The fast-growing sport of puppy agility has become one of the most popular affairs at substantiates like Westminster and a welcome alternative for those who believe conformation testifies are archaic and outmoded
The sport of puppy agility is easy to comprehend for a first-time spectator. The objective is simple: Unleashed hounds negotiate a serpentine existing obstacles- clearing a series of jumps, weaving their direction around spars, darting through passageways, obstruction 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 articulation clues and body language.
At the highest form it’s dressage on uppers, marrying the human-animal bond and precision of equestrian sports with the frenetic pace and intrinsic volatility of alpine skiing, where the margins that separate first place and tragedy 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 spectacle of just controlled 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 believe traditional conformation evidences, where bird-dogs are judged almost entirely on their illusion, are archaic and outmoded.
The introduction of an agility competition to Westminster tagged a step forward for this emerging sport and few managers 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 contestants: the border collies Verb and Fame.
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