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Kansas 4-H Tip Sheet

April 13, 2018

Kansas 4-H Dog Agility Changes

By Deryl Waldren

The purpose of canine agility is to provide an opportunity for teams to compete in a fun activity that challenges both the dog and 4-H’er. Different obstacles and courses present unique tests of speed, confidence, technical skills, athleticism, balance, communication, attentiveness, distance, and directional control. Our task as leaders is to incorporate all these elements while still maintaining a fun safe environment for the dogs and handlers. There has been concern about the safety of the “Closed” or “Chute Tunnel” due to the potential for fast moving dogs to become entangled in the length of sheet they must push through to exit. To remove this risk while still providing the same variety of obstacles for the teams to navigate, the decision was made to alter the design to eliminate the possibility of a dog stepping on or becoming trapped or tangled in the material in any way.

Effective October 1, 2018, there will be a mandatory change to the specifications of the Closed Tunnel currently used in all levels of 4-H agility. Rather than a long chute attached to the end of the barrel, the sheet should be hemmed so that it is NO MORE than 6 inches longer than the height of the barrel or frame. For example, on a barrel of 24” in diameter, the sheet will be no more than 30”. These changes may be made immediately, but MUST be completed for the next 4-H year that begins on October 1st.  Judges must still incorporate this obstacle, where mandatory, as described in the “Agility Dog Show Rule Book."  Anna Schurter, Kansas 4-H Dog Action Team member, annaschurter@gmail.com.