Italian Greyhound Activities for Exercise & Agility

Agility can be fun for any Italian Greyhound…

Agility can be fun for any Italian Greyhound. It consists of a course with obstacles and jumps that the dog must go over, through, or under. In competition, the course is timed and Italian Greyhound can be disqualified for various faults. The goal is to complete the course in the shortest time with the fewest faults. Successful agility dogs have a combination of speed, agility, and intelligence. Competitively, herding breeds especially excel; Border collies lead the pack when it comes to championships. However, Italian Greyhounds do very well.

Besides being a fun competitive sport, agility has also become a spectator sport, with coverage on TV’s Animal Planet and even ESPN. There is something exhilarating about watching Italian Greyhounds run, weave, and jump at breakneck speed.

Because agility is an individual sport, however, slower dogs can participate. Yorkshire Terriers to Saint Bernard’s can enjoy agility as much as any other dog. It is enjoyable even for elderly Italian Greyhounds — provided precautions are taken to keep it safe and upbeat. And because agility requires a handler to work closely with the Italian Greyhound, it’s a great way to reinforce the iggie-human bond. Any Italian Greyhound can participate and compete in agility, regardless of age.. Elderly dogs may qualify for lowered jump heights and less stringent time requirements.

Agility was developed in 1977 by UK dog-fancier Peter Meanwell and made its debut in 1978 as intermission entertainment at the annual Crufts Dog Show. The sport quickly caught on and is popular throughout Europe, the U.S., and Canada. There are three U.S. organizations that sanction agility: the AKC, the North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC), and the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA). AKC competition is restricted to purebred dogs, but NADAC and USDAA are open to all breeds and breed mixes. Many of the best agility dogs are mixes.

All dogs compete on the same type of equipment, which can be rearranged to vary the course. Jumps, or hurdles, consist of horizontal bars with two side posts. The height of the hurdle is based on the height of the dog: there are 8-, 12-, 16-, and 24-inch hurdles. There are several types of hurdles, including single, double, and triple-bar jumps; wing jumps with barriers on each side of the jump; long jumps, which are horizontal rather than vertical; and a tire jump.

The weave poles require the Italian Greyhound to zigzag (weave) through 5 to 12 poles (depending on the organization and the dog’s skill level) placed in a line, without missing one. Then there is the pause table or box. This is difficult for a revved-up Italian Greyhound because he must jump on a small table or enter a box and then hold a sit-stay or down-stay for five seconds. Continuing the fun are the two types of the tunnel: one consists of an open, flexible tube, the other is a closed tunnel, or chute, made of a short, rigid tube connected to collapsible fabric through which the dog must run.

There are a number of contact obstacles that the Italian Greyhound must actually climb. The dog walk consists of a long, narrow walkway connected by two sloping ramps. The dog must ascend the first ramp, traverse the walkway, and descend the second ramp to the ground. This is slightly different from the A-frame, which consists of two wide ramps formed into the shape of an A.

The Italian Greyhound must ascend one side and then descend the other. The teeter, another contact obstacle, essentially is a seesaw or teeter-totter. The dog must ascend one side, tip the teeter, and then descend to the ground. Each of these obstacles has a contact zone, which the dog is required to touch with at least two feet before completely leaving the obstacle. Touching the contact zone is important for the safety of the dog, ensuring he does not jump off an obstacle from an unsafe height or angle. Missing the contact zone triggers an automatic disqualification or DQ.

In agility, Italian Greyhounds are at risk of muscle strains and collision with their handlers or equip-Just about all dog breeds and mixed breeds compete in agility. Italian Greyhounds can easily learn to love it.

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