Dog Agility Training – what is it and how to teach a dog

April 5, 2023
Dog Training
Dog Agility Training - what is it and how to teach a dog

The article should be corrected according to the stylistic rules of Wikipedia.

[1] (English agility – speed, agility, dexterity) – a relatively new sport with a dog, which was invented in England in the late 70s and is rapidly gaining popularity around the world.

Agility Rules

The World Cynological Federation FCI has drawn up the regulations and rules for the competition. The refereeing command is certified for refereeing competitions of different levels. Sports with a dog are not as popular as hockey or football, but this sport is just as spectacular as show jumping.

The rules and regulations are described by the FCI. Before the start, the handler can go into the ring with shells and memorize the serial numbers, the order in which the dog overcomes obstacles. Build a strategy knowing your pet, because for fast jumps you have to give commands either with your left or with your right hand. If the dog has an unloved projectile, then the handler will have Stand with his back to him, and when the time comes to overcome the obstacle, send the dog from behind. A well-thought-out strategy and coherence of the command gives every chance to take a prize.

To pass the track, the command is given the maximum time, if the dog ran to the finish line later, then it is removed from the competition. The judge can also remove the dog from the track if the dog refuses to pass the projectile three times.

All implements on the track have their own serial number, if the handler sent the dog to another implement or the dog ran and overcame an obstacle not by number, then the judge also removes the dog from the competition.

On the track, the judge evaluates the passage of projectiles and awards penalty points. If the dog jumped off the contact zone ahead of time, if the bar on the barrier fell, 5 penalty points are awarded. The winner is the dog that scored the least number of penalties and passed the track earlier. The course cannot be longer than 200 meters.

It is forbidden for a dog to perform in a collar, the handler is forbidden to have objects in his hands. This is done so that the dog understands the words and gestures of the owner. A laser pointer or toy in the hands of an experienced handler can help the dog avoid making mistakes.

General information

This sport appeared in the UK in the late 1970s. Now in the world there are many organizations of agility lovers, holding competitions and attracting the attention of many spectators. The prize amount of some agility championships reaches 10 thousand dollars[2][3][4][5][6].

Agility is a competition in which a person called a guide (athlete, sometimes a handler) guides a dog through an obstacle course. When passing, both speed and accuracy are taken into account. Dogs should run without the encouragement of food or toys. The handler has no right to touch the dog or obstacles, except for accidental touches. Consequently, the handler's means of control are limited to voice, gestures, and various body signals, which require exceptional animal training.

Agility training is open to both young and adult dogs. [7][8].

In its simplest form, an agility obstacle course consists of a series of standard objects that are placed by a judge of his choice on an area approximately 30 by 30 meters. The objects are numbered showing the order in which the dog must pass them. Obstacles are difficult to such an extent that the dog could not pass them on his own. In competition, the handler must evaluate the course, choose the right strategy and guide the dog through the obstacle course, keeping in mind the equal importance of both passing speed and passing accuracy.

There are many strategies that compensate for the innate difference in human and dog speeds, and also take into account the strengths and weaknesses of a particular handler-dog pair. The ability to pass this or that obstacle depends on the individual abilities of the dog, the characteristics of the breed[7][8][9].

What is agility?

What is Adjility?

Agility is the overcoming of an obstacle course by a dog. This is a command sport, a dog and its owner take part in it, who gives commands and directs in the right direction.

The main thing in this sport is contact and complete mutual understanding between man and animal, as well as good training, since the cleanliness and speed of the route depends on this.

Agility courses consist of various obstacles that must be completed in a certain sequence.

These obstacles are of various types:

  • Contact obstacles – those that involve direct contact of the animal with the obstacle itself (usually a slide, swing, tunnel, and so on);
  • Jumping obstacles, that is, those that involve the dog making a jump (barrier, ring);
  • Other obstacles. This includes agility equipment such as slalom (parallel sticks arranged vertically in a row that the dog snakes when passed) and square/podium (a fenced or raised square platform on which the dog must freeze in one position for a certain amount of time).

