Please note: As with any sport, please make sure your dog is in good health and the right physical condition. Your dog also needs to be physically mature before beginning serious sport training.

What Is Agility?

Ruby / tire (Photo: Rick West)

Agility is a dog sport that was first developed in 1978 for the half time show at an equestrian show jumping event. The Agility Association of Canada (AAC) was founded in 1988, bringing the sport to Canada.

Queen / a-frame (Photo: Kirk Sooley)

In a standard course, a dog and its handler negotiate a course consisting of jumps, tunnels, pause table, weave poles, A-Frame, Dog Walk and a Teeter Totter. The course is timed and judged on accuracy and speed. There are also two games in which the dog and handler team seek to accumulate as many points as possible, called "Gamblers" and "Snooker." "Jumpers" is a game which mimics the equestrian show jumping with jumps and tunnels only and is judged on speed and accuracy. "Team Relay" is where two dog/handler teams try to complete a course accurately and quickly, each doing half of the course.

Why Do Agility?

Who Can Participate?

Jack / tunnel (Photo: Kirk Sooley)

AAC allows all dogs, regardless of pedigree, size and age, to take part in agility. NADA runs classes for dogs of all ages, and you will be directed to the right class for you and your dog by our Registrar. AAC trials (competitions) are restricted to dogs 18 months of age or older, are physically sound and are not aggressive. Crossbreeds are called "All Canadian" and are eligible for competition and titles. Dogs may achieve titles in Starters, Advanced, Masters and ultimately earn a Championship title.

The heights of the equipment and the course time are determined by the height, build and age of the dog. Dogs over the age of 7 years of age may compete in "Veterans" with jumps at a lower height and a longer course time. "Specials" is for dogs whose physical build necessitates a lower jump height for safety.

What Does NADA, Inc., Offer?

Roxy / teeter tunnel (Photo: Kirk Sooley)

At NADA, we offer the following classes for adults and their dogs. Junior handlers (under 16 years of age) may also participate in these classes, as long as an adult is present with the "Junior". The Dog Sports Foundations class, which is the prerequisite course for Level 1, is to provide handlers and dogs with the necessary skills and information needed to create great teams entering sports such as agility and flyball. It is well known that the skills sports dogs need are the same as those that dogs need to be great family pets! The key to any Foundations class, including the NADA Foundations class, is to teach skills that will enable the dog to give attention, offer behaviours, respond to cues, target and exhibit self-control. Some topics that will be covered include: mark/reward, shaping, impulse control, loose leash walking/reinforcement zone, and crate games.exposes dogs to pre-agility obstacles (like planks and wobble boards to improve confidence, and other exercises for rear-awareness). All dogs new to agility must start with our Dog Sports Foundation class to set them up with the important skills needed for further training in agility and/or flyball!

Spencer / jump (Photo: Kirk Sooley)

In Level 1, This class will further improve your relationship and communication with your dog and give your dog the confidence, awareness, and skills that are foundations to the sport of agility. Exercises and homework will focus on basic obedience, impulse control, body awareness, and confidence on solid/narrow/moving obstacles. Dogs that have these skills will learn agility faster and more safely, preparing them for the introduction to obstacles.

Bella / table (Photo: Kirk Sooley)

In Level 2, dogs learn how to do all of the pieces of equipment in a fun and safe manner, independent of the handler (off-leash and without the handler's interference). By the end of the 8-week course, beginner dogs should be able to safely perform all agility equipment all four ways (on the handler's left side, right side, recalling over the equipment and sending away from the handler over the equipment). Some exceptions apply for safety reasons at this point (like sending all the way over the dog-walk), and the dog might not have fully learned the weave poles at this point.

Baxter / collapsible tunnel (Photo: Rick West)
In Level 3, the first half of the course focuses on continuing to build value for the agility equipment and an introduction to handling. The second half of the course is handler-only, and focuses on teaching the handler important basics of handling, such as drive lines, front and rear crosses, pivot turns/shoulder rotations and running and support arms.

Taz / dog walk (Photo: Rick West)

In level 4, the handlers and dogs learn how to identify lines and start sequencing (putting obstacles together). Handlers learn how to handle straight, curved, 180-degree lines and practice applying the front, rear, static and blind crosses and pivot and push turns. The dogs also become more proficient at doing the equipment and floors are proofed, and weave pole performance is solidified.

Kato / weaves (Photo: Rick West)

Level 5 is offered on an interest-only basis. It further helps teams to solidify their handling techniques and course proficiency.

Mickey / spread jump (Photo: Rick West)

We also offer a Masters course once a year prior to the Regionals to practice Masters level courses and sequences. The prerequisites for participating in this course is the handler must have earned at least one AAC Qualifying run. Handlers who do not qualify may ask about auditing this course.

AAC-Sanctioned Trial Photos