Agility Starters Course

Alfie in full flight (Photo by Vicky Burns of CADAC)

Agility is a a great dog sport which is constantly growing in popularity. By taking part in this sometimes addictive sport, dog & handler teams form a very deep bond. The dog needs to be able to react to both verbal and body language cues from her handler, and the handler needs to be able to communicate the course to his dog at just the right moment. The two main competitive agility clubs in South Wales are Phoenix Agility Club in Bridgend and Caerphilly and District Agility Club (CADAC) that train in the same venue as these classes on a Monday night. I am one of the instructors at CADAC and also sit on the organising committee.

Both of these clubs require new starters to have a solid working relationship with their dogs before commencing training. The aim of these sessions is to prepare dogs and handlers so that they a ready to begin their competitive training.

In the six week course we will begin by covering the basics of communicating effectively with your dog, and teaching your dog to look to you for instructions – rather than running off to entertain himself.  We will also introduce the dogs to the various pieces of kit -jumps, tunnels, weaves, A-frame, and dog-walk. Once the dogs understand how to negotiate each piece of kit we will begin to put short sequences of obstacles together.

To take part in this sport, dogs should be physically fit and not over-weight. Because we begin gently, the dogs should be able to improve their fitness as the course progresses. While all dogs are welcome, Agility can be difficult for certain breeds. Dachshunds may struggle with hurdles and Newfoundlands may not fit through the tunnels. If you’re not sure whether your dog is suitable, get in touch.