The fast-growing sport of puppy agility has become one of the most popular incidents at pictures like Westminster and a welcome alternative for those who imagine conformation depicts are archaic and outmoded
The sport of pup agility is easy to grasp for a first-time spectator. The objective is simple: Unleashed hounds negotiate a serpentine existing obstacles- clearing a series of climbs, weaving their room around poles, darting through passageways, overcoming 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 voice clues and body language.
At the highest form it’s dressage on uppers, marrying the human-animal bond and accuracy of equestrian sports with the frenetic tempo 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 scarcely controlled 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 feel traditional conformation evidences, where pups are judged almost entirely on their appearance, are archaic and outmoded.
The introduction of an agility competition to Westminster commemorated 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 athletes: the border collies Verb and Fame.
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