Agility at Rivermeadow Labradors
Dog Agility is canine
show jumping, with a twist. The twist being that
whilst a rider is mounted on their horse, with reins and legs to steer around a
course, the Competitive Agility Dog has to negotiate a course of jumps and
obstacles off the lead, with the handler only able to communicate by voice and
body language. In a competition it is forbidden to touch your dog, or take
treats or toys into the ring. Labradors, especially from working bred
lines, do very well at Agility. Their exuberance, athleticism, and
biddability all point to a fun breed to run with.
I have done Agility for many years with Fife, Ash, Oak and Fig, and they have all loved it.
Currently I compete Oak and Fig who really enjoy this Agility game, regularly achieving clear rounds, and on the more twisty courses the fact that they are so in tune with me comes into its own, and they shave seconds from their times by being “with me” on the tight turns.
Oak has won from Grade 1 to Grade 6 during his career, with much of his success being due to his ability to take directions from a distance – he flies ahead of me, as I puff behind him calling out instructions “left, right, tunnel!” and Oak takes the correct obstacles in the correct order, galloping around the course to the finish. Oak now has his Kennel Club Agility Warrant Platinum – what a fabulous achievement from a fabulous dog!
Fig is truly his father’s son, and also adores agility! He is very accurate, keen, and biddable, and is already Grade 5 with his Kennel Club Agility Warrant Platinum.
In my opinion Agility is the perfect complement to Gundog training, as the bond between dog and handler is very strong. Yes, Agility is about speed and excitement, but it is also about obedience and accuracy, and the true partnership between dog and handler.
Agility is very addictive! I train three nights a week during the summer months, and compete most weekends. Not only is it fun, but it is also a good way to keep the dogs fit. (Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to work for me, though!).
Oak doing agility Fig doing agility Ash doing agility