The concept of canine agility began in the UK in 1977 and quickly spread throughout the world. It is currently one of Britain’s fastest growing dog sports with training classes and competitions being held across the country.
The aims of dog agility are very similar to show jumping – the dogs (with the help of their handler’s voice, movement and hand/body signals) have to complete a course of between 16 and 20 obstacles in the right numerical order, without any faults and in the fastest possible time. The best words the agility team can hear on completing a course are “clear round” meaning no faults!
The obstacles include:
- Different types of jump i.e. “winged” jumps, walls, spreads, tyres
- Weave poles – here the dog is required to “weave” its way through a series of closely spaced poles (up to a maximum of 12 poles). This is without doubt the most difficult piece of equipment for the dogs to learn but, once they have mastered it, is the most spectacular to watch!
- “Contact” obstacles i.e. the A-frame, dog-walk and see-saw. These are obstacles that the dog has to run over while ensuring that they “touch the contact points” (painted a different colour) at the beginning and end of the piece of equipment.
At training classes the dogs often learn with the help of toys or treats…but…when it comes to competitions these incentives are not allowed, nor is the handler allowed to touch the dog during the running of the competition course!
But…you don’t have to compete…there are many owners who are happy to attend weekly classes for the overall training that it offers, socialisation (of dog and human), bond building with your four-legged charge and helping to keep both owners and dogs fit. Even better – agility training exercises the brain too…for both of you!
So, hopefully, you can see that dog agility is a fun sport that helps to build a true partnership between dog and human.
Before Starting Agility Training
The following is essential before beginning agility training:
- The dog must be at least 6 months old before they can begin “puppy agility training” or, as it’s often called, “foundation training”
- The dog must be fit and healthy
- The dog needs to be able to “sit”, “stay” (or “wait”) and “come” i.e. basic obedience
The “UK Hungarian Vizsla Agility League”
In June 2012 the UK Hungarian Vizsla Agility League (UKHVAL) was formed so that those who love to do agility with their ginger boys and girls could get recognition without competing against other breeds. We decided to set up a Facebook group for the following reasons:
- So that achievements could be recognised and celebrated instantly
- As a resource for those wanting help, advice, tips etc. The league the ideal place to get help and advice on all aspects of agility – from tips on how to deal with particular pieces of equipment to how to start out in the competition world
- A place where photographs and videos could be shared and stored
Rules of the UK Hungarian Vizsla Agility League
The league will run from 1st January to 31st December each year and is based on a points system (see below). New members that join later in the year will have their points backdated.
The league is run on an honesty basis.
The administrators for the league are Rachel Shergold, Sue Roberton, Juliet Bailiff and Lindsay Thomason
At present there is no annual fee to join this league. We seek sponsorship for rosettes and end of year awards.
All UK based owners of Hungarian Vizslas are welcome to join this league. We will accept HV Crosses as members of the Facebook Group but they will NOT be able to compete within the league nor will they be able to compete at our annual agility day (though NFC runs will be accepted). To compete in the league dogs must be:
- A minimum of 16 months old – for Steeplechase courses only
- A minimum of 18 months old for all courses i.e. Agility, Jumping and Steeplechase
- Veterans (over 7 years of age on 1st January of the competing year) will compete in the main league – if we find that there are a “reasonable” number of veterans still competing we will look to have a separate competing group
When registering we ask that the following information be provided so that we have both the handler/owner and the dog(s) full details:
- Owner/handler name
- Owner/handler email address
- Owner/handler Facebook name
- HV “Pet” and KC name(s)
- HV date(s) of birth
- Owner/handler KC and UKA running grades The Vizsla will remain in the grade that they start the year in – the owner is responsible for changing the grade at the beginning of every New Year. The grading will be based on the KC format so the gradings for the league are as follows:
UK Hungarian Vizsla League Grades Kennel Club Group 1 Grades 1 Group 2 Grades 2 and 3 Group 3 Grades 4 and above
This league is all about the dogs therefore if someone else handles the dog (for whatever reason) points may still be claimed.
Points can only be claimed for the following shows:
- Kennel Club Open or Limited
- Unaffiliated shows i.e. UKA, EMDAC and ABAA
Points CANNOT be claimed from invitational events, leagues, single breed only and inter-club shows.
In order that the league is fair for everyone, including newly competing members, points may only be claimed for the following classes:
Points can only be claimed if a “position” rosette is presented by the show (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc), otherwise clear round points must be claimed. Clear round points can be claimed for Clear Rounds within course time even if no clear round rosette is awarded by the show.
When claiming points we ask that you return the Excel Monthly Results Submission spreadsheet during the first week of each month. A copy of this spreadsheet will be provided for all members and is also available to download from the “Files” section on the groups Facebook page.
We will provide league tables on a monthly basis.
Rosettes will be awarded to all league participants at year end according to their Group and position within that Group. In addition, there are five end of year special prizes that are awarded by the administrators. These prize categories are:
- Clear Rounds
- Places (1st to 5th)
- Veteran (over 7 years on 1st January of the relevant year)
- Young Competing Dog/Bitch (under 3 years on 1st January of the relevant year)
- Puppy Prize (under 2 years on 1st January of the relevant year). This is a photo/video competition and is aimed at those members who do not yet compete but are just starting out in the agility world
SO IF YOU WANT TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS AND LEARN EVEN MORE ABOUT THIS FANTASTIC, FUN SPORT…PLEASE JOIN US!
The UKHVAL has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2012 and currently comprises over 130 members (with more waiting in the wings!). We’re an eclectic mix of individuals – from the very experienced to those who are just considering starting out in the agility world…and everything in between! When you join us you’ll find that we’re a dedicated and caring group of people who just want the best for our Vizslas. We believe that agility is an ideal way of providing that all important mental and physical stimulation that our precious breed thrive on – we would encourage anyone that is lucky enough to be owned by (!) these multi-talented Hungarian Vizslas to consider starting this excellent form of training.
WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ON FACEBOOK!
At the East of England Just Dogs Live Show (10-12 July 2015) 9 human and 14 ginger members of the HV & HWV Agility League aka ‘Team Ginger’ completed two agility demonstrations each day of the show. Our remit was to demonstrate agility training from puppy foundation through to competing dogs using positive training methods. We had Vizslas (both smooth and wire) of varying ages, from 6 months to 10 years of age taking part. We were all a little nervous as putting on a demonstration was a first for us all. However, we received great feedback and we’ve been asked back next year! In addition to having a great time, we also raised £200 for Vizsla Welfare by donating our expense.