Agility is a sport for dogs and their handlers to get fit and have fun together. The sport requires dogs to learn and perform various obstacles such as going through tunnels, navigating through weave poles, and using other equipment to successfully complete a course.
Dog Agility is a sport open to most dogs, and is growing in popularity due to its inclusivity. Small breeds such as Terriers and larger breeds such as Retrievers could all be suited to learn and compete in agility.
To help ensure a fair competition, obstacle jump heights are suited to the dogs. As per the Australian National Kennel Club (ANKC) agility rules, jumps will be set at 200 mm, 300mm, 400mm, 500 mm or 600mm based on the height of the dog at the withers.
There are many dog training clubs in NSW (and Australia) that offer agility training and the Hawkesbury Dog Agility Club (HDAC) specialises in offering agility training for dogs who are at the very beginning of their journey right up to those who are at the top of their game. Our Chief Instructors are some of the best performing competitors in Australia, some of which have won numerous prestigious State and National Agility Title Awards.
Some handlers and dogs may only decide to come to training for the fun of it all… while the serious teams can move into the competition ring from 18 months of age.
At HDAC, dogs can join our club from nine months of age when their joints and bodies are starting to become fully developed and it is safe for them to learn agility using the equipment. Fit adult dogs can commence training at any age, however HDAC recommends a common sense approach for dogs who are older as agility may not be the best sport for them.
Be aware that a few breeds may not be suitable for agility and it may be advisable they become spectators rather than participants. It is also advisable not to train overweight dogs, dogs with various health concerns, or dogs with joint problems without consulting your vet first. Our club will advise on whether agility is the right sport for you and your dog.
How to enter an agility competition
Before entering your first ANKC agility competition, you will need to become a member of DOGS NSW (or another state body if you live in a different state). You can choose to join as an Associate Member if you do want all of the benefits of a full membership. Click here to learn how to join DOGS NSW.
Register your agility dog with DOGS NSW. If your dog is not a pedigree with ANKC/DOGS NSW Main or Limited registration papers, you can choose to apply for an Associate registration for your dog which will require them to be desexed prior to submitting your application. The Associate Register is open to any dog that doesn’t hold a pedigree – purebred or crossbred. This allows those dogs to compete in the performance based disciplines such as agility and compete for titles. Click here to download the DOGS NSW Associate register application form for your dog.
After you submit your application, DOGS NSW will mail you out your membership information and once you have your DOGS NSW membership number (and your dog is registered), you and your dog can enter into Agility trials. Membership is renewed annually. As part of your DOGS NSW membership, you may receive an online newsletter that will provide you information on upcoming trials and competitions. Take a careful look at the trial schedule which will detail how to enter the competition and the entry closing date. Most agility competitions can be entered online.
Your agility dog will need to have an official measurement taken prior to entering any agility competitions. This is to ensure that they are being entered into the correct height class. In ANKC agility trials, there are five height categories and your dog will be placed into a category depending on their measurement. To get measured, you need two agility judges to do this and this should be done before you enter your first trial in case you are asked to produce your dogs height card. Dogs measured before two years of age will require a re-check to ensure they are still in the correct height class.
HDAC encourages its Blue and Silver class members to enter agility trials, with a recommendation to start off by entering Novice Jumping at a trial being held at our training grounds. Try not to enter too many classes at first as this could overwhelm both you and your dog.