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Agility Wisdom

Share your thoughts and insights...

Agility people may be better at navigating a course than writing a story but thanks to social media, most of us have a chance to say what we think and share our acquired experiences. So express yourself. It's what we're here for. Put pen to paper - or fingers to keyboard and email your ideas to Agilitynet.

The Cost of Training
From Dawn Gilmour

One of my friends asked 'Why do you pay so much money for your daughter to do Dog Agility?'

Well, I have a confession to make. I don't pay for my child to train her dogs.

So, if I am not paying for them to train, what am I paying for?

  • I pay for those moments when she becomes so tired she wants to quit but doesn't.

  • I pay for those days when she comes home from school and is "too tired" to go training but goes anyway.

  • I pay for her to learn to be disciplined.

  • I pay for my her to learn to take care of her body.

  • I pay for her to learn to work with others and to be good team player.

  • I pay for her to learn to deal with disappointment, when she doesn't get that clear round she hoped for, but still had to work hard in the grading.

  • I pay for her to learn to make and accomplish goals.

  • I pay for her to learn that it takes hours and hours and hours and hours of hard work and practice to create a champion, and that success does not happen overnight.

  • I pay for the opportunity she will have and will have to make life-long friendships.

  • I pay so that she can be in the arena instead of in front of a TV screen.

I could go on but, to be short, I don't pay for dog training. I pay for the opportunities that my dog provides her with to develop attributes that will serve her well throughout their lives and gives her the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen so far. I think it is a great investment!

The Cost of Dog Agility
From Dawn Gilmour

Reading another post, it seems Agility is a very expensive hobby in other countries and especially Europe. Some handlers are paying as much as 50 to enter one dog per day.

It also appears that if you do not have a pedigree dog, then there are certain things you are excluded from like national finals. Seems we may have some issues here but. at least, we cater for all from mongrel to pedigree.

European Courses v. British Courses
From Elizabeth Saggers

I had an interesting conversation at the Kennel Club International Festival (KCIF) with one of our European judges. He told me that British courses were different.

I asked if that was a bad thing and he said 'No, just different.'

So I went on to ask how they were different and he said in his country 'We run, run, run'.'

Then I asked what about the disabled, older, less mentally able or very young handlers and was told quite simplythat they just don't do it'

I am not adverse to changes for the welfare of our dogs or improvement of our sport. I enjoy the mix of courses, some suit me some don't, but I do not want to see a situation where the agility which so many of us enjoy for a weekend away with our dogs is altered to suit what appears to be a minority.

The only reason to alter things should be the safety or welfare of our dogs not just to suit some other form of competition. After all variety is the spice of life.

Big Distances for Small Dogs
From Lu Candy

Dear KC (Agility section) -

I know you've brought in the new distances so dogs can get enough strides in between obstacles and, therefore, put less long term strain on their bodies, but I don't see the logic as we now seem to have many 'obligatory' go round the back of's' where it looks to me like dogs are having to take off and turn almost 180 degrees from one stride.

We would not ask Olympic level hurdlers to run round and take every 3rd hurdle from the wrong side and, as far as I know, in the equestrian world no one would set that manoeuvre in a show jumping course.

Also why have we got the same distances for Small dogs as Large dogs? Surely they have a shorter stride pattern so should have relatively shorter distances.

Feeling reflective
From Beverley Kimber

The other morning on my way to a competition, I thought to myself why am I doing this. What is it about agility that I have become so addicted to>

When I look back I realise how happy I am on my training days and how much I look forward to it. I realise how much of an escape it is for me after a hard day of working hard to try and cure people's loved ones and even my loved ones from the terrible dreaded word cancer. Just running around with my dogs and having fun makes me realise just how lucky I am.

So next time when you are at show, make sure you are cheering each other on and don't slate people. You don't know their stories.

I love being around like-minded people who just enjoy the sport and being with their dogs.

Morning Star
By Sue Jones

It's 4.30 in the morning. 

My oldest dog has just asked to go outside. I get up, throw some clothes on over my pjs, collect the puppy from her crate and take them both outside. Both have wees and we come back in. Oldie goes back up to bed and I put pup back into crate.

I go upstairs and get into bed and then it starts. the screaming banshee is now fully awake and doesn't want to go back to sleep.

