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Learning Center!

Introduction to Agility

Can my dog do agility?
Baby steps in training
Basic Do's and Don'ts

Overview of the obstacles
Training Tips for each obstacle
What to Call Each Obstacle

Help with dogs that are slow, scared, stubborn and crazy!

Joining a class
Entering a competition

General Rules

The organizations
Groups, discussion boards etc.

The organizations

Who makes the rules, and how to contact them.

akc agilityThere are 5 major dog agility organizations in the United States responsible for sponsoring agility competitions and generally "policing" the sport. Understanding some basic differences will help you to know which trials you should enter. Each of these organizations offer their own titles that cannot be mixed and matched. For example, if you earn an advanced title in AKC, you must still start in the first level of USDAA. For the most part, each of the organizations uses the same obstacles, but there are a few that are unique to one or the other, and each one might have some slight differences in the obstacle specifications.  At Affordable Agility, we try to keep on top of all these details in our equipment.

AKC (American Kennel Club) offers agility to purebred and companion dogs. Like the other organizations, you have to register your dog with them. If you lack papers on your dog, you need to send them a picture and description of your dog (to prove it is a pure bred), as well as some other information in order to get an "ILP number" that you will use when entering competitions. You may also apply for a Canine Partner number, which allows your mixed breed to compete in agility alonside purebreds and ILP dogs. AKC has less stringent obstacles, but smaller courses than USDAA. It is a good "in-between" organization for many handlers. Please see below for more information about how to register your dog with AKC.

CPE (Canine Performance Events) is growing in popularity, especially among those who have advanced in AKC. They have smooth flowing courses, and are very similar to AKC standards for equipment. It offers a multitude of titles in 5 competitive levels, including classes for junior handlers and older dogs too. Both mixed-breeds and pure-breds are allowed to compete for titles. CPE offers 'fun runs', an easy way to introduce your dog to trials.

USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association, Inc.), is known for allowing mixed-breeds to earn titles, as well as pure-breds. Originating in Great Britain, the USDAA is responsible for the standards of agility used around the world. The obstacles are slightly more difficult (more narrow planks, higher jump heights, and smaller tire size), but once your dog maneuvers these, AKC obstacles will be no problem. Because of the emphasis on speed and more spacious courses, dogs and handlers should be in good shape to move up the ranks in USDAA competitions. Some dogs may also have a hard time clearing the higher jumps.

UKC (United Kennel Club) is known for smaller and tighter courses, demanding more precision and control. But they offer lower height and speed standards. Their philosophy is more to make agility available to anyone regardless of physical abilities, and all dogs, no matter what their breed disadvantages are. UKC is a great organization to master first, as it will make competing in the other organizations easier. But UKC events are harder to find in some areas.  Some 4-H groups adopt UKC obstacle specifications for their competitions.

NADAC (North American Dog Agility Council) is the 4th runner up with approximately 50 clubs in the U.S. NADAC offers more moderate jump heights and safe courses, and uses the least amount of obstacles. Dogs must be at least 18 months old to start, and can be mixed breeds.

How to contact them.
When you join the USDAA you will receive a manual of their rules, a training booklet, and a bimonthly publication of upcoming events.

ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America) is not just for Australian Shepherds. It welcomes all breeds, including mixed breeds. It's rules are similar to NADAC.

United States Dog Agility Association, Inc. / Website:
P.O. Box 850955 / Richardson, TX 75085-0955
Email: / Phone: (972)231-9700 / Fax: (214)503-0161

When you register your dog with AKC, request the booklet Regulations for Agility Trials. You can also subscribe to their monthly magazine (the AKC Gazette), which has updated listings of events, or get this information from their website.

The American Kennel Club / Website:
5580 Centerview Dr., Suite 200 / Raleigh, NC 27606-3390
Email: / Phone: (919)233-9767 / Fax: (919)233-3627

You can register for CPE membership (to start trials with them) online. Click on "Forms".

Canine Performance Events / Website:
P.O. Box 805 / South Lyon, MI 48178

The UKC offers a bimonthly magazine called "Bloodlines" that has agility articles and events listings. Send $4.50 for a sample copy, as well as another $4.50 for the rule book. You can also get information from their website.

United Kennel Club / Website:
100 East Kilgore Rd. / Kalamazoo, MI 49001-5598
Phone: (616)343-9020 / Fax: (616)343-7037

You can register your dog with NADAC online.

North American Dog Agility Council / Website:
HCR 2, Box 277 / St. Maries, Idaho 83861
Phone: (208)689-3803

You can register your dog with ASCA online.

Australian Shepherd Club of America /
6091 E. State Hwhy 21, Bryan TX 77808
Phone: (979) 778-1082

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