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Monday, 14 March 2011

Is agility the answer?

I have a Labrador-collie cross who may have some other breeds mixed in with her. However, she is a rescue and was once a stray so her age is unknown. She is approximately seven years old. I understand dogs of this type need lots of mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. I try doing different activities with her having recently taken up clicker training, which she thoroughly enjoys. I try to play with her lots and have always wanted to do agility. But I don't know how I would go about doing this. I have tried searching the internet for clubs in my area but are there any specific sites that can inform you of agility clubs in your area? Also, would this activity be suitable for my dog? I have often thought of doing agility at home but the prices of equipment are too high! Another thing I would like to know is, will agility (or other activities) make my dog more active? When she first arrived she was very active but has now become very lazy! Any advice would be appreciated.

Lauren Bulmer, by email


  1. You can find a list of agility clubs on but personally I think it's a bit late to start "proper" agility with a seven-year-old. You might be better off investigating fun classes that incorporate aspects - Rally could be ideal. Google "Rally obedience" plus your county and see if you can find any local classes. Don't be put off by the "obedience" bit - it's a lot more fun than heel-work round the village hall!

    Christine Bailey, Dogs Today

  2. I teach my clients Dog Agility in their back garden! Apart from the bigger equipment such as A-frames, most things can be bought on a smaller scale. I have a specially designed smaller set myself, but my clients have used childrens' play tunnels, flowerpots with upturned canes balanced on them for jumps, and weave poles can be pretty much anything. As long as you are aware of the safety aspects involved here, you can really get your dog running around and having fun!

  3. Hi Lauren,
    I second Christine's comment - Rally Obedience is a fun sport that any dog of any age/ability can do.  Best of all, you don't have to spend a fortune to have a go in your own back garden.
    There are two "schools" of rally currently operating in the UK, and both are very similar in their approach:
    Talking Dogs Rally (TD Rally) - signs and a mini manual can be downloaded free of charge from their website: .
    APDT UK Rally- signs and instruction booklets are also downloadable free of charge via their website:
    Both sites list Rally Obedience Trainers and host Rally Trails, so if the bug bites hard, you can move on to competitions.
    I’ve been taking Rally Obedience classes with my dog Patch for over a year now, and we both love it to bits!
    Have fun,
    Claire Goyer, Canine Nutrition Therapist - The Haslemere Pet Company