Experienced handlers take into account the individual and breed characteristics of each dog, as well as its "guide". This allows you to achieve good results and successfully pass the track.

There are various agility competitions and certificates that are given for the successful passage of the track several times in a row. These competitions have their own requirements, marks and penalties for mistakes.

Competition Rules

Since each obstacle course is different from the others, athletes are allowed a short run through it before the start of the competition. During it, all athletes competing in a particular class can walk or run along the obstacle course without dogs, determining exactly how to lead their dog along the route in order to get the most accurate and fastest way around the numbered obstacles.

A test run is very important to success because the obstacle course includes various turns, even turns or 270° turns, may cross itself or use the same obstacle several times, may include two obstacles so close to each other that the dog andthe handler may be confused about which one is next, there may be another obstacle or a sufficiently large distance between the handler and the dog. There are lane maps that show the route along it in the form of photographs. Maps are commonly used by guides to make it easier for them to draw up their strategych cards are more often used by beginners. Printed agility course cards, called obstacle cards, are often given to handlers prior to participation to help guide themch a map contains images indicating the position and orientation of all obstacles, and numbers indicating the order in which the obstacles are passed. Initially, maps were created by hand, but now there is a computer program that helps to draw them. It's called "Clean Run Course Designer".

Each command of dog and handler has one attempt to pass the strip successfully. The dog starts from the starting line and, guided by the handler, runs through all the obstacles in order. The handler usually runs alongside the dog, guiding it with vocal commands and gestures (position of arms, shoulders, and legs). Since speed counts as much as accuracy, especially in higher level competitions, it is important that not only the dog but also his partner try. The result of the runs depends on how many mistakes are made. Penalties can be given not only for errors in passing obstacles, such as knocking down the crossbar during a jump, but also for time errors, which are the number of seconds spent in excess of the standard estimated time of the strip, which in turn is determined based on the level of competition, the complexity of the strip, and other factors.

Requirements for dogs and owners in dog agility

Agility for dogs provides almost no restrictions for either pet owners or their pets. The owners themselves can be of any gender and age. There are also no restrictions on sports qualifications. Requirements for dogs are slightly different from humans. The dog must have completed a general training course (OKD), and the dog must be at least 15 months old. The upper age threshold is determined by the physical condition and health of the pet. If the dog is active and alert, it will be allowed to compete. The purity of the breed in dog agility is not important. Along with aristocratic breeds that have a pedigree, mestizos and mutts can also be allowed to compete. However, if the competition is run by FCI representatives, outbred pets may not be allowed.

When deciding on the participation of a pet in an agility competition for dogs, it is necessary to evaluate the dimensions of the pet. Large dogs will not be able to quickly pass the track, and on high barriers and tunnels, an unprepared animal can dislocate something or break something. The owner must first of all understand whether the dog is physically ready to go through a difficult track without harm to his health.

Thus, the ideal pet for dog agility should have the necessary sports skills, obedience, health, the required activity, and most importantly, understand and obey the commands of their mentor – the owner. Only with such a dog you can quickly and efficiently pass the track with all the obstacles and take a worthy place.

Types of obstacles in agility

The bestdogfood.Expert for adjility, the regulations of various organizations defines several different rules and sizes for the construction and installation of obstacles. However, the canonical form of most obstacles is the same, wherever they are used.

Obstacles are the following types:

Obstacles with contact zones

The Hungarian outbreak overcomes the hill of two wide shields, usually approximately a meter width and a three-meter length connected together and raised so that the height of the connection bestdogfood.Expert is about 1. 5-2 meters from the ground to make a triangle. A meter from the ground, the shields are bright, usually yellow, forming a contact zone on which the dog should place at least one paw, rising and descending. Most organizations require that the hill has low narrow, horizontal strips along the entire length of its constituent shields to help a dog running up or down. Some organizations allow shields at the top of the hill to be narrower than at the base.

