Dog Agility


Ottawa Valley Border Collie Club
Photo courtesy of Ottawa Valley Border Collie Club

Dog Agility Explained

Dog Agility is a fun and exciting sport for both dogs and people. It emphasizes teamwork where the handler directs the dog through tasks of climbing, jumping, and crawling over, under, around, and through various obstacles. In addition to giving the dog a better sense of balance, teaching him to be aware of where his body is, and building confidence, agility keeps the dog physically fit. Dog agility can be done for several reasons, including: fun, fitness, recreation, exhibition, or competition. In addition, it has also been used as a behaviour modification tool for a shy or timid dog in that it builds confidence and can eliminate shyness or fear of the unknown.

Agility is enjoyed by people of all ages and all kinds of dogs. Many clubs and organizations allow mixed-breed as well as pure-bred dogs, many also have junior handler programs as well as programs for senior handlers and veteran dogs.

Dog agility has now become a title event through several organizations, including the AAC, CKC, AKC, UKC, NADAC, and USDAA.

In Canada, Agility is now the fastest growing dog sport in the country.

At an agility trial, the courses are designed by the judges and the competitors only see the course on the day of the event. They are given a "walk-through" period before the event to learn the course and plan their strategy. Typically, a course includes 15 to 20 obstacles with allowed times of 30 to 60 seconds. Faults may be incurred for incorrect performance or taking obstacles out of order as well as for taking longer than the allowed time.

Competition classes are divided into three levels: Novice/Starters, Advanced/Open, and Masters/Elite. Teams can compete in local trials and then advance to regional, national, and international level competitions held by the various sanctioning organizations.

At this time, the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) offers standard agility titles as follows:

  • Novice — AGN
  • Intermediate — AGI
  • Excellent A — AGX
  • Excellent B 3 AGMX

Dog agility gives you, the dog owner, a chance to get out and enjoy some good quality time with your companion and meet some great people along the way. The dogs truly enjoy doing agility, especially those high-energy dogs who need a job to do.


Additional Information / Articles of Interest:

Agility Clubs & Associations:

Note: Listings of local Agility Clubs can be found under the Dog Club Listings sorted by Province.

Ottawa Valley Border Collie Club

Photo courtesy of Ottawa Valley Border Collie Club

Agility Books, Accessories & Equipment:

Introduction to Dog Agility Introduction to Dog Agility

by Margaret H. Bonham
Book Description: Written especially for beginning canine Agility competition enthusiasts, this manual covers all aspects of the competitive sport. The author starts with instruction on evaluating a dog's physical fitness and overall readiness for Agility training, then makes specific diet recommendations, and advises on treatment of injuries and the use of positive training methods. Advanced discussion describes obstacles used in Agility competitions, then shows how to teach the dog jumps, getting through tunnels, and other competition events. Filled with instructive full-color photos and illustrations.

Available from,


Agility Book

Enjoying Dog Agility
By Julie Daniels
Focuses on teaching and executing agility exercises correctly. Step-by-step instructions for beginners as well as advanced competitors.

Available from,, and




Agility Books

Excelling at Dog Agility: Advanced Skills Training
By Jane Simmons-Moake
Illustrates how to isolate and train many of the higher-level skills necessary to successfully compete at the most advanced levels of competition.

Available from,


In addition to the books listed above, see the excellent selection of books, videos, accessories and equipment available from the following online retailers: Agility and Flyball
Agility and Flyball

Cool dog supplies at