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Agility Builds Teamwork Between Owner, Newf  

by Dejah Petsch 

Feature Articles

First Newfoundland Earns Agility Title

First Newf Earns AX, AXJ Titles

Run, Newfie, Run

Why do I do agility with my Newfoundland? When Quinner and I started going to agility class in 1999, our goal was to learn to work as a team. Admittedly, agility also looked like a lot of fun! 
We progressed through learning basic handling maneuvers like front and rear crosses. Quinner learned to work from both my right and left sides. In addition, I began to use my body language to let him know where we were headed next. We then practiced performing each obstacle safely, and finally progressed to linking the obstacles together to form a course. Quinner gained confidence and began to follow my signals to work away from me. We were becoming quite a team! 

Over the past two years, agility has been incredibly fun for Quinner and me, while at the same time presenting a never-ending challenge! Agility training gives us a truly enjoyable way to learn how to work together while physically conditioning Quinn, and provided a solid foundation for the CD, WD and WRD titles Quinner earned last summer. Like the many other activities in which our Newfs take part, agility promotes the working ability of these dogs and the partnership that they can develop with their handler. 

Newfoundland Agility Dog Image

Dejah Petsch's Quinner takes off over a jump.

The three major dog agility organizations have begun to address the issue of lower competition jump heights for heavy-bodied dogs. NADAC (North American Dog Agility Council) offers a height dispensation for breeds like Newfoundlands which allows them to jump 20 inches, while USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association) has a special Performance class, which also has a lower jump height. AKC is developing a new program with lowered jump heights as well, and the program is slated to debut in the summer of 2002. 

Newfoundland Dog Agility Image

Quinner flies through a tunnel


I cannot leave out one of the most important aspects of agility-the spectator appeal. Nothing draws a crowd at an agility trial like the performance of a large flashy dog. At a recent trial, Quinner had a mishap on course where he failed to get into the first tunnel. Quinner is 29 inches at the shoulder, while the tunnel is a mere 24 inches in diameter. He doesn't see the need to duck and frequently just plows into the tunnel entrance with all he's worth, often quite dramatically causing the tunnel to collapse like an accordion as he goes. As we continued on the course, Quinner successfully made it into the second and third tunnels and by the time we crossed the finish line the crowd was cheering wildly! Most special of all, in the parking lot a woman came up to me as I was putting Quinner back into the car after our run. She said, "I just had to come tell you, your dog brings so much enjoyment to so many people." 


[Thanks to Dejah for sharing her wonderful photos of Quinner in action, especially the powerful action shot on the index page. All Quinner photos are by JT PawPrints and are used with permission-the editor.] 

Reprinted from NewfTide 2002



Agility Resources



AKC - Agility




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