Velsh cargs on a swing

Board 3-4 meters long, which can rotate around the axis, like children's swings. This design is slightly unbalanced so that one of the ends always lay on the base. This is done either by a small displacement of the axis relative to the center, or with the loading of one of the ends of the board. This obstacle also has contact zones. However, unlike other obstacles with contact zones, the swing has no planks. The balance of the swing and the weight of the board should be such that even a tiny dog, such as Chihuahua, can force the upper end of the swing to fall within a reasonable amount of time determined by the rules of the organization (usually approximately 2 seconds). Swing, along with slalom, are considered one of the most difficult obstacles, since in life a dog rarely meets moving and balancing objects in this way, and it is difficult for it to adapt to them [7] [8].

A meter-sized platform located at a height just above a meter with slopes, descending from the base from three or four sides. The dog should rise to the right slope and then go down the slope indicated by the handler, possibly changing the direction, if necessary. This is not often used an obstacle, mainly due to its size.

Border Colli at adjility competitions three boards 3-4 meters long and 25-30 cm wide, connected sequentially. The central board is raised approximately a meter above the base, so that two extreme boards form slopes going down to the base from the central board. This obstacle also has contact zones. Most organizations also require planks on boats of boat.

The boxer runs out of the tunnel

  • A pipe or a hard tunnel.

Vinyl pipe 3-6 meters long and approximately 60 cm in diameter through which the dog runs [10]. The tunnel has such a design that it can be direct or curved in a different way.

A similar barrel is a short cylinder made of hard material, to which a pipe made of fabric is attached. The length of the fabric pipe is about 3-4 m. It lies on the base, closing the output until the dog runs to the end of the tunnel.

Obstacles for jumping

The Australian shepherd in the jump two racks support the horizontal crossbar that the dog jumps. Height can adapt to dogs of various heights. Racks can be simple supports or can have wings of various shapes, sizes, and colors.

  • Double or triple jump

Two racks supporting two or three horizontal crossbars located one after another. With double jumping, they can be located at the same height or increase, with a triple there is always a crossbar located higher. The distance between horizontal crossbars is sometimes regulated by the height of the dog.

  • Jump over the fence

How to get started in Dog Agility | Dog Tips and Tricks

Instead of horizontal crossbars, a shield of the desired height is used, made up of several short panels, some of which can be removed to adapt the height for dogs of various growth.

A number of four or five low platforms that form a wide area through which the dog should jump, without touching the paws of any of the platforms. The length of the jump is adapted to the growth of the dog.

  • Jump through the tire

A ring, approximately with a car tire fixed in the frame. The dog should jump through the hole of the tire. As with other jumps, the height is adapted for dogs of various sizes. The tire is usually wrapped in tape, both for beauty and to close any holes or irregularities for which the dog can catch on.

Some organizations also use other, sometimes quite original types of obstacles for jumping, such as a jump over a bush or water barrier.

Other types of obstacles

The border-clalls passes with slalom, the raised square platform in the size of a meter per meter, on which the dog should run and stop, sometimes in a sitting position, sometimes in a Down position, for a certain period of time, which is determined by the judge, usually approximately 5 seconds. The height of the catwalk is approximately 20-75 cm, depending on the height of the dog and the organization.

  • Square (option of the podium)

A square, fenced on the basis, usually a plastic pipe or a construction tape, where the dog should stop (sitting or Down) in the same way as on the catwalk.

12 vertical racks, each approximately 1 m high, located at a distance of about 50 cm one after another, through which the dog should pass the "snake". The dog should always start with the first counter to the left of it, and should not pass the racks. For most dogs, slalom is one of the most difficult obstacles [7].

Advantages of Adjilitia for Dogs

An exciting adventure in the fresh air and the ability to better understand each other, an important component for a pet. Joint pastime and interaction on the level of view will help the dog better understand the beloved owner. At the training in adjility, the owner and the dog become one command, and if the pet manages to guess which shell will be as follows, then it is completely delighted.

