Agility Competitions and Border Collies

24 July, 2020
According to Stanley Coren, this dynamic competition promises fun and success in equal measure. It tests skill, training, as well as discipline.
 

Today, we’re going to talk about agility competitions and border collies. This is an excellent activity for this particular breed. We’ll give you advice about training your collie for this type of competition. Never heard of agility competitions? We’ll tell you what they are!

What are agility competitions?

This activity was born in the 70s as entertainment in dog shows. It’s a sport in which the dog goes around different circuits. The goal is to complete the routine in the shortest time possible with the fewest mistakes.

Every error receives a penalty. The more penalties there are, the lower the score. Dogs can receive penalties for:

  • Knocking down barriers. While jumping over obstacles, dogs might knock down some of the barriers. If this happens, the dog receives a penalty. Each penalty makes it more difficult to make it to the next round.
  • Not performing the entire routine. If a dog doesn’t go through every obstacle in the routine, they receive a penalty for each one.
  • Time. The objective is to complete the routine in the shortest time possible. However, there’s also a maximum amount of time allowed. If a participant exceeds this time, the dog is out of the competition.

There are also different courses since not all dogs are the same size. For example, in the case of border collies, they use the standard course. This course is for dogs that are more than 17 inches tall. In other words, it’s for larger dogs, like border collies.

 
Border collies have good agility.

So what’s an agility competition like for border collies? Let’s see!

Agility competitions with border collies

As we mentioned previously, border collies participate in the standard course with other large dogs. These dogs will encounter the following obstacles:

  • Fences. There are fences between 22 and 26 inches tall. Obviously, this is higher than your dog, so your dog needs to do jump training. Although it usually doesn’t impact the jump, the width of these fences is 45 to 60 inches.
  • Long jumps. Long jumps are another test of agility. These jumps require dogs to jump a maximum of 60 inches and a minimum of 45 inches. Judges won’t accept any jump less than 45 inches.
  • Tunnels. Passing through tunnels is another test of agility. The difficulty here is that these tunnels are only 24 inches in diameter, and this doesn’t leave much room for your dog to move. These tunnels are also 6.5 feet long, which can be a difficult task for your dog.
  • Canvas tunnels. This is another type of tunnel that has a rigid entrance, but then a long canvas interior that’s about 10 feet long. The problem for dogs is that they might not like the feeling of the canvas around them, and it can make them panic.
 
  • Dog walks. This is a ramp that your dog has to go up and down. Many dogs don’t like this idea.
  • See-saws. Similar to the dog walks, the dogs will have to go up and down a see-saw. However, it’s easy to see why this might be scary for a dog.
There are many activities for border collies in agility competitions.

Training for competition

These are just some activities of agility circuits for border collies. If you want your dog to be successful, you need to do exhaustive training. However, we highly recommend only using positive reinforcement during this training. During the actual competition, you’re not allowed to give your dog any treats. So, keep this in mind while training at home.

Agility competitions are a great way for you to show off your dog’s discipline level, as well as their ability to deal with the obstacles. If you have a border collie at home, why not try out this competition with them?