Participating in dog agility is one of the best ways to bond with your dog. After a few months of agility classes, you will notice that you and your dog communicate without having to say anything. It all has to do with body language. Dog agility trials offer you one more way to keep that bond strong and give you an idea of how your dog focuses on you even with so many distractions.
If you decide to enter an agility event with your dog, consider the volunteer opportunities available at the trial. Volunteering for one of the trial jobs helps you become acquainted with other competitors and makes the events run smoothly. It also gives you a close up view of the agility course and something to do besides get nervous before your agility run. Make sure you designate which events you are competing in when you fill out the volunteer form. This ensures you free time for your event. Even beginner agility enthusiasts can do most of the volunteer work.
Volunteering for ring crew is a good starter job at the trial. All that is involved is sitting on the sidelines and watching the dogs run the course. If a dog should knock off a jump bar, you run in and put it back on the jump. Also, when the dog groups change, you set the jump bars to the correct height for the dog. You do not have to guess because the judge yells out the jump height.
Leash runner is another beginner volunteer job. Each handler takes the leash and collar off the dog before beginning the course. The leash runner takes the collar and leash and carries it to the end of the course. When the dog completes the final obstacle, you hand the leash to the handler.
Course builders set up the new agility course for each event. This job involves moving jumps, tunnels, weave poles, A- frames, hoops, and dog walks. A course chart is available to show where the obstacles go and how they are numbered. The judge is also available to direct how the course should be set.
The time of each dog's run is calculated electronically. When the dog runs through the first obstacle, it registers on the time keeping machine. The timekeeper just has to make sure the time begins as soon as the dog begins its run and turns off when the dog passes the final obstacle.
The scribe's job is to write down the time it took each dog to complete the agility course. When the dog finishes the run, the timekeeper tells the scribe the dog's time.
North American Agility Council
Act Up Agility Club