Agility is the fastest growing dog sport in the UK. The handler must guide their dog over an obstacle course set by a judge. The object is to complete the course with no faults and in the quickest time. The course is made up of jumps, tunnels, weaves and contact equipment and tests the dogs speed and precision.
Agility is open to all dogs and handlers and is a great way to build a relationship with your dog as well as have fun and keep them fit. People of all physical abilities enjoy agility, the myth that you have to be able to run is not true as dogs can be trained to work away from their handler.
Smooth collies are well suited to the sport and there are more competing in the UK than ever before. Their biddable nature and physical build lends itself to this sport. Of course agility doesn’t have to be competitive, many people enjoy participating in agility classes simply for fun and there are many dog clubs and private trainers all over the country who are happy to train people who do not wish to compete.
Pups can start foundation training at 6 months but shouldn’t be jumping, twisting or weaving until they are older. They can compete from 18 months and can continue competing for many years as long as they are fit and well.
Personal experience of Agility
“I started agility with my first Smooth Collie, Bee 10yrs ago. She was very driven and keen to work for me (also the sausages) and we had many years of fun in the ring together. I was a very inexperienced handler at the time so I made a lot of mistakes with her and clear rounds were few and far between. She did win in to grade 4 and she made a lot of people smile with her ‘interpretation’ of the courses which often didn’t match the judges. She was a joy to run, she always always enjoyed herself and retired aged 10. Since starting with Bee I have done agility with more of my smooths. Bee’s daughter Quin competes at grade 5 and my youngsters Digit and Sven have just started competing and show great promise for the future.
Unlike many breeds there is no split between working and show lines in Smooth collies. All my dogs are bred with the show ring in mind. Bee is a show champion and Digit and Sven are both currently being shown with success.
I love agility, working together with your dog helps build a fantastic relationship with them. I have made some great friends at agility and it’s a wonderful community to be part of. I would encourage anyone to give it a go. It can be hard work at times but what you put in to it your dog will give you back, with interest!”
Abby & Bee, Quin, Digit and Sven