The management wanted something to fill an empty ring at the show between the obedience championships and group judging.
They wanted something that was spectator-friendly and dog safe that could be performed on the Olympia's hard floor.
A dog jumping course was decided upon and the show committee used the expertise of a horse show jumping trainer and a working trials exhibitor to create the course.
An exhibition was held in 1978 and the first competition was held in 1979 at Crufts.
This was the beginning of Dog Agility competition.
Agility came to the U.
in the mid 1980's when Peter Lewis, one of the original competitors in the U.
, met with Ken Tatsch to discuss the creation of an agility organization in the U.
The United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) was incorporated in Texas in 1987.
The sport in the U.
offers many levels of competition and titles to be earned.
Dog Agility equipment in the U.
under the USDAA was very similar to the British equipment as were the rules.
Other organizations have varied their equipment and rules to allow for lower and safer jumps and obstacles.
There are now three levels, The Teacup Dog Agility Association (TDAA) - which caters to small dogs, Canine Performance Events (CPE)- in which jumps heights do not exceed the dog's height.
And the USDAA which follows the earlier rules.
Why Agility? It's a great way to help your dog let off excess energy in a fun, controlled way.
It provides a change of pace from standard obedience training and has actually helped obedience dogs to improve as it is a stimulating exercise.
It keeps your dog in shape, improves dog/handler relationship and is fun! Think of it as a fun way to spend time with your dog and both of you will be getting exercise and improving obedience at the same time.
What a great sport! Agility equipment is not terribly expensive, basic obstacles can be purchased for about $175 or less.
Most of the equipment that is portable is made from lightweight PVC.
Most any dog can do agility, if they are healthy and have a bright mental attitude.
With the Teacup Association even small dogs can have the same fun as the larger dogs.
Even the very large breeds have competed in the sport.
If your dog enjoys jumping and running and you have good control there should not be a problem trying the agility obstacle course.
There are now many books on the subject of training your dog for agility as well as online sites.