5.15 am

 I give up all hope of sleep and we all get up.  I feed the dogs and then decide to prepare Ingredients for the breadmaker.  I'm in the kitchen and I look to my right to see a small puppy at the back door. I grab my coat and take her back out into the garden where she immediately does a poo and a wee. What a little star!

I bring her back in.

SHE is now asleep.

New Rules for Dog Agility in Scotland FB
By Dawn Gilmour

Suggested Agility Topic Days

  • Moany Monday - a day to moan about everything and anything to do with Agility

  • Truthful Tuesday - a day where we all come clean about all the naughty thing we do that p**s people off

  • Wishful Wednesday - a day of what I would like to see that would suit me and only me

  • Thankful Thursday - a day to be thankful for the wonderful dogs we have, and be thankful for those that give up their time to allow us to compete and have fun

  • Fantastic Friday - a day of joy as we are all off to Shows and in a good mood for a change.

  • Silent Saturday - a day of not many posts as we are all knackered

  • Successful Sunday - a day of happy posts with our win outs, clear rounds, Champ wins or just having the best time ever with my friends and dogs

The Real Joy of Agility
Steve Seale wrote this years ago...

It is not the winning or going clear. It is not the equipment or shows. It is not hero worship or faint praise.

It is the relationship and bond between you and your dog, that individual closest of ties you build, with the simplest of looks between each of you and you both know, the unconscious communication that is second nature between you, the sense of joy in being with each other competing, training or resting. That sense of togetherness as you wait to compete and, after, walking back to the car.

If you know these things and have them with your dog, then you have won in agility regardless of rosettes and trophies.

A Message to All Show Organisers

Just to broadcast to everyone I won't be going to any shows in 2017 that don't specifically cater only for me and my dogs! This is so that all show organisers know that they need to contact me directly to discuss what I want. Otherwise that's it. I'm not coming!

Dear Weather
By Dawn Gilmour

Dear Weather -

It really is nice of you to try to average out the temperatures between Summer and Winter, however here are a few things you should know -

  • I like sun in the summer.

  • I love frost in the winter.

  • My winter duvet has not seen the light of day this year.

  • Agility Shows across the UK have been cancelled due to your poor judgement of what you think is best for us.

  • Thousands of agility handlers and their dogs have been left distraught as they have had to do housework etc. when they should have been at an agility show!

  • My van does not cope well with mud and there has been more than enough of it in 2016.

  • My thermal knickers bought especially for this year are still in the package.

Please return the weather to normal for 2017 or I may need to remove you as my friend!

Thank you in advance.

Out of the Skies
By Alan Gardner

This is a true story and a surreal moment...

I was up the field training when an airplane lands in the field. A man gets out panting and runs up to me.

'Are you okay?' I asked.

The pilot replied, 'Yes, just landed as my engine is running cold and I need to put some tape over the vent. Hope I didn't disturb dogs?

And here is the clincher...

He looks at Jaidi and says, 'I didn't know you could do agility with Bernese Mountain Dogs!'

So now people drop out of the sky to see what breed he is...

Rambling with Rebus
By Elaine Thomas

The twilight is deepening as we set off across the fields the last remnants of the sun striking the clouds gold.

The dogs chase through the long grass their passing leaving a smoke trail of pollen.

They barrel after the ball, so intent they dont see the fox in the hedgerow it watches them quietly and then slips into the dense undergrowth without a trace.

My old Dalmatian Morse, slops along in the collies wake content to watch them circle and spin. Old age has robbed him of his graceful economical trot, but on a quiet summers evening, he is quite happy to spend an hour nose down, tail ceaselessly waving, nearly but not quite keeping up.

On the horizon a jet takes off from Gatwick through the layers of gold and purple, and I wonder what holiday destination they are going to.

Rob turns his head just to check Im there, and Morse rubs his head on my leg. I lean down to pull his ears and decide I dont want  to be anywhere else than here, in the darkening twilight with my dogs.

Five seconds later I walk into a ravenous swarm of midges and the mood vanishes. Rebus then hurls himself into the river with no thought as to how he will get out, and eventually scrambles up the bank, showering me in smelly water, mud and pondweed.

Still, the squall of stagnant water frightens off the midges.

Smelling like the bottom of a pond, we squelch home.