The Dog Word


All about dog agility training including course descriptions and links to competitions.

Agility training is a rewarding activity where the handler and dog race through an obstacle course and compete based on time and accuracy. It requires a strong bond between a handler and their dog as well as excellent training. In this sport the dog relies on the voice commands and body signals of the handler to complete the course.

Dog Agility Training

Dog Agility Training: The Course

The obstacle course is different each competition and usually consists of 10-20 obstacles. Some of the obstacles include running through hoops, up and over large A shaped ramps, through tunnels, using a teeter-totter, weaving through poles, and performing jumps.

The course changes each competition and so it is not enough to just teach a dog a course. The course is made difficult enough to be a challenge for the dog. Often obstacles will have to be repeated so the human has to pay attention to the order. The dog has to pay attention to the handler as well, looking for the cue from the human for what to do next. The handler isn’t allowed to touch the dog and no food is involved in the dog’s performance. They really do have to rely on your verbal and physical cues for direction to know what to do and get it done in the time and order, allotted. However handlers are usually allowed to run the course once with their dogs prior to competing.

People join competitions for different reasons. Agility Champions in breeding lines increase the value of future litters. Winning a competition is also a testament to the intelligence of the dog as well a person’s excellent dog handling and training skills. It’s also a way to bond with your pup and a way to spend time together towards a common goal.

Dog Agility Training

In order to become an agility champion a dog needs to be well trained and well practiced. Many of the obstacles in a course are easy for an owner to create themselves. There are plenty of tutorials available and one might even be able to find items around the home to repurpose. However if making your own obstacle course doesn't sound appealing or isn't feasible courses are available.


You can enroll your dog in special classes that teach you how to train your dog in agility so you can join and win competitions. Most major cities have training centers that offer classes. They also might allow you to rent equipment or to use their space to practice privately with your pooch. 

National & International Competitions

The Canadian Kennel Club

Who Can Participate: Purebreeds, Multibreeds, Small to XLarge

The Canadian Kennel Club does run their own events and crowns an agility championship title. Even if you don’t have a purebred dog you can still participate by registering for a number with them. If you’d like to know more about registering and participating in a CKC event, go here. Otherwise check out the event calendar to find events.

The American Kennel Club National Agility Championship

Who Can Participate: Purebreeds, Multibreeds, Small to XLarge

This is a competition you must qualify for by competing in AKC events. Be sure to check out the AKC event calendar to find local events if you are in America.

Crufts Annual Dog Show (UK)

Who Can Participate: Purebreeds, Multibreeds, Small to XLarge

In the Crufts dog show, many dogs are competing in many different dog sports, including agility, for championship titles. To even be eligible for Crufts you must come in first at events held in your home country.

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