​Columbus All-Breed Training Club

We have Instructors at CATC who are experts in Agility, including  several AKC Agility Judges!

What is AKC Agility?

Agility Foundations
THE GOAL - to develop teamwork between the dog and handler as they learn the basic skills needed to move the dog between obstacles on an agility course.  This is the first class in the Agility series.  It is a required class, is also on the lottery system and it is a 2 session class (Foundations 1 and 2).  Off leash control of the dog is required to begin agility. 

  • Control of dog and quick/solid response to basic commands such as sit, down, and stay in an exciting environment
  • Basic handling skills including use of body, shoulders and arms to direct dog's movement
  • Improve handler's timing and ability to read dog
  • Begin to develop correct jumping skills, styles and techniques
  • Ability to execute agility related commands such as go round, go out, go (forward), etc
  • Introduction to body movements and correct dog response to the various crosses
Agility Level I

THE GOAL - to familiarize the dogs and handlers with each piece of equipment so they can perform each obstacle individually with the dogs on a tab including:


  • Safely and confidently executing (one at a time) the A-frame, open and collapsed tunnels, dog walk, weave poles, table, and single, long and tire jumps
  • Control of dog while on and between obstacles including wait, stop, easy, come here, slow and stay commands
  • Development of relationship between dog and handler with awareness of dog at all times
  • How to motivate dog using praise, toys and treatsCorrect set-up, tear-down, movement and safety issues of each piece of equipment
Agility Level II

THE GOAL - to be able to perform each obstacle confidently with minimal handler assistance and ability to run sets of up to four obstacles.  By the conclusion of class, dog should display sufficient control to move on to level 3


  • Introduce combinations of obstacles
  • Improve ability to work dog on either side (right or left)
  • Introduce hand signals and directional control
  • Increase distance between dog and handler
  • Perfect control commands introduced in Level 1Introduce the concept of a moving board in preparation for teeter work
Agility Level III
THE GOAL - to be able to perform each obstacle confidently without handler assistance and introduction of remaining obstacles:

  • Further improve hand signals and directional control
  • Introduce course strategy, handler positioning, and the basics of agility competition
  • Introduce obstacle discrimination
  • Introduce double and triple jumps and the teeter
  • Develop dog's ability to complete a course unaided
  • Gradually increase jump and obstacle heightsPolish ability to perform multiple combinations of obstacles
Agility Level IV
THE GOAL - to prepare dogs and handlers to compete at the novice level

  • Further explain course strategy
  • Polish hand signals and directional control
  • Review various agility organizations and their rules
  • Polish ability to complete each obstacle at full height
  • Introduction to agility gamesEmphasize the necessity and development of control through practice of lead-outs, call-off, etc.

Agility Level V

THE GOAL - to prepare dogs and handlers to compete at the Open level

  • Proof ability to work obstacles with distance control
  • Proof hand signals and obstacle discrimination
  • Improve ability to execute a variety of full courses under competition conditions
  • Work on advanced course strategies and positioning
  • Proof jumping abilities at full heightIntroduce basics of course design
Agility Level VI
THE GOAL - to attempt extremely difficult sequences from actual competition courses using group analysis and experimentation.
Agility Weavepoles
This is a specialty class and is offered when instructor availability and space allow.  It focuses specifically on performance of the weave poles.

It is one of the fastest growing dog sports in the USA!

Agility is a sport that appeals to all dog lovers - from young people to senior citizens. It has great spectator appeal. Agility is designed to demonstrate a dog's willingness to work with its handler in a variety of situations. It is an athletic event that requires conditioning, concentration, training and teamwork. Dog and handlers negotiate an obstacle course racing against the clock.

The AKC offers a variety of competitive classes. The Standard Class, includes contact objects such as the dog walk, the A-frame, and seesaw. Each of the contact obstacles has a "safety zone" painted on the object and the dog must place at least one paw in that area to complete the obstacle. Another is Jumpers with Weaves. It has only jumps, tunnels and weaves poles with no contact objects. Another competition class is FAST, which stands for Fifteen and Send Time. This class is designed to test handler and dog teams' strategy skill, accuracy, speed and distance handling.

All classes offer increasing levels of difficulty to earn Novice, Open, Excellent and Master titles. After completing both an Excellent Standard title and an Excellent Jumpers title, handler and dog teams can compete for the MACH - faster than the speed of sound! (Master Agility Championship title.)

Agility began in England in 1978.  The AKC held its first agility trial in 1994.  Agility is one of the fastest growing dog sports in the United States and is the fastest growing event at the AKC.

A trial is a competition.  Clubs hold practice matches and then apply to be licensed to hold official trials.  At a licensed trial, handlers and dogs can earn scores toward agility titles.
An advantage to AKC participation is that dogs can earn titles in a variety of events such as conformation, lure coursing, earth dog, retrieving and field trials, obedience, rally, tracking, as well as agility.

In the first year of AKC agility there were 23 trials. In 2003, there were 1,379 trials. The number of trials held in 2007 was 2,014.

AKC agility is available to every registerable breed as well as mixed breed dogs as of April 2010. From tiny Yorkshire Terriers to giant Irish Wolfhounds, the dogs run the same course with adjustments in the expected time and jump height.  The classes are divided by jump heights in order to make the competition equal between the different sizes of dogs.

Agility classes are available to those who qualify for Advanced classes only.  Due to safety and space considerations, there are strict rules governing the number of dogs allowed in class and their prior level of training.

Members must pre-register for agility classes by signing up in the Agility Lottery notebook. If more people sign up than there are spots available in a class, there is a lottery drawing. The list is posted in the Member section of the website to notify them of the results of the lottery. Members who are not selected for a particular class are guaranteed a spot in the next class if they pre-register for the next session and note their name was not drawn the previous session. The full rules and regulations are explained in the club Handbook.

In order to take an agility class, dogs must be at least 10 months old and have completed obedience classes through at least the beginning novice level or its equivalent. They must have off leash control and have no aggression towards other dogs or people.  Dogs entering Foundations 1 will have to pass a basic control test on night one to insure they are ready to begin their agility career.

The equipment needed for an agility class includes a buckle or quick release collar (with no tags attached), a lead, a tab (of the appropriate length and with no looped ends) and treats or toys for motivation.  Training collars are not allowed in agility.  The agility classes are broken down into Foundations through Level 6.  A brief description of each class appears below and again, full descriptions are available in the Handbook. In order to move up to the next class level, a dog must demonstrate proficiency (to the instructor’s satisfaction) at the previous level.