Physical activity on all types of animal muscles gives the output of energy accumulated per day. An hourly training with jumping and fast runners replaces a run of 7 kilometers. The pet after the lesson gets tired not only physically, but also mentally. It is very important for the dog to find his own occupation, because Down on the couch for a predator is not characteristic.

In the lesson, the dog is joyful and in a good mood, because Adjility is an exciting game for her. The obedience and understanding of the owner with the pet becomes better, and the motivation to guess the owner’s desire remains for all the time.

Adjility is a command sport, handler or conductor and his dog. Hendler runs the dog on the bestdogfood.Expert with voice and gestures. Shells are marked with numbers and Hendler sends the dog to the desired shell. Moving along the site, the conductor must calculate the short trajectory and make the dog understand which shell will be next to overcome. The fastest dog takes first place.

The correctness of the projectile and the accuracy of the execution are also taken into account in competitions. On the bestdogfood.Expert is not allowed to give a delicacy and touch the dog. The collar and leash should also remain with the ring.

Counting glasses and types of errors

Each organization has its own rules about what constitutes a fault and whether a try can be scored if there were infractions. A completed run, which is completed in the minimum time with a minimum of errors, stops, etc. Is considered valid. A clean mileage is a mileage without errors.

For various organizations, the following actions may be considered errors:

  • Time Error: Using more time to run than the standard lane time.
  • Loss of contact: the dog did not touch the contact zone with its paw while performing an obstacle with the contact zone.
  • Knocked down bar: The dog moved or dropped the bar while jumping.
  • Slalom fault: entering between posts on the wrong side (the dog must start from the first post on the left side of it), skipping a post, or moving backwards in an attempt to pass the missed posts.
  • Departure from the route: an error in the sequence of passing obstacles.
  • Refusal: the dog approached the correct obstacle, but hesitated for a long time or refused to perform it.
  • Pass: The dog ran past the obstacle.
  • Handler Error: The handler intentionally – or in some cases accidentally – touches the dog or obstacle.
  • Obstacle repetition: the handler directs the dog to repeat an obstacle it has already passed when the rules do not allow it. The penalty for this is set by the organization: the athlete may be forgiven, the command may be deducted but allowed to continue, the athlete and dog may be allowed to finish their run but receive the maximum obstacle course time, and so on. Some organizations have no penalty for repeating an obstacle.
  • Other errors: the dog bit the judge or handler, the dog or handler showed unsportsmanlike conduct, the dog ran out of the ring, the athlete used toys or treats in the ring, the dog ran with a collar (in organizations that ban collars during a race), and so on.

Dog agility training

As in any sport, in agility training it is important to do everything correctly and as successfully as possible, without harming your health. Here are some general guidelines for self-training your dog.

  • You can start training from the age of 4 months, but to start learning agility, the dog must know the basic commands and clearly follow them;
  • From the very beginning of training, everything must be organized so that the dog perceives them as entertainment, then the effectiveness of the training will be higher;

Ajility should be a game for the dog, a pleasant pastime. Photo: Sheltieboy

Inventory for adjility. Initially, for training, you will definitely need a treat for which your pet will most willingly perform various tasks. You may also need a collar and leash, but try to move away from their use as soon as possible, because in the competitions nothing of the kind is allowed (neither a collar, nor a delicacy, nor even the presence of a leash from a handler).

And, of course, you will need special shells to work out the passage of the Ajility highway. They usually have them in a dog-for-dog school, if you want to train a dog at home, then you will need to make them yourself. At the same time, it is necessary to take into account the size of the dog and its capabilities, and, most importantly, the safety of shells for it.

