Canine agility is an athletic event in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a specified order and within a specified time. All three varieties of Poodle excel in the sport of agility.
The course is set up on an approximately 100 by 100 foot (30 by 30 meters) area and consists of standard agility obstacles, which are numbered to indicate the order in which they are to be completed. The human handler assesses the course and determines a strategy for directing the dog through the course with both speed and precision. The handler cannot touch the dog and must instead rely on movement, body language and voice commands.
The sport of agility was originally inspired by equestrian stadium jumping competitions. It debuted as an informal demonstration at the 1978 Crufts Dog Show in England. Since then, the sport has incorporated its own obstacles requiring additional and varied skills. The sport has also evolved its own scoring system and performance goals.
The United States Dog Agility Association, Inc. (USDAA) was founded in 1986 with the goal of maintaining international standards for agility, and it began to award titles in 1990. In 1987, Charles (Bud) Kramer began the National Club for Dog Agility (NCDA), which emphasized precision instead of the speed and higher obstacles of the USDAA. The NCDA program was later incorporated into the United Kennel Club™ (UKC) program. Agility became a recognized American Kennel Club (AKC) sport in August, 1994. The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) also offers agility as a titling sport.
Obstacles used include contact obstacles, tunnels, jumps, weave poles, and a pause table.
Agility is one of the several areas from which points can be accumulated in order to achieve the VIP Versatility Certificate or Versatility Certificate Excellent award.
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