Agility: Be as BAD as You Wanna Be!
Comin' at ya!!
Agility is becoming more and more popular with Beardie owners (and others, as well) because it's FUN and fast-paced. Many people have said that doing agility has not only improved their relationships with their Beardies, but has also managed to help them overcome the couch-potato habit themselves!
There are a number of "leagues" in which you can compete in agility. These include AKC, USDAA, NADAC/ASCA, UKC, DOCNA (Dogs on Course in North America), UKC-Canada, CPE, and AAC. Each has its own set of rules and qualifications, so get yourself a rulebook for each league you're interested in. You'll need to register your dog in each of the leagues in which you want to compete. You don't have to become a member yourself, but it's definitely the best way to keep up with the events happening in your leagues.
There is also a newer agility "league" in town: UKI agility. Although the sport and the UK Agility International organization are based in the UK, UKI agility events are now taking place in the USA and Canada as well.
Whether you do it just for fun or you want to get into the competition, you'll want to visit the BAD (Beardie Agility Diehards) Web site. Libby Myers-Buhite has collected a wealth of valuable information on training, equipment, competition in NADAC, USDAA, UKC, and AKC agility, "war stories" from BAD members and their Beardies, links to lots of other agility-related sites, including the Agility Webring... the list goes on and on. Don't forget to order your BAD T-shirt while you're there -- legend has it that they bring good luck to BAD members who wear them to trials!
The Clean Run Productions Web site contains descriptions of Clean Run's many agility publications, plus a page on their annual agility camp.
A number of trainers run agility classes, but be sure to choose carefully. You want a trainer that doesn't jump young dogs until they're at least 18 months of age, and who helps to make agility class a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your dog.
Rowan and I currently train with Penny Cary. Charlie, Seamus, and I trained at It's a Dog's World with Jim Gregg, and Dinah trains there now. Dinah trained at Happy Tails in Portland with Cindy Ratner, and Seamus trained there with Ann Andrle. We belonged to NEAT: The New England Agility Team when we lived closer to there. NEAT has members in seacoast NH and Southern Maine. Contact NEAT for more information. (Charlie didn't really enjoy agility as much as he enjoyed jumping into kiddie pools. If he had to choose a dog sport that didn't involve kiddie pools, he'd have chosen tracking.)
Dinah Moe loves agility! Too bad her mom is such a klutz.
Some Local Agility Links and Resources:
- AgilityEvents.Net -- Web site that allows you to search out agility trials, premiums, and contact with trial secretaries in several agility venues. Includes a nifty "click-2-enter" function for NADAC Fun-Raiser events.
- NEAT (New England Agility Team)
- SMARRT (Southern Maine Agile Ruff Runners Team) Agility Club of Southern Maine
- Clean Run Productions
- Eastern Maine Agility Club, Bar Harbor, ME
- CATS (Canine Agility Training Society), NH -- Their site has an amazing list of links to all manner of agility resources, including clubs, equipment, event photographers, trial secretaries, email lists... you name it!
- Poetic Gold Farm — offers multiple levels of agility classes in Falmouth, ME.
- Piscataqua Obedience Club — We are tickled to bits that POC (our local training club) now offers agility classes! Check out the class schedule on the POC website.
- Telling Tails Training, Fryeburg, ME: (207) 642-3693. Telling Tails offers multiple levels of agility, from beginner to advanced, as well as a "just for fun" class. You can sign up for multiple sessions or drop in to a class for a fee.
- K-9 Games, Lisbon, ME: (207) 353-0005. Ginny Seavey offers basic obedience and agility classes, both group and private lessons.
- Finish Forward Dogs Training Studio, Saco, ME: (207) 251-2296. We couldn't be more tickled about having a training facility open reasonably close to us! Shannan Hall-Nutting and her faculty of trainers will offer agility and loads of other classes.
- WAG IT! Training Center and Dog Club, Lincolnville, ME: Cindy Ratner, whom Dinah and I trained with, is one of the agility instructors at the WAG IT agility camps. The camp also features Stacy Peardot-Goudy on the faculty.
- North Star Dog Training, Somerville, ME: (207) 549-4613. Carolyn Fuhrer offers agility, obedience, and tracking classes.
- Arf and Running -- PVC agility equipment
- Atomic Agility Equipment: (207) 363-8425.-- Another local maker of agility equipment, based in York, ME.
- It's a Dog's World, York, Maine, (207) 363-0099. Agility classes and the occasional run-through.
- Agility Nerd -- a blog about dog agility and technology. Features some useful articles on reading course maps and such.
- A1 Agility -- Web site devoted to agility and training issues.
- Rip It Up Agility -- One of the members of EMAC makes sturdy and reasonably-priced equipment.