Competing in Agility

Margaret Bill

agility2Agility is a very popular sport and any breed of dog can compete. Welshies are not the fastest of dogs, but Menstonia Misty Dawn has been competing in Agility competitions for the last three years and has achieved a number of successes including a 1st place. We have a great deal of fun together and have a good working relationship.

An Agility course consists of 18 – 20 obstacles. The jumps are 2ft 6ins high and there are a tyre, weaving poles, see saw, dog-walk and A-frame. The last three have contact points which have to be touched by the dog at both ends. The dog works without a collar or lead and has to be responsive to its handlers voice and hand signals in order to get round the course in the right order (sometimes easier said than done with a Welshie!).

Training begins with teaching the dog each obstacle separately and gradually progresses to the dog being able to do a full course. This takes time and depends on the ability of the dog (and handler!) to learn. Learning is fun and the handler needs to make it fun by using lots of encouragement, praise, treats and toys.

Agility with Welshies can also be very frustrating as they do have a tendency to be sidetracked by interesting smells on the ground, a whiff of something on the wind or the worst temptation of all – birds swooping down! Another problem can be if there are tight turns between jumps as they do need more of a run at a jump in order to clear the height.

So, the first thing to do is to find a local club and start your training. It would be good to see more Welshies “having a go” at this sport. This breed is lively, energetic, and eager to please and so has the basic requirements for you both to have a lot of fun.


Related Pages:

Breed Activities
PAT Dogs
Junior Handling