Dog Agility Course
Set Up and Design
The trial Judge is responsible for the course design, but the Chief Builder and the Ring Stewards are responsible for the layout and building of the course. When the course is built, the Judge checks it, measuring the distance between the obstacles and the overall course distance. The Judge will adjust the course, if needed. Every course is unique and never used twice.
Once the course is set up, the handlers gather together for a briefing where the Judge summarizes how the class will be judged. Then, the handlers are walked through the course, without the dogs, so they can become familiarized with the layout. Most handlers will run the course several times, so they can map out what may challenge themselves and the dogs. Based on previous courses and experiences, the handlers will map out strategies to handle any challenges set out by the Judge.
Dog Agility Books
Running The Course
The dogs run the courses without a leash and without a collar to prevent the leash becoming caught on an obstacle. The Judge usually tells the handler when to begin the course, and the Timer starts the stopwatch as soon as any part of the dog crosses the start line and stops when any part of the dog crosses the finish line. Next to the Timer, sits a Scribe who documents any faults in the run signaled by the Judge. Once the run is complete, the Timer shows the Scribe the stopwatch, and he records it on his sheet. A Runner takes the Scribe's sheet to the score tent for final calculations, and the final score is posted for the competitors to view their placement.
Common faults include:
- Missing a contact zone
- Incorrect weave entry
- Non-completion of an obstacle
- Off course (taking an obstacle out of sequence)
- Knocking off a bar
- Leaving the table before judges count of 5
- Exceeding the time allowed for completing the course.
Running an Agility Course
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