competing is an XF title.

FTC – FAST Century 1
Requires accumulation of 100 performances in the Excellent B FAST ring, earning a minimum score of 60 (out of a possible 80). Prerequisite for competing is an MXF title.

Once the FTC title is achieved, each additional 100 qualifying performances earn a higher FTC designation – FTC2, FTC3, and so forth.

TQX – Triple Q Excellent
Finally, tying all three agility tracks together, in April 2010 the AKC created the Triple Q Excellent, or TQX, title. This title requires ten triple-qualifying scores in Standard Agility, Jumpers with Weaves, and FAST. A triple-qualifying score is obtained by earning passing scores in the Excellent B level of Standard, Jumpers, and FAST, all in a single day of competition.

 


 

Links to Agility Resources

LeoU does not gaurantee these links.  We would appreciate being notified if you find any broken or unsatisfactory. 

What is Agility An explanation of the AKC agility competition.

The Basics of Agility Step by step information on dog agility

St. Louis Agility The history of the sport with several links for more information.

Canine Performance Events The CPE website with information on competitions.

Obstable Training A list of each obstacle with training tips for each one.

Equipment Specifications Detailed information on the specific sizes and heights of the obstacles allowed in competition.

Atheltic Dogs A list of all the agility obstacles with links to descriptions of each.

USDAA scoring Detailed information on the rules and scoring for the USDAA.

AKC Points How AKC championship points are counted

NADAC Exhibitors Handbook A complete guide to the NADAC rules and scoring.

Novice Agility Trail Guide A comparison of scoring and faults for the three big agility trails on one page.

North American Dog Agility Council The official site of the North American Dog Agility Council for all information needed about joining a competition.

Complete Agility Guide A guide to agility training, competitions, and course design.

USDAA The United States Dog Agility Council website provides information on the USDAA competitions.

Agility Organizations A list of agility organizations with links to their websites.