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The World of Agility - How to Start

To Get Started It is best to begin with a trainer or training class that has the correct equipment. Safety is paramount, so equipment must be well constructed and meet the standard of agility competitions. Find another training organization if the first one you try doesn't have equipment that is built solidly and with safety in mind. There are regulations set by all agility organizations that spell out all the specifications for heights, lengths and widths of the proper equipment.

Although each instructor will have his/her own methods of training, most use a combination of motivational methods such as food, toys, and lots of praise with the goal of keeping training fun. Although your Brittany should have fun (and most love Agility) it is also important for them to learn control, so it is a good idea to teach your dog basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, down and come before you start training for agility. If you show up at class with a completely untrained Brittany, you might get a big surprise the first time birds land nearby!

Brittany puppies can be EXTREMELY active and busy and you might want to begin Agility training very early just to give him a way to burn off some energy. It's fine to begin teaching basic obedience commands at a very young age, but let him grow up a bit before you give into the temptation to try out jumps or other obstacles. While some Agility trainers allow puppies to start classes at about nine months of age, you must first evaluate your own dog and be convinced he is both mentally and physically ready to participate in a structured training environment. Some veterinarians feel that dogs should not jump or climb before their growth plates are complete so you might wish to check with your Vet before enrolling in a class.

The Agility magazine, Clean Run has a searchable database with info on Agility clubs and schools. You can check for clubs and instructors in your area by following this link.

Agility Organizations
There are several organizations that set rules and regulations for competition and equipment standards. In United States, these organizations include the American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club (UKC), United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) and the North American Agility Council (NADAC). In Canada, agility is governed by the Agility Association of Canada (AAC). Most agility organizations require dogs to be at least 18 months of age to compete in trials although AKC does allow participation at 12 months. Clubs and organizations that sponsor agility trials also periodically put on seminars or "fun" trials so you may want to attend some of those events before actually entering a trial. Clean Run's website lists upcoming events.

Brittany owners may get involved in Agility as a way to spend enjoyable quality time with their pals and then get hooked on the excitement of competition. We are sure your Brittany won't mind if that happens!


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To learn more about Agility, visit the following websites:
AKC Agility
NADAC Agility
UKC Agility
USDAA Agility