Agility is the ultimate game for you and your Pharaoh Hound. It is also one of the most exciting canine sports for spectators. In agility, a dog demonstrates its agile nature and versatility by following cues from the handler through a timed obstacle course. The course has jumps, tunnels, weave poles, and other obstacles. Agility strengthens the bond between dogs and their handlers, it is extremely fun, and it provides vigorous exercise for both! Agility began in England in 1978. The AKC held its first agility trial in 1994. Agility is now the fastest growing dog sport in the United States and is the fastest growing event in the AKC!
The AKC offers two types of agility classes. The first is the Standard Class which includes obstacles such as the dog walk, the A-frame, and seesaw. The second is Jumpers with Weaves. This class only has jumps, tunnels and weave poles. Both classes offer increasing levels of difficulty to earn Novice, Open, Excellent and Master Titles.
After completing both an Excellent Standard title and Excellent Jumpers title, a dog and handler team can compete for the MACH (Master Agility Champion title) - faster than the speed of sound! USDAA and NADAC are also two additional venues that offer agility. In USDAA and NADAC your dog doesn’t have to be a purebred. You must get measured and pay a fee for joining either organization.
USDAA offers many games and fun courses. Instead of 2 runs a day like AKC, in USDAA you can run up to 5 times in a day! They also give the handler an opportunity to do some fun “training” in the ring. They have courses like Gamblers where the handler and dog get 30 seconds to complete their own course, and then they have to complete a gambler sequence which is done while the handler is behind a line sending the dog. Most Pharaoh Hounds do very well at this since they like their independence. The other classes they offer are: Standard, Jumpers and Snooker. Steeplechase and GrandPrix are classes offered to win money and qualify for the USDAA Nationals which are usually held in Arizona. USDAA is not offered as much as AKC agility, but it is a fun venue and one I would highly recommend!
NADAC is a venue I haven’t tried. They offer more courses that are spaced much farther apart. AKC and USDAA have the obstacles much closer together. If you are serious about agility you usually pick one or two venues and concentrate on those. It gets expensive getting titles in each venue.
When starting to train your Pharaoh Hound remember to always use positive training and never use harsh corrections on obstacles. If you are training at a facility that uses these harsh methods consider using a different trainer.
Written by Brianna Brown, owner of UKC-Ch & AKC DC CharmedWons Phlash of Bling OA OAJ RA SC FCh HIC CGC VC