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Dog Agility is one of the fastest growing sports in "Dogdom." It was first introduced in England, when it was presented as a sort of "half time" show for entertainment at the Crufts Dog Show in 1978. Dog Agility is fast, exciting and has a lot of spectator appeal. It is a sport in which you and your dog navigate through a predetermined course of obstacles as determined by the governing venue rules and regulations, on a course determined by a certified judge.

In Dog Agility there are vertical levels of competition, e.g., Novice, Open and Masters or Elite, to which you typically earn the right to compete at the higher and more difficult levels by qualifying at least three separate times at each lower level. Each subsequent higher level is of course, more difficult to complete, since the number of obstacles is increased and the course design more complex, with "traps" built in to test the dog and handler in order that they have to carefully plan their strategy to complete the course with a "clean run.". The courses are also timed, and depending upon the yardage of the courses, each level is given a maximum time in which to complete the course. Penalties and or disqualifications are assessed if the dog and handler team is over time, off course, or knocks down an obstacle.

There are four main governing venues in which these teams can compete to earn "titles" on the dogs. The American Kennel Club (AKC), the North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC), Canine Performance Events (CPE), and the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA). Each venue has a slightly different set of rules, standards and types of courses. All offer championships and local, national and international competitions. The "titles" are hard won and although they do not give the teams any financial return, they mean a great deal to the owners and handlers, giving them a huge sense of accomplishment, honor and respect for spending the time, energy and dedication necessary to progress so far.

Basically, dog agility is a game you play with your dog. It takes a large investment of time, with a huge return of fun and the chance to travel and meet new people. It offers a great way to stay in shape and keeps your dog healthy and happy and lets you do something with him that is a much greater challenge than sitting around the house and barking at the neighbor's cat!

GGPWCF hosts an AKC sanctioned agility trial in September of each year, featuring many of it's members stellar agility atheletes!



Thanks to Fuzzy Faces Free Dog Graphics


By Lisa Halop, 2005 (updated 2015)

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