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Agility FAQs
Below are answers to some questions that newcomers to agility frequently ask:

What is dog agility?
What obstacles are used?
Why do agility with my dog?
Do I have to be an athlete to do agility with my dog?
What kinds of dogs can participate?
Can I train my puppy to do agility?
Can an older dog learn to do agility?
How often do I have to train my dog?
How can I learn more about agility?
Where can I see agility firsthand?


What is dog agility?
Dog agility is a sport in which handlers direct their dogs over a timed obstacle course, with scoring based on faults and time as in horse show jumping events. No leash or other physical contact to direct the dog is allowed.
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What obstacles are used?
Agility obstacles can be classified as jumps, tunnels, contact obstacles, and miscellaneous obstacles. The following equipment is commonly used in USDAA, AKC, and NADAC trials in the San Diego area:

Jumps:
Non-winged jump
Winged jump
Tire jump
Broad jump

Tunnels:
Open pipe tunnel
Collapsed tunnel (chute)

Contact obstacles:
A-frame
Dog walk
Teeter-totter

Miscellaneous obstacles:
Pause table
Weave poles

UKC agility uses other obstacles, such as the hoop tunnel, crawl tunnel, sway bridge, and swing plank. See the UKC Web site for more details on these obstacles.
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Why do agility with my dog?
Agility has many benefits for both dog and owner: it builds a strong dog-owner bond, provides intellectual stimulation and an energy outlet for the dog, and helps both dog and owner keep in good physical condition. Agility can also help build confidence in a fearful dog.
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Do I have to be an athlete to do agility with my dog?
No, but physical fitness is helpful and one of the bonuses of doing agility.
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What kinds of dogs can participate?
Any dog in good physical condition, regardless of pedigree. If you have a mixed breed (or All-American, as mixed breeds are often called in agility circles) and are interested in competing, USDAA and NADAC trials are common in the Southern California area and allow All-Americans.
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Can I train my puppy to do agility?
Puppies' growing structures are vulnerable to injury, so be careful when training your puppy. Puppies can learn to do tunnels and down-sized versions of the dog walk and teeter. In addition, there are many obedience and teamwork exercises you can do away from the obstacles that will lay the groundwork for a successful agility career. Weave poles and full-height jumping should be delayed until your puppy has reached physical maturity.
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Can an older dog learn to do agility?
Many dogs continue to do agility, for fun or competition, well into their senior years. If your vet has verified that your dog is physically sound, there's no reason why your dog shouldn't learn agility. If you're interested in competing with your older dog, some organizations have special classes that allow your dog to jump at a lower height, and/or extra time to finish the course.
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How often do I have to train my dog?
Your dog doesn't need to be drilled for hours a day; in fact, this type of endless training is often counter-productive. Training sessions should be kept short and fun for the dog. Many successful competitors practice on contact equipment only once or twice a week in a formal class setting; they may practice directional control, jumping, and weave poles on their own outside of class.
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How can I learn more about agility?
Check out our agility Web sites page. Here you'll find links to organizations that promote agility, articles about all facets of agility, and vendors who sell agility books, videos, and other agility-related products.
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Where can I see agility firsthand?
See our Calendar for a list of our upcoming trials and fun matches. Spectators are always welcome at these events.
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