Dog Agility Equipment
Dog Agility Q & A

When you're
just starting out you have tons of questions and very few answers. That's what this section is for -- Q & A.

I'm writing a book called "1000 Questions (and Answers!) About Dog Agility" and I still need quite a few questions before I can finish. So I've been soliciting questions from the visitors to and answering them in the mailing list.

Following are a few of the more common questions (and answers!) that I've received over the last couple years. If your question isn't here, send me an email and ask! Also, if you'd like more Q & A, please subscribe to my email list -- every couple weeks or so you'll receive free training tips, Q & A, etc.

Now, here are a few Qs and some As from the past...

Q. I live in __(fill in the blank)__ and I want to start agility lessons with my dog. Can you tell me who to contact for lessons?

A. Anybody who knows me will say that I know an awful lot (okay, only my kids will say that, and they're not teenagers yet), but I don't know of all the agility trainers around the world.

However, I was able to go to my trusty bookmark collection and pull out the following URL:

CleanRun Club Listing

Clean Run has a searchable database with info on agility clubs and schools. Take a peek at what's in your area.

Also, a question that's asked a lot is how to find an agility trial near __(fill in the blank)__ and the answer is very near the same thing:

CleanRun Events

That address will lead you to Clean Run's list of trials, fun runs, seminars, etc.

Oh, if you ever end up buying something from Clean Run because I sent you there, be sure and let them know. I'm bucking for a free subscription to their great magazine! :)

Q. How do I know how far apart to space the poles on my weave poles. Is the measurement from the edge of one pole to the edge of the next? Or from center to center? Help!

A. Calm down, bucko. The short answer is that it's not all that critical. Well, you want to have the correct width between poles, but the difference of part of an inch probably isn't going to make any difference to your dog.

In NADAC, for instance, you have about one inch of leeway -- the poles should be 20"-21" from center to center. It also says the poles should be 36"-48" tall and the width of the poles should be 3/4"-1" in diameter.

How did I know all that? I checked the NADAC website -- their rules page, specifically. It's here:


Q. I have a dog that I adopted from the SPCA and I don't know his exact age. I have read that a dog must be at least 18-months old to enter a competition, so how do I determine my dog's exact age?

A. First, thanks for adopting a dog. Both of mine came from the pound and while I won't say that I'll never buy a purebreed, I don't see that happening any time soon. (I have two children and they're adopted, too, although not from the pound. Adoption seems to have become a lifestyle choice in our family.)

Anyway, here's how it works. Get around "dog people" and ask them how old they think your dog is. Then go to your vet and ask how old he or she thinks your dog is. When you get a number that "feels" right, grab a calendar and work backwards until you find your dog's birthday. Ta-da! You now know when your dog was born and so you know his exact age.

The short answer is, you make it up! As long as it's reasonable nobody will question it.

Q. My dog is 10 months old and I'd like to get her started in agility as soon as possible. How old does a dog have to be to do agility?

A. How old the dog should be to train in agility and compete in agility are two different things. For training, start your puppy early. Make it's all a game to them (which it is, of course). Be careful not to start your dog on jumping too soon -- you want to be sure their "growth plates" have finished closing before subjecting them to constant or high jumps. Check with your vet to see when that typically happens for your particular breed.

Q. In the novice agility class, will there be weaves? Is there a specific list of obstacles that will be involved in this class?

A. Yes, you can pretty much count on having a set of at least six weave poles to deal with in the novice class -- no matter which flavor of agility you do. There are lists of obstacles that you *will* and *may* encounter at the websites of the different organizations. Click the "Trials" button at the top of this page to find links to the different organizations.



What Would You
Like to Know?

What I need from YOU is a question. Or two questions, or three, or however many questions you have. Write a question in the form below and click the Send button. If you have more than one question, use the form over and over.






PS - Asking a question will NOT subscribe you to my email list. That has to be done over here. That also means that you need to subscribe if you ever want to see the answer to your question.