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Do you eat, drink & sleep agility?

Hold your hand up if any of these things apply to you. Is your house is dirty? Do you have a mile high pile of laundry waiting to be washed? Are you frightened to go into your garden because of the man-eating weeds? Do you find that you can't stop training? Answering YES to any of these questions could be a sign that you are developing an obsession with agility. Take this test, if you dare.


About Agility for My Non-Agility Friends

I feel it is my duty to give a warning to all those new to the world of agility about agility addiction. A few years back I remember being told this sport was addictive, and I am sure like many others I just laughed this off as a funny idea.

I would like to put into perspective what an addiction to agility actually means should you catch this disease.

  • You will find yourself out of bed at some ungodly hour, stuffing your car full of gear when the rest of the world is having a nice weekend lie in and planning a lovely Sunday roast dinner.

  • Your freezer will be full of raw dog food, and training treats will take up any available space with very little space left for your own human food.

  • You may find yourself taking your dogs for massage, acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, laser work and water treadmills while you yourself are stiff and sore and falling apart at the seams.

  • Your social group will change to mainly other doggy friends so you can satisfy your desire to have a good old gossip about rule changes and the highs and lows of your last agility weekend.

  • You may have promised yourself you would never be seen dead in Lycra sportswear, yet here you are clad in skin tight leggings, waving a multi-coloured fleece tuggy in a random field at 7.30am in the morning.

  • Portaloos. which used to be reserved for those wild days at rock concerts when you were young, are now the regular norm at weekends.

  • Your bank account will never be the same again.

  • You will try to come up with ways to escape weddings, anniversaries and family gatherings to go to an agility show that clashes on the calendar.

  • You will find yourself on a start line with a bounding amount of hope that this could be it - that moment to shine and 30 seconds later be saying words in your head that are unrepeatable in public.

  • You will need more storage space for all the stuff you will end up buying to feed your addition.

  • You will get wet. You will get muddy. You will get sunburn.

  • Your clothes will be covered in dog paw prints.

  • Your hair will be a mess and you will most likely smell of liver, sausage and dried fish.

  • Your diary is about 80% dog.

  • Agility will most likely influence what your next vehicle will be. It will be kitted out with crates, fans, non-spill water bowls, folding chairs and shade covers.

  • Your dreams of your perfect house will be less about inside and more about whether the garden is big enough to fit an agility course.

  • Your dogs will own more types of coats than you do.

  • You will become obsessed about contacts. You will think about them, watch them, talk about then, get frustrated by them and admire other people's.

  • You will learn and talk a new language which could include phrases such as:-

  • It was a good 'E,' not a bad 'E'.

  • Maybe I will pop in a German.

  • I should get round to washing that clam.

  • Not sure I can fit in a Flind there.

  • I need to reinforce my wait start.

  • Should I blind or front.

  • Lala lala lala lala...

  • It's classic displacement behaviour.

  • I might attempt the hard gamble.

  • That was a lovely rear.

These things will not mean anything to those non agility friends, assuming you have any left.

You will also have the best time of your life, get tons of fresh air, get fitter, meet so many new friends, feel a rollercoaster of emotions and build a bond and understanding with your dog like nothing else.

You have been warned!

Thank you to Jodie Nazimi for sharing.

             Agility Addiction Test

  1. Do you stick to a regular training programme?
     a) Never b) Rarely c) Sometimes d) Frequently e) Always

  2. Do you plan your days around agility training?
    a) Never b) Rarely c) Sometimes d) Frequently e) Always

  3. Do you suffer from withdrawal symptoms when you can't train?
    a) Never b) Rarely c) Sometimes d) Frequently e) Always

  4. Does training interfere with your work or social life?
    a) Never b) Rarely c) Sometimes d) Frequently e) Always

  5. Does training cause problems within a relationship?
    a) Never b) Rarely c) Sometimes d) Frequently e) Always

Now Score Yourself
Never = 0
Rarely = 1
Sometimes = 2
Frequently = 3
Always = 4
If your score equals:-
0-5 = You like training your dog but have lots of other interests in your life.
6-10 You like agility but it doesn't dominate your life (yet).
11-15 = Beware! You are in danger of becoming obsessed.
16-20 = You're hooked!

Agility Addiction: A Poem

You know you're well and truly hooked
When every weekend in the summer is booked
When even your annual holiday vacation
Has become another agility vocation.

You know when you've gone round the bend
When you get every schedule for which you can send
When you've spent every last penny and pound
On your not so good, but loveable hound.

You know when you've gone totally cuckoo
When the accommodation's a tent with an outside loo
When your feet are wet and your hands are cold
And your dog still will not do what it's told.

You know when you're out of your head
When at five in the morning you're out of your bed
When the odds of winning are 500 to 1
But you still carrying on doing it 'just for fun.'

You know it's finally taken over your life
When you've covered the distance from London to Fife
When nothing will make you miss your agility session
And you're booked up every type of course and lesson.

You know when it has affected your brain
When you're standing in a field in the pouring rain
When your heart is beating and you're gasping for air
And you're covered in mud, and still don't care.

You know you are certifiably insane
When you study a course again and again
When you are willing to travel mile after mile
For one small rosette that still makes you smile!

Sue White

Yes, sir... I am an Agility Addict!
Bonny G. Griffith

(Seeking a local chapter of Agility Addicts Anonymous)

I just can't help myself. Choose one venue over another? Ha! I'll play in ANY venue if it means a day away from work enjoying the company of my dogs! So far I have had the pleasure of trialing in all the above flavours except UKC, and as far as I'm concerned if there's an agility trial within a few hours drive, and I have a free weekend and enough money to enter, we're there with bells on!

