The fast-growing sport of dog agility has become one of the most popular occasions at pictures like Westminster and a welcome alternative for those who imagine conformation reveals are archaic and outmoded
The sport of bird-dog agility is easy to grasp for a first-time spectator. The object is simple: Unleashed bird-dogs negotiate a serpentine constraints and obstacles- clearing a series of jumpings, weaving their way around spars, darting through tunnels, obstacle 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 voice cues 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 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 restraint chaos has fast become one of the more popular episodes of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in the seven years since it was firstly added to the program- and a welcome alternative for the persons who accept traditional conformation proves, where pups are evaluated almost entirely on their impression, are archaic and outmoded.
The introduction of an agility competition to Westminster labelled a step forward for this emerging sport and few coaches 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: the border collies Verb and Fame.
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