Leonbergers At Work – Agility

Agility is the fastest growing canine sport in the world, and is fun and exciting for participants and spectators alike.  In a nutshell, agility is an obstacle course for dogs, consisting of things like jumps, climbing frames, teeter-totters, tunnels and weave-poles which the dog must negotiate in the order specified by his or her handler.  As such, success in agility requires proper training, since it is a game of physical skill, control, patience and, most of all, teamwork between handler and dog. 


C-ATCH Remarkable Gretel von der Lowenhohle,

EAD, EAC, EJC, OGC, TN-E, TG-E, EAC, WV-O, PS-2  ("Gretel")


Getting Started : 

Before you consider an agility training program, it is important that your dog have basic obedience training so that he exhibits good manners around people and other dogs.  By building upon those basics, agility teaches your dog advanced obedience exercises while playing an exciting game at the same time.  And because the sport is designed as “give and take” between pet and owner, it has additional benefits outside the show ring in that dogs quickly learn to become more compliant and willing to obey their owner’s commands at home and during everyday outings.

Part of the reason behind the sport’s popularity is that people of all ages and physical abilities can participate, as can dogs of any size and breed.  Moreover, is it a great way for everyone involved to get exercise, but it also helps build a dog’s confidence and encourages a trusting relationship between the dog and owner.  In addition, it is a sport you and your dog can do just for fun or, if you so desire, you can compete in agility trials.

In competition, agility is a race against the clock but accuracy is the first requirement.  The time it takes to run a course between the start and finish line is important, but all the obstacles presented by a judge must be correctly handled.  For example, a dog is expected to climb up and down the A-frame, walk up and down the planks of the dog walk, and balance the seesaw.  These pieces of agility equipment are called “control obstacles”.  Dogs have the joy of leaping over jumps and running through tunnels at high speeds but must show control by stopping on the pause table.  The most challenging part of the course is the weave poles – anywhere from 6 to 12 poles are presented to the dog on a course.  When perfected, the weave poles are the most breathtaking portion of the course to watch dogs perform.

There are five different height categories, allowing each dog to be tested fairly according to its size.  Every course run by the handler and dog is new and exciting, because each judge designs a new test of skills for each trial.  The variety of levels of difficulty go from Novice to Excellent.  It’s great fun for the dogs and a very valuable sport in that your dog learns off-leash skills in a controlled and safe environment and enhances dog-trainer rapport.  Agility is sanctioned by various groups, including the CKC [link] as well as the Agility Association of Canada [link]   There are several different organizations throughout Ontario which offer agility trials and awards. 


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Page Last Updated

March 14, 2008

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Leonberger Club of Ontario

Leonberger Club of Ontario