The fast-growing sport of pup agility has become one of the most popular events at demonstrates like Westminster and a welcome alternative for the persons who speculate conformation displays are archaic and outmoded
The sport of puppy agility is easy to grasp for a first-time spectator. The object is simple: Unleashed hounds negotiate a serpentine constraints and obstacles- clearing a series of jump-starts, weaving their space around poles, darting through passages, obstruction 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 cues and body language.
At the highest form it’s dressage on uppers, marrying the human-animal bond and accuracy of equestrian athletics with the frenetic speed and intrinsic volatility of alpine skiing, where the margins that separate first place and catastrophe 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 barely 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 firstly added to the program- and a welcome alternative for those who accept traditional conformation depicts, where puppies are adjudicated almost entirely on their impression, are archaic and outmoded.
The introduction of an agility competition to Westminster recognized 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 athletes: the border collies Verb and Fame.
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