Agility is a performance competition where handler and dog must work together to run an obstacle course that the dog has never seen before.
Belgian Tervuren tend to be highly successful in agility competition. Their structure and drive make them natural competitors in this event. The obstacle skills required by the dog include:
- Jumping variously configured bar and panel jumps
- Going through open (rigid) and closed (collapsible) tunnels
- Weaving between a series of upright poles
- Walking across a seesaw
- Walking across a raised, narrow board, like a bridge (dogwalk)
- Climbing up and down an A-Frame roughly 5 feet high.
- Downing or sitting atop a table
In addition to obstacle skills, the dog and handler must also have a basic set of handling skills. Such skills include the dog working on both sides of the handler and the handler being able to cross in front of the dog, behind the dog, sending the dog ahead of him/her and working at a distance from the dog.
All this must be done according to a sequence and in an arrangement that differs on each occasion. In competition, completion of the course is timed and contains deliberate "challenges." The dog relies on the handler's voice, and body language to know which obstacle is to be taken next. This requires an exceptionally close rapport and teamwork between handler and dog, as well as strong planning skills on the part of the handler.
Agility trials are sponsored by the American Kennel Club (AKC), United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) and North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC) and Canine Performance Events (CPE), as well as a few other organizations. In AKC competition, events are separated by level of difficulty, types of obstacles, and size of dog. Any and all breeds may compete, and are separated only by size because of the jump heights. Belgian Tervuren mostly compete at the 24 inch jump height, but those less than 22 inches tall at the shoulder jump 20 inches. The levels of difficulty are Novice, Open, and Excellent. Three classes are offered :
- Standard, which includes the contact equipment (Teeter, Dogwalk, and A-frame)
- Jumpers with Weaves (JWW), which consists only of jumps, tunnels, and weave poles.
- FAST (Fifteen And Send Time) which is based on gathering points upon the assigned point values of individual obstacles. In order to qualify, the dog and handler team must gather a certain number of points as well as successfully perform a designated “distance challenge” in the time allowed.
These classes are also offered as a Preferred class which means the dogs jump one height less than their normal jump height and have 5 additional seconds (3 in FAST) to complete the course. Handlers often chose to enter the Preferred class for younger or older dogs since there are less athletic demands on the dog. Handlers are required to show in classes designated "B" when they have previously titled a dog at that level. Handlers without that experience may show in the "A" classes.
The following AKC titles are awarded upon successful qualifying scores in three trials:
- Novice Agility (NA)
- Open Agility (OA)
- Agility Excellent (AX)
- Master Agility Excellent (MX) for 10 qualiying trials after achieving the AX
- Novice Fast Title (NF)
- Open Fast Title (OF)
- Excellent Fast Title (XF)
- Seperate titles for Jumpers with Weaves have the letter "J" appended to the above titles.
- Separate titles for the Preferred classes have the letter "P" appended to the above titles.
The following are Master and Championship titles
- Master Agility Excellent (MX) - requires 10 qualifying scores after achieving the AX
- Master Agility Excellent Preferred (MXP) - requires 10 qualifying scores after achieving the AXP. A numeric value will be added to the MXP title for every 10 qualifying scores in the Master Excellent Preferred Class. (MXP2 = 20 MXP qualifying scores, MXP3 = 30 MXP qualifying scores, etc)
- Master Agility Excellent Jumpers (MXJ) - requires 10 qualifying scores after achieving the AXJ
- Master Agility Excellent Jumpers Preferred (MJP) - requires 10 qualifying scores after achieving the AJP. A numeric value will be added to the MJP title for every 10 qualifying scores in the Master Excellent Jumpers Preferred Class. (MXP2 = 20 MJP qualifying scores, MXP3 = 30 MJP qualifying scores, etc)
- Master Agility Championship (MACH) - requires achievement of a minimum of 750 championship points and 20 double-qualifying scores obtained from the Excellent B Standard Agility class and the Excellent B Jumpers With Weaves class. The numeric value in the MACH title will reflect the number of times the dog has achieved another MACH (MACH2, MACH3, etc).
- Master Excellent Fast Title (MXF) – requires XF plus ten Exc B legs
- FAST Century Title (FTC) – requires MXF plus 100 Exc B legs. The numeric value in the FTC title will reflect the number of times the dog has achieved another 100 legs (FTC2 = 200 legs, FTC3 = 300 legs, etc)
- Triple Q Excellent (TQX) - In April 2010, the AKC created the Triple Q Excllent title. This title requires ten triple-qualifying scores in Standard Agility, Jumers with Weaves and FAST. A triple-qualifying score is obtained by earning passing scores in Exxcellent B level of Standard, Jumpers, and FAST, all in a singel day of competition!
- Preferred Agility Excellent Title (PAX) - requires 20 double-qualifying scores obtained from the Preferred Excellent B Standard Agility class and the Preferred Excellent B Jumpers With Weaves class. The numeric value in the PAX title will reflect the number of times the dog has achieved another PAX (PAX2, PAX3, etc)
To get started in Agility, see the Getting Started link on this page, or contact one of the agility clubs listed at the Clean Run Agility Info Center.