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 East Coast BAD people now have their own nickname: the BAD BEARDS. Check out the BAD BEARDS photo gallery! Seamus, Dinah, Charlie and Cadence appear on the site!

The Clean Run Productions Web site contains descriptions of Clean Run's many agility publications, plus a page on their annual agility camp.

Jody and CadenceA 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:

Charlie, water dog