Agility is addicting!

They ought to put this warning at all agility classes and all agility shows. This is the ultimate fun sport with your English Shepherd.

Agility began in England in 1978 as an interlude between the completion of the obedience competition and the beginning of the best of breed at Crufts. It instantly became a hit, with both the audience and the participants. Agility first came to the U.S. in 1986, and its growth has been nothing short of explosive. Among the organizations hosting agility competitions are the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA), the North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC), and the United Kennel Club (UKC). Each organization offers titles and local and national competitions.

In agility, the dog and handler must work as a team and negotiate their way through a course of jumps, tunnels, a wall (called an A-frame), a dog walk (looks like a balance beam), a teeter totter, and other obstacles. They “dance” through the course like a ballroom dance, with the handler being the lead and the dog being her partner.

People and dogs love agility for many reasons. It is one of the few sports where all family members can participate and compete as equals. It does not have to be the parents watching while the kids have fun playing, or the kids watching while the parents have fun playing. Everyone can join in the fun and games. This can truly be a family affair. It is great exercise for both the humans and dogs, keeping both team members fit. The dogs love the dance at least as much as the human half of the team; just watch an agility competition or class and you will see dogs and humans having a total blast!

There are lots of opportunities to participate in agility training. Almost every community now has agility classes. And in most parts of the country, you can find an agility trial within driving distance most weekends of the year.