Thanks to their energy and their desire to work with their handlers in the field, Border Terriers are naturals in a wide variety of events, including Agility. Agility allows Border Terriers to use their speed, dexterity and agility in timed setting, an event in which they excel. If you are interested in an event that not only provides exercise for you and your Border Terrier, but opens doors to a whole world of meeting other handlers and Border Terriers, Agility might be a good choice for you.
Agility is an event in which a dog and his handler negotiate an obstacle course, working as a team. The dog must work without a leash, and the handler cannot touch the dog or the obstacles, so all the directions must be given as signals or spoken cues. Agility events are offered by a wide variety of associations, including the American Kennel Club and the Border Terriers Club of America, and they offer a variety of classes. Each course is designed by the judge and should be just difficult enough that the dog cannot complete the course on his own, therefore making the presence of the handler a necessity.
There are quite a few obstacles that can be included in an agility course, including an A-Frame, which is two platforms hinged together that the dog must climb over, a Dogwalk, which is usually about four feet above the ground, a seesaw, in which the dog must cross, a series of tunnels and a series of jumps. There are also a series of miscellaneous tasks that can be included in the course, including a pause table or a pause box, in which the dog must either jump on a table or step into a square marked on the ground and pause for about five seconds, or weave poles, in which the dog must weave in and out of a series of upright poles.
In addition to the several titles available to Border Terriers in Agility competitions, the Border Terrier Club of America also awards a special prize once a year called the Creative Dog Agility Award, or the Harry Award. In addition to their speed, dexterity and agility, Border Terriers are also intelligent, creative and sometimes downright funny in the ring. Named after a champion called Harry (official title Towzie Tyke Harris Tweed AX AXJ ME CG FMX RN CGC), who was well loved for his cheerful personality and clownish streak in competition, this award goes to the most creative run done by a Border Terrier submitted during the year.
If you are interested in learning more or training for Agility trials, contact your local kennel club. Many local clubs offer training and seminars for a wide variety of events, including Agility. Joining a local kennel club is also a great way to meet other Border Terrier owners in your area and to learn from their experience. Whether your Border Terrier is a champion in the making or not, Agility is a great way to spend time with him.