The Ultimate Dog Sport - article by Ann Daugherty

Dog agility is one of the fastest growing dog sports in the country. Agility is a fast paced, team sport, where the team (dog and handler) negotiate an obstacle course consisting of jumps, tunnels, weave poles, an A-frame, seesaw and other obstacles. Agility is judged first on the accuracy of the dog’s performance and then speed. Safety for both members of the team is a top priority.

Photo By Ann Clayton Photographic ImagingTop teams compete at regional, national and international events, but agility is accessible and available to any breed or mixed breed dog, and to handlers of all ages and all physical abilities. At any typical agility trial in the Sacramento and Bay area, one can expect to see elite World Team athletes, serious weekend warriors, junior handlers, senior citizen handlers, handlers with severe physical limitations, brand new novices and everyone in between. There will be the most driven Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Parson Russell Terriers, Corgis and Shelties, and also Great Danes, Greyhounds, Alaskan Malamutes, Poodles of all sizes, Portuguese Water Dogs, Goldens, Labs, Vizslas, Pulik, Pomeranians, Samoyeds, and many, many more. The beauty of agility is that we all come to the trial with our own favorite dog, our own goals and agendas, and we have a great day in the park with our best friends.

If this sounds like fun to you, and something you want to try, here are some things to expect.

Dave Nash at Digital Dog Sport

   There are several agility organizations, each offering its own flavor of the sport.

   For more information on getting started in agility, finding clubs, finding instructors, start at Clean Run, Inc. Clean Run is the most important publication in the United States for agility. Their website offers a calendar of events, listing of instructors and clubs, an online store, and other important resources.

Photo By Dave Nash at Digital Dog Sport


Power Paws Agility in San Jose is home to Nancy Gyes and Jim Basic, two of the top agility competitors and instructors in the United States. Their website contains many useful articles, information on Power Paws Agility Camp and other goodies. Classes at Power Paws are to be coveted, and are for the serious competitor, or serious competitor-to-be.

ABBA Dogs in Livermore holds classes taught by Lorie Abbott.Lorie is also one of the primary Trial Secretaries for AKC Agility in our area. On her website, you’ll find a calendar of events, listing many of the AKC agility trials in central California, northern Nevada, and one or two in Oregon.

Touch & Go Agility in North Highlands is home to Kathie Leggett, World Team coach and multiple national champions. Kathie’s primary breed is Shetland Sheepdogs, but she also trains and runs her husband’s Golden. Kathie and her instructors have experience in many breeds and sports.

Agility Demo

Placer Dog Training Center in Granite Bay is a beautiful facility. They offer lessons in agility, obedience, rally, and conformation handling, and seminars in those sports and others.

For the most comprehensive Agility Calendar of Events in the southwestern states, check out this list. This lists trials, tests, and seminars in Arizona, Nevada and California.

If you decide to attend a trial or two to get the feel for it, please leave your dogs at home, so you can focus on the dogs competing. Bring a chair, stay a while, and talk to the competitors. Use common courtesy, and wait until after the exhibitors have run their dogs, and most will be happy to talk all day long about their favorite sport! Then, sign up for classes and let the games begin!

Central Valley - California
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