To start training in agility, dogs must be at least 12 months of age and have completed a domestic obedience course. If a domestic course has not been completed, the handler must demonstrate good control with their dog before being accepted into the course. Dogs under 12 months old cannot be accepted, as training at such a young age can have a detrimental affect on the dog's muscular and skeletal structure.

Agility is a sport for all dogs regardless of pedigree. Mixed breed and purebred dogs alike compete in dog agility. Dogs are grouped into classes based on jump heights corresponding to the dog's size. The training and competition season in New Zealand runs all Year Round. Some members just enjoy the sport and do not compete.

The obstacles used in agility have been designed with both safety and spectator appeal in mind. All jumps have easily displaceable bars, and obstacles that the dog must physically scale have 'contact' zones painted on the equipment; the contact zones enforce safe training techniques since handlers know that dogs will be faulted unless one or more feet are in contact zones when ascending/ descending these contact obstacles. All contact equipment surfaces are roughened for good traction in both dry and wet weather.

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Courses Offered

Note: Courses will be run as detailed unless numbers in classes increase or decrese when changes will be made to suit circumstances.


Initial agility work begins by introducing the dogs to low and/or smaller versions of the obstacles. The height and/or length of the equipment is slowly extended over several training sessions to their full competition forms. Physical handling and techniques are often supplemented with food, praise, and toys that both lure and reward the dog to perform on the equipment. This is an 8 week course which can be repeated if desired. Obstacles likely to be included: Tunnel, Tyre Jump, Basic Weave Training and Small Hurdles.


Once the basic obstacle work is learned, the dog enters the next phase of training. During this time, the handler works to gradually condition the dog to higher jumps and obstacle heights, and to develop a working 'command vocabulary' of both verbal and body signals necessary to direct the dog off-lead around the agility course. A well-trained agility dog learns to respond instantly to commands directing him to perform specific obstacles (when obstacles are placed immediately adjacent to one another) as well as commands causing him to run faster/slower, turn left/right and veer away from/closer to his handler.

Obstacles that may be added: Lowered 'A' Frame & Dogwalk, Pause Table, Full Weave Poles and larger Varied Jumps.


Once Your Intermediate training is complete you and you dogs ability will be assessed by an instructor and you will move on to the advanced/competition class to prepare for competition. Training in this class is mainly over proper courses or 'modules' (parts of courses) to improve handler skills and for the handler to identify pitfalls that may occur in various competition courses. Handlers are also taught how to identify the quickest route around a course which will often require the dog to be able to go ahead of the handler obeying voice commands and hand signals.

Obstacles added: Full height 'A' Frame and See Saw.

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