Agility can become a real addiction. It’s fun, friendly and keeps you and your dog in tip-top shape. Most people’s first view of Agility comes from the coverage of Crufts each year and the agility competitions held in December in conjunction with Olympia Horse Show. However, there are more than 300 licensed Agility Shows held annually, not to mention the numerous special sponsored events which take place nationwide.
Agility Shows are fun competitions designed for the enjoyment of competitors, and to appeal to spectators. All sorts of dogs can take part.
The formal requirements for competing in a Kennel Club licensed Agility show are quite simple:
Your dog must be registered with the Kennel Club, either on the Breed Register or on the Activity Register.
Competitors taking part in any Kennel Club licensed event must familiarise themselves with the Kennel Club Rules and Regulations beforehand. The Agility Regulations can be found in the Agility and Flyball Regulations booklet.
Dogs can only enter Agility shows when they are 18 months of age or over and have been officially measured and placed in the correct height category.
You will need to have an Agility Record Book in which to record your dog’s height category and all your competition wins and clear rounds.
Preparing your dog to be able to compete successfully will take a little longer than the formal requirements. It is essential that your dog is fully socialised and that you have effective control at all times, especially as your dog will be competing off-lead. For safety’s sake it is recommended that dogs do not start training on equipment until they are at least a year old.
Plenty of regular practice is essential preparation for Agility competitions, but supervised training at an Agility class is just as important. You can find trainers and classes near to you by searching www.agilitynet.com
To show your dog at Kennel Club OPEN, LIMITED OR CHAMPIONSHIP shows your dog must be registered in your name at the Kennel Club and have a Pedigree Registration number.
You can compete at COMPANION SHOWS in the appropriate class without having Kennel Club registration.
Showing can be expensive and exhausting but it is a great way to learn about the breed and get to know people who share your love of the Irish Setter.
If you have a puppy it’s a good idea to find RINGCRAFT classes in your area to get your pup used to the sort of environment he will be exposed to at a show.
Win or lose, you always take the best dog home!