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Element 4 - Agility

Handler Information:

The team shall have five (5) minutes to complete the agility course. The handler will be directed to the beginning of the course and it shall be clearly marked. The handler shall remove the dog's collar and leash before starting. The dog should work as independently as possible following the handler's direction. The handler may stop, slow, or encourage the dog as needed, and may assist the dog, if needed, for safety reasons.

The dog may attempt an obstacle 3 times. However, three (3) refusals/attempts of an obstacle and the team fails that obstacle.

The dog should precede the handler whenever possible, and the handler should not physically assist the dog. The goal should be to direct the dog, so that the dog will be the most effective tool.

To pass the exercise the dog must score "3" or more on each of the required skills for each obstacle. If only one of the three evaluators gives a failing score on the required skills, the three evaluators must reach a consensus.

The dog must successfully complete 5 of the 6 obstacles used in the test.


6-foot ladder (with flat rungs) secured at a 45 degree angle.

Moving plank suspended on two barrels (12' long by 12" wide).

3-foot high unsteady, wobbly surface (warped boards).

A dark, narrow tunnel/passageway containing at least one right angle turn. The dog should not be able to see through the tunnel to the end.

Partial covering of the exit is permitted. The dog should fit into the tunnel without crawling.

A seesaw (16' long plank by 12" wide on 50 gallon drum).

A slick, slippery/unpleasant surface.

A plank elevated at least 6 feet off the ground (the 12" wide by 12' long plank should be stable).

Object that requires the dog to crawl on its belly.

Course ground rules:

A new agility course will be constructed for the test (no advantage for the home team).

No practice will be allowed on the course before the test.

Course Construction:

The course shall be constructed to include six obstacles out of the listed obstacles or they may be combined.

The course may be set up as six separately constructed obstacles or as a combination. The obstacles must be designed to test the dog on the elements described. The course should be designed in such a way that the dog may precede the handler.

Obstacles should be numbered clearly to correspond with the Performance Criteria and Score Sheet.

The obstacles which must be included from the list are:

plank elevated at least 6 feet off the ground
the unsteady, wobbly surface
the tunnel


In order to safely search the rubble for victims, the dog must acquire certain specific skills and overcome some of the it's natural instincts. It may be dangerous to jump off moving objects. The dog must learn it is possible to balance or gain control of a moving object by using his body weight and gravity. In order to maintain traction on slippery surfaces, the dog must learn to spread its toes and not dig in with its toenails. It is very important that the dog learn to place each foot deliberately and independently on the rubble. Agility training will give the dog confidence on the rubble. The dog will be able to search the rubble without being overly concerned about its safety.

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