I appreciate and enjoy NADAC, AKC, and USDAA for the different challenges and opportunities they offer us, period. Yes, I know not all dogs can play in AKC and that *is* a shame. But you know what? We've always felt welcome and had a blast at every event we've ever attended, regardless of the governing organisation. That's why we are so hopelessly hooked on this sport!

As for titles, you bet I'm proud of the time, energy, and determination spent earning them, but I'm proudest of all of the bond they represent between me and my girl. Siren (right) is the first dog I've ever trained, so every day in the ring and everything we achieve together is a major accomplishment in my eyes. I owe her a debt of gratitude for introducing me to this wonderful sport, as I'm sure most of you do to the first dog you ever trained agility with. Doing more agility with her which she loves is just one tiny way I can pay her back for the way she enriches my life.

So, enough with the passing judgment and casting stones, already. Here's a thought. Let's all take a moment instead to show our appreciation to local clubs (whatever the venue) for bringing us MORE agility, to the judges who stand out in the ring in all weather to officiate, and to our dogs (of all breeds, shapes, and sizes) for being such good sports to come play with us!

Clean runs to all!

You know you're hooked when...

A selection of comments from the Internet

How funny is that!
Just goes to show how addictive agility is!
I never thought I would be running a dog of my own and now I'm out two nights a week training
 and at weekends planning shows, getting excited at doing a pull through etc.
My friends at work think I'm mad when I talk about my dogs.

Perhaps I am. Perhaps we all are!
Wendy Barker

You can tell an agility addict when he's using his training bag as a briefcase going in to work.
Not that I'd know anything about that.

Paul Mount & gaudy yellow bag in the office

You know you are addicted to agility when you get up at 5am, discover that the actual temperature is 4 degrees BELOW zero, and then drive an hour and a half anyway, to do agility in an unheated building!

As Bud Houston said, 'This must be what agility is like in Alaska.
Anne Moore (USA)'

Does this count? Going to a trial the evening before, sleep in your car with 9 degrees below and NO heating.
Guy Blancke (Belgium)

I knew I was addicted when I was shoveling snow away from my weave poles before I did my driveway.
Robin Ohrt

Given the choice between an agility trial (any flavor) and cleaning the house,
I'll be at the agility trial. I don't care if it's stand on your head style agility!
Allison Bryant (USA)

In reply:-

From Guy Blancke (Belgium)
No wonder this is really why mine is messy, chaotic and whatever you can think of. For example:-

  • Left Friday at 2pm
  • Arrived in Austria at 2am next morning
  • Just parked and slept
  • Woke up and brought in my paper to get my number
  • Had a wonderful agility day
  • Did a little BBQ
  • Went to de canteen to have a drink with the Austrians
  • Stayed 'til 2.30am
  • Next day same routine; papers and number for the Grand Finale
  • Started the return trip at 6pm
  • Arrived home the next day the at 11am dead tired

    When should I clean this mess up???? Maybe after the World Championships!

    After the storm...
    I woke up in the middle of the night with a tree smashing into the roof of my bedroom. Moved all the dogs into the living room and went back to sleep. Roads are closed here in New York. But my first thought on waking was 'Is Keene (agility show) still on??'
    Deb Locke (USA)

    I now know that I'm not normal because when I went with my daughter to help pick out a banister for the staircase of her new house, I was looking at the choice of banisters and I kept seeing weave poles!
    Sheila Hirschfield (USA)

    When your Border Collie rescue climbs on the kitchen table, across the windowsill and onto the counter to get at and consume the whole apple pie sitting there - and all you and your husband can do is laugh, saying 'He's going to be an agility dog!'

    When you were a horse person for years and you are now doing agility to keep from going into the DTs because you can't do horses anymore.
    Tracy Bergeron (USA)

    You know you are hooked when the six month old puppy that you've had for a month doesn't yet have a real name but knows what poles means and drags you to them every time you say the word!!!
    Pamela O'Day (USA)

    You also know you are hooked when you get your first puppy and when it is at 16 weeks old and you are in the backyard teaching it directions over a the smallest jump you can find, an upturned broad jump panel.

    You register for your wedding or baby shower with Max 2000, J & J etc...
    Andy & Daisy Day (USA)

    You drive by construction sites and think that phone guy really doesn't need that tunnel does he?
    Andy & Daisy Day (USA)

    You mother calls and wants to know if she can get info on agility trials or coursing trials in her area so you will come visit and bring her grandchild (so she can see her compete)...
    Sean McMichael (USA)

    You go to the building supply place and want to get that little PVC part that your friend got last week for the jump and they know what you are talking about....

    Your dad sends you ideas for building better equipment...and he's a cat person!
    Elaine & the whippet crew (USA)

    We've all heard of the owner who gave up her dog because she 'can't have a dog running her life.'

    I can certainly understand this. I mean who has the time to have their life revolve around their dogs? I'm busy enough taking care of the sheep we bought for herding. And mowing the 15 acres of land we bought because interest rates were low and my dogs had no dog friendly parks. And then I have to spend most of the day at work to pay for all the gas I use in my sports utlity vehicle that conveniently fits four crates. Plus training classes and trials.

    And then the weekends are totally out. I mean after being this busy, I like to take a little time out for me. Do something relaxing that I enjoy. I go to agility trials.

    She's right, we are just too busy to have our dogs run our lives!
    Ally Bryant (USA)

Agilitynet Therapy
Treatment is not straightforward. Like any disorder, the biggest stumbling block is usually denial. If you can't talk to your family or people at your club about your growing need to compete and win rosettes, you can work out your addiction with your friends at Agilitynet. We're open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just send your comments, stories, frustrations and insecurities to:-
The Agility Aunt.

Trust us. We're addicts, too.

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