Ok, my dog is a rat terrier and he is having such a good time doing agility, so I would like to start entering him in competitions. I would like to know the requierments to be in one and the rules and faults and all that stuff, no website I could find gave me what I was looking for.
Thank you.


  1. Agility Man

    I own a rat terrier and we do agility. I know a number of other rat terriers that compete seriously in agility as well. Your rattie will love it and love you for it.
    Here are some thoughts/advice/answers:
    1. Rat Terriers have strengths and weaknesses at agility. Very athletic dogs, very quick, very agile, great acceleration, eager to please, good leapers, generally well-coordinated–all pluses. Negatives….a combination of beagle (great nose) and sighthound (superb vision and easily picks up small movement) means you’ve got a dog that is easily distracted. Additionally, because it’s a terrier, it’s a problem solver and therefore not as biddable (or eager to follow directions) as a BC or Sheltie.
    Here’s how to handle those “negatives.” Work on shaping behavior (see http://www.shirleychong.com and play the “101 uses for a box” game). Read Jane Killion’s great book “When Pigs Fly” (about training non-biddable dogs).
    2. Rules. Well, if you’re looking for the technical rules (jump heights, penalty points, what is considered an off-course or default) than you need to go to the websites of the organizations you register with. I’m registered with AKC, UKC, USDAA and NADAC. CPE is a popular organization for people starting out. A great book for starting out trialing is Cindy Buckholt’s “Competing in Agility.” It will not tell you how to DO agility but it will tell you how to register, differences between different organizations, what the faults are, what the various games are, what typical courses are. Great book for a beginner who knows agility but knows nothing about trialling.
    But my sense is that you’re not looking for the specific rules as much as you are information about agility, how it works, how trials operate. Forgive me if I’m wrong but that’s the sense I got from your direction. If I’m write, then get your hands on either of these two books: “Introduction to Dog Agility” by Margaret Bonham and another book by Laurie Leach (can’t remember the title but I actually think it was marginally more useful than Bonham’s).
    As for learning how to do agility, well, the single best way is to sign up for a class. Go to http://www.cleanrun.com and look for instructors or clubs near you. Or go to http://www.agilityevents.com and look for trials near you, attend and ask the exhibitors (ie: trialists) where they train and with what clubs. Also, the single best website for agility training is Steve Schwarz’ site http://www.agilitynerd.com, it’s just an incredible site.
    If you’re currently taking classes than your instructor should be able to tell you about trialing. As for what organizations to register with, look at http://www.agilityevents.com to see what trials are most frequent in your neck of the woods. For instance, I didn’t register with CPE because there weren’t many near my home.
    3. Eligibility for Trials. Any trial is going to require that you are registered with that organization. Thus, for a NADAC trial, you’ll need to prove your dog is registered with NADAC. Ditto for all other agility trials and organizations. There are usually multiple levels (Masters all the way down to novice). Where your dog competes is dependent upon size (measured at the whithers or shoulders) and experience (no titles all the way up to MACH or Masters Agility Champion titles). So you have novice dogs competing against novice dogs rather than members of the US World Team. And you have dogs of like height competing against each other (you won’t have a dachshund competing against a BC). If you go to http://www.agilityevents.com you can find an event close to you, click on the pdf link and download a sample “premium” (ie: fancy name for “trial info and entry form”) and then print it out. Most if it will be confusing (“are we preferred? What is P1?” Grand Prix?”) but the Buckholt book will explain all that.


    i’m going to start my terrier x this week. i’m only interested in back yard play for excersise and mental stimulation, but i think this is a very interesting question.
    Agile Jack: i was hoping you’d find this question.

  3. keezymam

    There are multipule orgainizations were you can compete with a dog in Agility
    AKC – is for dogs are registered with AKC as one of the breeds they recognize or a dog that is beleived to be pure bred does not have papers is neutered and can be listed with an ILP #. The regulations of registration and for Agility Competition are on that website AKC.org
    USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association) (www.usdaa.com you pay a fee to register your dog with them and order the rules from them. They allow all dogs to compete and are one of the most competitive “registires in the country”. get the forms etc. on the wedsite
    NADAC(www.nadac.com ) ( North American Dog Agility Council) is also an any dog registry that has competitionas and awards titles. Agian search for them for registration forms and how to get copies of the rules.
    These are the “big three” of Agiltiy registries. There are also other smaller registries that are in various areas of the county
    Many people register their dogs with more than one registry and compete is multiple venues.
    While the basics are the same the rules are different for each – and each venue has at least three different types of courses or games that you can participate in (such as Standard, Jumpers, Gambers, snooker, FAST….)
    The differnces can be confusing to understand from reading and I would recommend that you find a Dog Club or trainer in your area where you can work with them to help your understand the differnces and what might be best for the strengths of your dog.

  4. Rachel P

    Rules on who can enter and what the course will involve depend on the organization (USDAA and AKC being the two most common but there are others) and what level and event you are competing in.
    I would recommend contacting the organization in question regarding the particulars you seek if it is not up on their website.
    As a general rule the main “faults” are refusal to do an obstacle, knocking a bar when jumping, not touching the contact zone on the contact equipment, not remaining in the sit or down on the table for the required time, excessive correction of the dog by the owner, and going off course.
    I listed some links to check out if you have not already. The second one is probably the most useful to you altho you will have to scroll through the opening sections to get to the practical information like jump heights.

  5. IsThatSo

    It depends on what organization you are going to compete in. There are many choices out there. I compete in USDAA, NADAC and sometimes CPE.
    There is also AKC, TDAA, AAC, ASCA, and some others.
    Each organization has its own set of rules, but some of the rules are pretty similar. The best thing to do is study up on the rules of the organization you choose, and most of them have their own set of rules in a booklet or brochure.
    Here are the rules for USDAA:http://usdaa.com/rulesReg.cfm
    And for CPE:http://www.k9cpe.com/rcall2007.htm
    If you want to know about a particular organization, I would be glad to elaborate.
    Good luck in Agility! Rat Terriers are great in the sport!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *