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It requires patience, time, and training. But despite the hard work, agility is a favorite sport among pet owners around the world. Agility is an exciting team sport because dog and handler must depend on each other for direction and communication.
Kathleen Kalwa: I love agility, a great exercise for my dog and for me. And the skills you develop as a team are just incredible.
The handler guides the dog through a timed obstacle course. Courses can consist of tunnels, jumps, A-frames, and poles and each team must follow the obstacles in a specific order. The team is judged on the timing and accuracy in which the course is completed. In other words, the team who finishes the course in the shortest amount of time with the least mistakes wins! Courses are designed by an agility judge making each one unique. The difficulty of the courses are based on level of competition. Dogs are also divided into classes based on size and ability making it fair for dogs of every size and level to compete. Before the competition begins, handlers are allowed to walk the course to plan their strategy. During the competition, handlers run alongside their dogs, giving direction so it’s important that handlers learn the course and know where to position themselves to direct their pet. Many pet owners find that agility strengthens the relationship with their pet. It improves communication and training and provides a fun exercise to keep dogs healthy. Agility is a wonderful activity for both pets and people.
KK: It’s a whole new social circle and friends that you keep and you root for each other and you want everybody to do well. And that’s the fun of it. The ribbons are cool too!
Personally, Petside thinks agility should be one of the first official sports if the Pet Olympics ever come to fruition!
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