Are you looking for an exciting, fast paced sport to bond with your dog in the New Year? Then maybe dog agility could be right for you.

Dog agility is where a handler (owner) directs a dog through a series of obstacles, requiring both speed and accuracy. 

It is an activity that is beneficial for both the owner and dog and is an opportunity for both to get fit and to create a stronger bond between them. It gives the dog mental stimulation as well as physical activity and is a fun way to spend time with your canine.

It is an inclusive sport for any canine breed or owner no matter how athletic or otherwise you and your dog are. Even those with disabilities can take part. The main requirement is that your dog must have basic obedience skills and be reasonably fit, but there will be something for everyone whether you want to compete or just have a bit of fun.

If you want to compete at shows, there are 7 grades (the lowest level being grade 1) and then Championship Level. The best outcome is a clear round, but you can receive time faults if you exceed the course time set by the judge, 5 faults for knocking a pole down, missing a contact, refusing an obstacle or exiting the weaves before completion.

You can also be eliminated on the 3rd refusal, for taking another obstacle before completing the weaves, completing the course incorrectly, or if the dog goes to the toilet during the round.

Speaking to the owner of the business Omnidogs, Sarah Bunce, says that “Agility training is suitable for all breeds and sizes of dogs. It is a fun, exciting activity for dogs and their owners to take part in. Lots of Omnidogs members compete in Kennel Club, UK Agility and unaffiliated shows, so once you get started, you are bound to see lots of friendly faces.” 

Some of the obstacles in agility, include jumps, long jumps, the tyre, tunnels and weaves, (used in jumping courses) with the addition of 3 pieces of agility equipment in agility courses: seesaw, dog walk and A-frame. 

There are different types of courses; traditionally jumping and agility courses, however, there are also steeplechases, helter skelter and pairs; if you have a friend with a dog then this is perfect!!

Dog agility could be something you do competitively, or something you do in your back garden. Competing competitively gives you the opportunity to travel all over the country, meeting new people and making friends, whilst competing and spending quality time with your best friend. 

If you are interested in finding a local club in your area, then go to the website which lists clubs all over the country.