Skip to main content

Top tips on getting started with dog agility

Back to overview

Keen to take up dog agility in 2018? Our sponsored agility handler, Mariann Bayliss, has put together some top tips on getting started!

Who can do agility?

The brilliant thing about agility is that all types, sizes and shapes of dogs can take part. The best place to find a club and/or a trainer is on Most clubs specify that your dog must be over one year old and it is a good idea to ask your vet when your particular breed of dog will have finished growing.

Before starting, you must make sure that your dog is fully socialised and that you have effective control at all times, especially as your dog will be off the lead. Basic obedience such as recall, sit, stay etc. is very important to master before your first agility class.

What do I need to bring?

Your club or trainer will tell you what sort of collar and lead your dog should wear. You should bring poo bags to clean up after your dog and wear outdoor footwear and clothing that is easy for you to move about in.

What’s involved?

There are two types of agility classes, “agility courses” and “jumping courses,” both of which feature a variety of obstacles. Agility courses use contact equipment; a-frames, see-saws and dog walks. For the dog to complete the contact equipment correctly they must make contact with the area marked at the beginning and end of the equipment with at least one foot. As well as contact equipment there can also be jumps, weaves, spread jumps, a long jump, walls, tunnels and tyres. Jumping classes also use all of these obstacles apart from the contact equipment.

Starting competing:

To compete in Kennel Club licensed agility shows, dogs must be registered with the Kennel Club, either on the breed register or activity register (for dogs without breed pedigree). You will need to have an agility record book in which to record your dog’s height and all your competition results and clear rounds.

Agility is great fun and an excellent way to improve the bond with your dog. We would love to hear about you and your dog’s successes and achievements so don’t forget to post them on our Facebook page or tag us on Twitter!

Tips & Tricks