Agility FAQ

What is dog agility?

Dog agility is a competitive sport in which a handler directs his dog over a timed obstacle course with scoring based on faults as in equestrian jumping events. Because of its fast pace and simple, objective scoring system, dog agility has become an exciting spectator sport.

What obstacles are used in dog agility?

The approved obstacles for dog agility are the A-frame, weave poles, table, see-saw, dog walk, flexi tunnel, cloth tunnel, and assorted jumps and hurdles (including the broad jump, tyre jump, bar jump and spread jump). See Agility Equipment.

How high will my dog have to jump?

There are 4 different height divisions, which compete separately. All heights are measured at the wither.

Toy – Restricted to dogs up to and including 300mm.
Mini – Restricted to dogs up to and including 400mm.
Midi – Restricted to dogs up to and including 500mm.
Maxi – No restriction in dog height.

The height your dog will jump will depend on whether they are registered in the International or Regular Program.

Can mixed-bred dogs participate in dog agility?

Yes. It is frequently said that dog agility is a sport for all dogs, in that the sport permits both purebred and mixed-bred dogs to compete.

When can training with TOADS start?

To participate in the Beginners, Novice or Advanced Courses your dog must be 12 months of age and have undertaken the necessary pre-requisite course. If you have a particularly large dog you may wish to delay starting agility training in the Beginners and Novice classes until they are a little older (perhaps 15-18 months of age). Even though your dog may jump around like a mad thing at home the type of training we do is repetitive and can place stress on growing joints and developing muscle tissue. We don’t want your best friend to be at risk of developing problems such as arthritis or ligament damage in later life.

To take part in Tadpoles class your dog should be a minimum of 16 weeks of age and have completed their preliminary vaccinations.

How Obedient does my dog have to be?

Much of the training you will undertake in the Beginners & Novice Courses requires your dog to be off-lead at times. You need to be able to trust your dog to stay close and focused on you when off-lead and to come when called. Ideally your dog will be well socialised around other dogs.

That being said much of the training we undertake will enhance your dog’s general level of responsiveness, social skills and obedience. Reward based training applied with consistency will help to build a strong relationship with your dog. Long lines will be available for use in all classes as required. Your instructors will help to determine when these may be needed.

How fit do I need to be to participate in various dog sports?

There is no specific level of fitness required for handlers. Handlers come in all shapes and sizes and ages.

If you are over 10 years of age and able to run short distances you will be able to enjoy the variety of activities offered by TOADS. It is far more important that your dog be fit and healthy.

Being overweight can place extra strain on joints and supportive structures. Please don’t be offended if it is suggested that your dog could do with losing a few pounds. Remember that any food rewards that your dog receives as part of their training should count as part of their daily food allowance.

Please don’t feed your dog just before coming to training. This serves two purposes. Firstly, the dog will be less likely to be troubled by bloat and secondly, they will be much more responsive to the reinforcements offered if their belly isn’t full.

How much do each of the activities cost?

Once they are members participants in the Tadpoles class pay a weekly training fee of $5/person and are encouraged to purchase a clicker for $4 on their first night of training.

Course fees for Beginners and Novice classes are payable in full on the first night of the course.

The 8 week Beginners course costs $80 and includes a set of 2 weave poles and course handouts. There are no on-going weekly fees once the initial course cost has been payed.

The Novice Course costs $60 for a 8 week course. Once again there are no on-going weekly fees. It should be noted that participants often spend longer than 8 weeks in this course. After the 8 weeks of the course you have paid for has elapsed you will be required to pay a $5 fee per night you attend the training class until you graduate to the Advanced class.

At present people participating in the Advanced Class pay a $3 training fee for any night they attend. This class focuses on handling manoeuvres and fine tuning obstacle performance.

What do I need to bring to class
  • Your dog
  • A flat collar or halter (no check chains allowed)
  • Lead
  • Lots of yummy treats- a bum bag or snap lock bag in your pocket are favourite ways of ensuring treats are easily accessed
  • Toy (ball, tug toy, kong, squeaky toy, etc)
  • Ball for those wanting to undertake Fly ball training
  • A water bowl and water
  • Bags to clean up after your dog
  • A willingness to listen and attempt the suggested exercises
  • Mossie spray if you’re prone to getting bitten
Are titles awarded in dog agility?

Yes. The first titles awarded are the Beginner Australian Agility Dog (BAAD) title and the Australian Agility Dog (AAD) title. There are more titles awarded as you compete in higher levels. For further details on titles, go tohttp://www.adaa.com.au/regs/adaatitles.htm

There are also levels of handler awards to strive for.