For years I have watched Cruft’s on the television and I absolutely loved to watch the Dog Agility competitions. However I never really knew how I could get involved until me and a friend decided to take the plunge and joined K9 Brats Agility club nearly 2 years ago. Me and my shih-Tzu Wilma have been totally addicted to agility ever since! So if there are any dog lovers out there who have been thinking about joining a club, this post is dedicated to telling you all you need to know including the pros and the cons of starting your dog agility career!
Choosing your Club
There are a range of clubs throughout the UK so picking one will probably be based on one that is close to you. At K9 brats they run a range of agility classes suitable for dogs of all breeds and abilities. Agility classes are held at both Wirral (Glenbrittle Kennels) and Runcorn (Sutton Fields) venues.
Myself and my friend started with a pre-beginners course. This ran for 6 weeks and was designed to ease us into various agility concepts for dogs and their owners that are new to the sport. It’s a good idea if you haven’t already done so, to have attended some sort of obedience class with your dog so that your dog has a good level of general obedience before you start agility classes. All of the classes at the club are ongoing and you attend weekly. Although you pay up front for 6 classes at a time, any weeks you miss are carried over so you do not pay for classes you cannot attend. You can find more information on their prices by clicking here. I can guarantee it is cheaper than any gym membership! After the 6 weeks of pre beginners we were moved up to the beginner’s class. It was here the fun really began! We learnt different kinds of jumps and sequences, and how to use different equipment. At this level the jumps are kept low whilst dogs develop their confidence further and we can develop our handling skills.
One thing I would definitely recommend is investing in some agility trainer’s. I lasted two weeks before purchasing some as I found I needed more support for my feet, and grip for a sometimes very muddy field!
To give you an idea of the kind of runs and jumps we do in the beginners class, take a look at the video of me and Wilma below.
At first I wasn’t looking to compete, but soon changed my mind after 2 months of beginner’s classes and my confidence began to grow. Wilma gets so excited; attending the class really is the highlight of our week. We both get so much out of it! With this in mind I thought I would just try one competition to see how it went. Attending the agility classes was just meant to be a bit of fun, and I was conscious that I didn’t want this to change, however my worries were soon put aside and I’ve never looked back since! Wilma loves to take part in the competitions and the atmosphere is electric. Everyone has been really friendly and helpful. It has also really helped to bring Wilma out of her shell and is so much more confident in day to day life.
I hope this post has provided you with some basic information about what is involved in the sport and hopefully has inspired you to start thinking about taking your dog to agility classes. Not only will classes strengthen the bond between you and your dog, it will help to fulfil and satisfy their natural instincts of hunting and not to mention will keep you both in shape!