Agility with dogs

The GSDCA supports the promotion of sporting activities such as Agility and Jumping. Below is an insight into the field of agility.

Agility explained

Agility titles

Agility trials test the dog’s ability to negotiate various strange obstacles and its willingness to follow instructions. It tests the handler’s control of the dog and their ability to communicate the course requirements to the dog in a clear and speedy manner. The whole course is negotiated at speed, and the dog must negotiate each obstacle along the route. Every course is different. The handler walks the course beforehand but the dog can not be pre-warned of the order in which each obstacle must be taken. Faults result from knocked bars, hesitating at an obstacle, missing a “Contact Colour” (a safety condition) or taking an obstacle out of sequence etc.

To qualify, the dog must run “Clear” (no faults) within the Standard Course Time. Novice Agility dogs need to run at speeds of at least 2 metres per second ; Excellent at 2.5 mps and Masters at 3mps. Novice titles require 3 qualifications; Excellent require 5 qualifications and Masters need 7 qualifications.

Jumping Dog titlesalncrysquestintunnel

Jumping courses are similar to Agility courses but do not include Contact equipment (such as Dog Walk, A-Frame,See-saw) or weave poles. This means that (1) dogs still learning to weave, can enter jumping trials and (2) the course times are therefore much faster. Dogs that are really fast have a tendency to miss the Contact Colours, and therefore get their Jumping titles before their Agility titles.

In addition to Agility and Jumping courses there are currently 3 Games courses where titles can be earned – again in Novice, Excellent and Masters grades. They are Gamblers, Snooker and Strategic Pairs.

Gamblers Dog titles

Novice Gamblers is an Agility course in which each obstacle is worth specific points. (eg single jumps are 1 point each, tunnels and tyres are worth 2 each, contact obstacles like A-Frame and Dog Walk are 3 points while the hardest obstacle – 12 Weave Poles are worth 4 points). The handlers each choose their own course, according to their dog’s ability, but they must amount a minimum of 20 points within 45 seconds. Then they have an additional 20 seconds to complete “The Gamble”. The Gamble consists of 4 or 5 obstacles which the dog has to complete in order. BUT the handler must remain outside the “Exclusion Zone” (a line marked 3 to 10 feet from these obstacles) so the handler needs to be able to direct the dog from a distance. There are no faults in the first sequence. It is tricky but fun. Excellent and Masters courses are similar but the dog needs to accumulate more points in less time, and “the Gamble” is more difficult.


Snooker Dog Title

This course contains 3 “red ball” jumps plus a selection of other obstacles with allocated point values. Each handler chooses a route and directs the dog to take one Red jump first, followed by one other obstacle, then again a Red followed by a “Coloured obstacle” etc until 3 Reds and 3 coloureds have been attempted, then they race to complete the final sequence of obstacles – in the order set by the judge. To qualify, the dog must accumulate at least 10 points (Novice) plus complete the final sequence in the Standard Course Time. The judge ensures that the Red jumps are set at a distance from each other – and from the highest scoring obstacles. To gain high points the dog must obediently run past lesser valued obstacles, to reach the one selected by the handler. Again, Excellent and Masters courses give less choice of obstacles and require more points, in less time.

Strategic Pairs

This course is designed for 2 dogs to be on the course at the same time. They need to be sociable. The obstacles are numbered in broken sequences so that each dog negotiates 1 or 2 parts of the course, and each must wait for it’s turn.

(J Liston, Golden Jubilee Edition of Condensed History of the GSD in Australia)

Agility Titles Attainable

AD – Agility Dog
ADX – Agility Dog Excellent
ADM – Agility Dog Masters
ADO – Agility Dog Open
JD – Jumping Dog
JDX – Jumping Dog Excellent
JDM – Jumping Dog Masters
JDO – Jumping Dog Open
GD – Gamblers Dog
GDX – Gamblers Dog Excellent
GDM – Gamblers Dog MastersSD – Snooker Dog
SDX – Snooker Dog Excellent
SDM – Snooker Dog MastersSPD – Strategic Pairs
SPDX – Strategic Pairs Excellent
SPDM – Strategic Pairs Masters

Dogs Australia (ANK) Rules and Regulations for Agility

See ANKC Website