Classes of adjility

The existence of various sets of obstacles and possible mistakes make the existence of many variations of adjility that are called classes. A typical obstacle course is located on a bestdogfood.Expert of about 30 by 30 meters in size with a distance between obstacles of about 3-6 meters. Judges can create their own obstacles or choose any option from previously used. Each organization decides which adjility classes it will support and what competition rules will be used for everyone, but among the classes there are much in common. Here are some options for adjility classes:

Dog Agility Training - what is it and how to teach a dog will need special shells

Dog agility training – what is it and how to teach a dog


Most often, the word adjility is called precisely this type of competition. A numbered obstacle course is used, usually at least one obstacle to each species from obstacles to the contact zone plus obstacles for jumping, tunnels and slalomas of different types. For beginners, the strip most often contains about 15 obstacles, up to 22 obstacles can be used in high-level competitions. The dog should overcome obstacles in the correct order within the standard time of the obstacle strip.


The numbered obstacle course is used, consisting mainly of various obstacles for jumping. Depending on the organization, various types of slalomes and tunnels may also be included. The dog should overcome obstacles in the correct order within the standard time of the obstacle strip. Dogs develop the fastest speed on these bands of obstacles, since there are no obstacles to the contact zone that slow down animals.

Jackpot or Joker

Unsubricated obstacle course is used. The game usually consists of two parts, the introductory period and the final period, also known as the Joker or Jackpot. In the introductory period, the dog has a certain amount of time to overcome any obstacles to choosing a handler and accumulate glasses that are given for obstacles. After that, the second part of the competition begins. The dog has a certain small amount of time (usually approximately 15 seconds) to fulfill the sequence of obstacles determined by the judge in advance. The difficulty lies in the fact that there is a line for which the athlete does not have the right to intercede, and which is usually drawn on the ground parallel to the obstacle band at a distance of 3 to 6 meters, depending on the level of competitions.. The conductor must choose such obstacles in the introductory period so thatMaximize the skills and experience of a particular dog. The sequence of obstacles should be such that the dog is in a convenient position in order to immediately begin to pass obstacles at the beginning of the second part of the competition. The biggest problem is to control the dog at a distance.


The type of adjility based on the billiard game Snucker. At least 3 red obstacles for jumping are exposed on the obstacle strip, each of which is indicated by the number 1, and six other obstacles numbered with numbers from 2 to 7. The dog gains glasses, the number of which is determined by the obstacle number. These competitions also have two parts, introductory and final. In the introductory sequence, the dog should pass one of the obstacles at number 1, then any obstacle from 2 to 7, then the next obstacle number 1 and again any from 2 to 7 (including what has already been performed), and the last obstacle number 1, and forany one more from 2 to 7. After the successful completion of this, the dog must take obstacles from 2 to 7 in order to score additional glasses. Errors in the implementation of these actions, such as a shot down crossbar or passing 2 red obstacles in a row, leads to the loss of the command.

Relay race

Two or three commands of a guide dog, each of which takes turns performing part of the standard Adjility course, with athletes who transmit each other a relay wand.

In order for all dogs to have approximately equal opportunities for victory, they are divided into groups in size and experience. Some organizations also identify special categories, for example, a group of dogs with age over 7 years old or competitions between commands where athletes are minors. Also, individual organizations require that only purebred dogs participate in their competitions, but dogs of any breeds or uniforms are allowed for most competitions, provided that they are healthy.

Ajility competition rules

Conducting adjilitia competitions at the international level is determined by the rules of the International Kinological Federation (FCI), on the basis of which its national rules are developed in each country. In the USA, adjilitia competitions are held on the basis of the rules of the American Kinological Federation (RKF), however, each pico club can bring some nuances to rules that do not contradict the main one.

Sections of Adjility

The division into the main two sections of the discipline occurs depending on the method of interaction with obstacles.

  • Jamping – the track consists of contactless shells that the dog should jump (you cannot touch them);
  • Actually adjility – the route consists of contact obstacles on which the dog should pass or run, as well as from contactless shells.

Categories of dogs in Adjility

Dogs for competition are divided into categories in growth:

  • S (Small) – growth at the withers less than 35 cm;
  • M (medium) – height from 35 to 43 cm;
  • L (Large) – 43 cm and higher.

