Dog agility is a sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for time and accuracy. Dogs run off-leash and the handler must control the dog by voice, movement and body signals. No food or toy incentives are permitted and the handler cannot touch the dog nor the obstacles. The obstacles can include A-frames, dog walks, see-saws, various tunnels, different types of jumps, pause tables and weaving poles.
Although agility is not an activity you might immediately think of doing with your greyhound, their athleticism, speed and intelligence make them good participants for the sport as more adopters are finding out. It may be too tempting for your greyhound to do a few “zoomies” in the middle of their run on the obstacle course and you might have to put in a little more effort than with some other breeds of dog, but the mental and physical stimulation it gives the dogs and the fun bonding time you spend with your pet will be very rewarding.
Remember, your greyhound is a sighthound and agility requires off-lead work so you must be confident of the control you have over your dog and always take measures to ensure their safety. Be mindful of any old injuries your dog may have suffered in its racing days. Agility will require a slow build up of physical fitness for your dog (not to mention yourself) and with a bit of knowledge, you can even start off in your own back yard.
Photos courtesy of Canine Fun Sports
Enquire at your local dog obedience club as many will have their own agility groups. Other specialised groups to contact are:
Agility Dog Association of Australia www.adaa.com.au
Dogs NSW is the state controlling body for the Australian National Kennel Council. Their website has a comprehensive list of dog agility clubs throughout the state. www.dogsnsw.com.au
Canine Fun Sports are a Sydney based group who run dog agility classes for all breeds with an emphasis on having fun with your dog. www.caninefunsports.com.au
Never Say Never Greyhounds in the USA have an excellent website and a lot of information and tips about doing agility and obedience with Greyhounds. www.neversaynevergreyhounds.net