Agility began as an exhibition sport in Great Britain and was imported to the United States in 1977. The sport was patterned after equestrian events and combines handler control, agility, and confidence. The sport of agility is comprised of a course set up of many different obstacles. Agility is meant to be a fun, non-regimented sport, with a lot of spectator appeal. Obstacles include jumps, tunnels, a dog walk, a see-saw or teeter, an A-frame and weave poles.
The rules are fairly simple; handlers may give an unlimited number of commands or signals to their dogs, but may not touch either the equipment or the dog. Dogs are 'faulted' for actions such as taking down a jump bar, failing to put one or more feet in the safety or contact zone when ascending/descending contact equipment, taking obstacles out of sequence, and running past or stopping before the next obstacle to be performed. Time penalties are additionally assessed against dogs that exceed the SCT.
Dogs compete only against dogs of similar height at the withers within a fixed number of jump height divisions. The number of height divisions and the ranges of dog heights assigned to a height division (and therefore the difficulty factor) differ considerably from organization to organization. Regardless of the organization, the dog with the lowest number of faults and the fastest time wins the class or height division.
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