The fast-growing sport of hound agility has become one of the more popular happenings at displays like Westminster and a welcome alternative for the persons who speculate conformation establishes are archaic and outmoded
The sport of pup agility is easy to comprehend for a first-time spectator. The objective is simple: Unleashed bird-dogs negotiate a serpentine obstacle course- clearing a series of hops, weaving their road around poles, darting through passages, impediment through tires, sprinting up and down ramps and a teeter-totter- as quickly as possible under the guidance of their handler, who can rely only on tone clues and body language.
At the highest form it’s dressage on uppers, marrying the human-animal bond and precision of equestrian plays with the frenetic pace and intrinsic volatility of alpine skiing, where the margins that separate first place and cataclysm 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 just restraint chaos has fast become one of the most popular occurrences of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in the seven years since it was first added to the program- and a welcome alternative for the persons who feel traditional conformation demo, where pups are adjudicated almost entirely on their figure, are archaic and outmoded.
The introduction of an agility competition to Westminster tagged a step forward for this emerging sport and few teaches 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 players: their own borders collies Verb and Fame.
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