The fast-growing sport of dog agility has become one of the most popular affairs at substantiates like Westminster and a welcome alternative for those who belief conformation evidences are archaic and outmoded
The sport of pup agility is easy to grasp for a first-time spectator. The objective is simple: Unleashed puppies negotiate a serpentine obstacle course- clearing a series of climbs, weaving their direction around spars, darting through tunnels, hurdling through tires, sprinting up and down ramps and a seesaw- as quickly as possible under the guidance of their handler, who can rely only on articulation cues and body language.
At the highest form it’s dressage on uppers, marrying the human-animal bond and precision of equestrian athletics with the frenetic gait and inherent volatility of alpine skiing, where the margins that separate first place and calamity are often down to hair-trigger decisions imperceptible to the untrained eye. To the unfamiliar, it can seem like magic.
It’s not hard to see why this fast-paced and eminently televisable sight of scarcely restrained chaos has fast become one of the most popular occasions of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in the seven years since it was first added to the program- and a welcome alternative for those who guess traditional conformation establishes, where hounds are judged almost entirely on their appearance, are archaic and outmoded.
The introduction of an agility competition to Westminster differentiated a step forward for this emerging sport and few tutors have since made a bigger impact on the US scene than Perry DeWitt and Jessica Ajoux, who live together in the Philadelphia suburb of Wyncote alongside two of America’s most famous canine jocks: the border collies Verb and Fame.
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