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 and throughout the year.
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 mistakes (faults) and in the fastest possible time. The best sound the agility team can hear on completing a course is clapping aka “clear round” meaning no faults!
The obstacles include:
- Different types of jump i.e. “winged” jumps, walls, spreads, tyres
- Tunnels…dogs LOVE tunnels!
- 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 probably the most difficult piece of equipment for the dogs to learn but, once mastered, 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
- Find yourself a good trainer. Do ask around for recommendations & visit the training facility before you commit.
- “Agility Foundation Training” can start at any age (my puppy started at 10 weeks!). Initially, much of this training is to do with focus, obedience, proprioception & learning directions – the building blocks of agility. In order to protect a developing muscular skeletal system, a good trainer will NOT expect a puppy to actually jump, do weaves or the contact equipment until they are approximately one year old & have mastered all the basics.
- The dog must be fit and healthy
- It is helpful, but not essential, if the dog is already trained 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 was formed so that those of us who love to do agility with our ginger boys and girls could get instant recognition…without competing against other breeds! Since its inception the league has also proved to be an excellent resource for anyone wanting help with training issues, looking for suitable clubs / trainers etc.
Rules of the UK Hungarian Vizsla Agility League
1.The league will run from 1st January to 31st December each year and is based on a points system (see below). When a new member joins part way through the year they are permitted to submit results from the month of their approval to the league. For example, those joining on 24 May 2019 would be eligible to submit results from 1 May 2019.
2.The league is run on an honesty basis.
3.The administrators for the league are Rachel Shergold, Sue Roberton and Juliet Bailiff. The administrators will meet at least twice a year (spring and autumn) to carry out league business.
4.There is no annual fee to join this league. However, we do charge an entry fee for our Annual League Competition – this charge is purely to cover costs, with any profits being donated to Vizsla charities. We seek sponsorship for rosettes, end of year awards & competition prizes from league members and external companies.
5.All UK based owners of Hungarian Vizslas are welcome to join this league though preference will be given to those currently competing and/or training, or those actively looking to start agility training.
6.To compete within the league dogs must be a minimum of:
a.16 months old – for Steeplechase courses only
b.18 months old for all courses i.e. Agility, Jumping and Steeplechase
7.Prior to joining the league the following information is required for our records:
b.Owner/handler email address
c.HV “Pet” and KC name(s)
d.HV date(s) of birth
e.Owner/handler KC and UKA grades
8.The Vizslas will remain in the grade that they start the year in – the owner is responsible for changing their grade at the beginning of every New Year. The grading will be based on the KC format so the groups for the league are as follows:
|UK HV League Groups||Kennel Club Grades|
|Group 1||Grades 1 and 2|
|Group 2||Grades 3 and 4|
|Group 3||Grades 5 and above|
9.This league is all about the dogs therefore if someone else handles the dog (for whatever reason) points may still be claimed.
10.Points can only be claimed for the following shows:
a.Kennel Club Open, Limited and their finals
b.Listed and unaffiliated shows i.e. UKA, FAB, and their finals
c.You may claim points from the annual Vizsla league agility show
Points CANNOT be claimed from leagues (with the exception of our annual league show – see above), single breed shows and inter-club shows or for overseas competitions.
11.In order that the league is fair for everyone, including newly competing members, points may only be claimed for the following classes:
Points CANNOT be claimed for teams, trios, pairs, KO events or any other games classes.
In events where the best round out of two (for example) counts, only one round can be claimed.
12.Points will be awarded as follows:
13.Placing points can only be claimed if a “placed” 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.
14.Results should be sent to Juliet Bailiff (via private message or email) by the 7th OF EACH MONTH for competitions completed during the previous month i.e. May results MUST be submitted by the 7th June. Any months results not received by the 7th of the following month will NOT be included in the league tables unless by prior arrangement.
15.The following information is required (preferably using the spreadsheet that can be found in the “Files” section of the Facebook group):
a.Date(s) of competition(s)
b.Name(s) of competitions
d.Results i.e. a “place” (if the relevant rosette was awarded) or “clear round”
Juliet Bailiff will publish league tables on a monthly basis and will forward the league tables to the relevant person for inclusion in Our Dogs, the HVC & HVS websites.
16.Rosettes will be awarded to all participants in the league at year end according to their Group and position within that Group. In addition, there is a perpetual trophy (kindly donated by Paula Triggs in memory for her HV Ross) that is awarded to the HV that has the highest number of overall points.
17.Please note, we do not permit advertisements of any description on the group Facebook page.
SO IF YOU WANT TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS AND LEARN EVEN MORE ABOUT THIS FANTASTIC, FUN SPORT…PLEASE JOIN US!
The Vizsla league has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2012 and currently comprises over 160 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 – search for “UK HV & HWV Agility”!