For each category, competitions are separately held to ensure equal conditions for all animals.

Passing the track

The rules regulate the size of all shells (they even contain drawings for the construction of obstacles).

The task of participants in the competition maximum quickly and accurately pass all the shells of the track in the correct order.

The control (reference) and maximum (maximum allowable route) time is determined depending on the complexity of the route and the conditions of the competition.

For errors made by participants on the highway and the excess of the control time allotted for the passage of the highway, penalties are charged.

Jack Russell Terrier makes mistakes when passing the track (video)

Also, for a number of violations committed by participants on the highway, the judge can disqual them (remove from the highway). For example, during the passage of the track it is impossible:

  • The conductor touch the dog and/or shells, as well as jump or overcome obstacles;
  • The dog perform in the collar and/or leash;
  • Encourage the dog (treats, toy or other ways);
  • Handler to hold something in their hands, as well as to have objects (whistles, leash, food and more) attracting attention to the dogs with them);
  • Exceed the maximum time;
  • Pass obstacles.

Adjility for dogs: the advantages of what it is

The British pay a lot of attention to various exhibitions that are associated with the honor of their pets. Therefore, it is not surprising that the creation of a new sports direction – adjility for dogs is one of their merits. Today, many would have considered them PR, but in those years they did not pursue any mercantile targets, but they only wanted to change the process of showing dogs.

Their desire led to the creation of the central ring, which was attended by obstacles resembling obstacles in horseback. The difference was to add "dog attractions" to it. The process of representing dogs took place with the direct participation of coaches, from which it was necessary to show what their favorites were capable of. Already the first events brought them an unprecedented success. This led to the fact that such stripes with obstacles and in other countries began to be regularly created. Over time, the name Adjility was fixed behind this performance.


  • Rules and Rules of Adjility on the bestdogfood.Expert of the American Association of Adjility
  • Rules and Rules of NADAC
  • Fci rules
  • Ifcs rules
  • Description, history, photo, adjility video
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  • Viking the article.
  • Fix the article according to the stylistic rules of Wikipedia.

Dog breeds for adjility

All dogs are able to jump, run and play. Ajility for a dog is a fun game with the owner, so any dog is suitable. If the owner does not pursue the goal of victory in competitions, then you can start classes with your favorite pet.

For a dachshund, for example, you can put several tunnels and a length in length, a slide, a boom and slalom will become an excellent track. The dachshund has a long back, and the load when jumping can damage the spine.

For large heavy dogs, Newfoundlands and Caucasian shepherds, you can’t jump up to a year, large weight and non-formed ligaments can cause lameness, but for young dogs you can choose shells. The hill, tunnels and swing will teach pets to play and strive to go through the track.

If the owner acquires a pet for adjility, then it is worth considering the following breeds:

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel;
  • Border Collie;
  • Dwarf poodle;
  • Jack Russell Terrier;
  • Malinois or Belgian Shepherd.

These dogs are capable of a quick reaction, then the accuracy of execution of commands and rapid run on the highway.

The story of the appearance

Adjility is a rather young and promising sport that originated in England in early 1978. The founder is considered to be John Varley. It was he, as a member of the committee at the craft exhibition, who decided to entertain the audience who missed the breaks between leading sections. Given his passion for equestrian sports, Varley attracted dogs to such an event that was supposed to overcome shells and various barriers.

The help of Varley in the development of the very first Adjility Program was provided by his friend and like-minded Peter Minell. Two commands took part in the first performance, each of which consisted of four prepared dogs. Focusing on the command of athletes, animals overcome the obstacle strip represented by barriers, slides and tunnels. It was the delight of the public that determined the origin of a new sport.

It is interesting! After some time, the English Kennel Club was officially recognized as the sport of adjility, as well as regular competitions that were based on the whole set of specially developed rules.

Samuel Carter author About Author