There are some who tout that aggressive or reactive dogs have no place at an agility trial. Many of these individuals never had to deal with a dog that was aggressive or reactive. They blame the dog’s owner, poor breeding, and poor selection of a breeder. While breeding may be the top reason for aggressive dog traits, the owner often has no way of ever knowing that their dog might be one, even if they did due diligence in their pre-buying research.
The DogAgilityTrials.com website lists the locations of where the trials are held, but not when they are held. That’s because so many other websites list that information, and it is extremely difficult to try to keep up with it all! Here is some information to help you find agility trials near you.
On the left, click on Companion Events, then click Agility
Click on the state(s) where you are looking for an agility trial
Add any other search options you like, then click Retrieve Events
Most trials run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There will be a separate listing for each day.
If you have questions about a particular trial, you can email either the trial chair or the trial secretary. Just click on the trial’s “View Complete Event Details” to find their name and email address.
Click on the diskette icon on the right side of the trial you’re interested in attending. This opens the “premium list” (what competitors fill out to enter a trial). It will have all the information you need to find the agility trial.
Finding Agility Trial in other Circuits
There are other agility venues too, such as USDAA,NADAC, UKI International, UKC, and more. Unfortunately, some of these require you to sign up to find out where the trials are held!
Additional Information About Visiting Agility Trials
Most Agility Trial Visits are Free
Most agility trials are free to the public, but there are some exceptions. When an agility trial is held at a large convention center and is in conjunction with a conformation show, there is often an entry fee per person, as well as a parking fee. Check with the trial chair to be certain.
We all love the portability of bringing soft crates to agility trials. However, one of the issues has always been keeping our dogs hydrated without having them spill water everywhere. Even “spill-proof” water bowls tend to get knocked over and then the bedding and everything under it gets wet.
While at a trial this week at TNT in Midland, Michigan I noticed a handler attaching a stainless steel watering bucket with a handle in her soft crate. “How do you keep that from spilling?” I asked.
“I just bought a clip that had a nylon strap attached to it. Then I sewed it to the crate. It’s one of the simplest, best things I ever did to keep the water upright,” she said. “And I don’t even sew very well.”
I have to admit, this is a great idea! So in the spirit of sharing, I’m sharing it with everyone with a soft crate. There could be a run on those clips with nylon straps attached and several people trying to thread needles that are not the best at it, but it will pay off! The strap and clip are on my shopping list.
>> For more pictures and details about dog agility trials at Bella Vista Training Center, hotels where you can leave reviews, and more, see the Bella Vista Training Center section of this website.
The drive to Bella Vista Training Center (BVTC) in Lewisberry Pennsylvania was absolutely beautiful. I came from Bloomsburg and my GPS took me a route through curvy mountain roads and quaint small towns. On my stop in Harrisburg, however, the weather changed quickly. According to an alert on my phone and a radar lookup, a tornado was headed straight for us. Thanks to the nice folks at PetSmart, the dogs and I hunkered down in their store along with others in the area seeking some safety.
>> Check out the expanded section for Bloomsburg Fairgrounds to see more images and details, find pet-friendly local restaurants and an ice cream shops in the area, and pet-friendly hotels where you can leave reviews.
The relaxing atmosphere at the Bloomsburg Agility Runner’s Club (BARC) agility trial at the town’s fairgrounds last weekend felt more like a CPE trial than AKC. Held for four days over Memorial Day, May 24-27, the trial just felt more low-key than most.
Howard Etzel from Hollidaysburg, PA judged this trial. His courses were fun, challenging and flowed well. Before judging agility trials, he taught math and computers for junior high and high school. “Still having to give those ‘F’s’ in this role,” he joked. The trial was held on a dirt floor inside an arena usually used for horse shows at fair time. This was just one building of many on-site at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds. Lighting was low, but bright enough for all to see well. This helped with the ambiance too.
BARC achieves its purpose for 10+ years
“Putting on a trial that is fun and relaxing is one of the primary goals of our club,” said Jacqui O’Neill, owner of BarQ 4 Agility trial secretarial services and president of BARC. “The club started over 10 years ago with DOCNA trials. They had several games and were quite fun. We changed to AKC a little over 5 years ago. It was nice that the change didn’t affect the fun and relaxing part!”
There was plenty of room for crating and walkways without running into or stepping over other dogs and competitors. Although this was a smaller trial, there was more to it than that: it was the simple traffic pattern for the dogs. They either left their crates and stood in line to run, or went outside to potty or warm up. The trial secretary, refreshments, and worker raffle were down a narrow walkway so dogs didn’t go down there. A few vendors were in the crating area, but they didn’t go along with their owners there either. And restrooms were a hike across the parking lot. This all helped prevent congestion.
While not air-conditioned, there are large doors in the front, back and one side of the arena that were opened as it heated up outside. A large industrial fan near the top of the arena’s peak on its far side helped move the air.
Awesome dirt floor
The well-packed dirt was nice to run on for the dogs and easier on my back than most mat floors. It was oiled down well enough to keep the dust at bay, but not too much as it never packed down – even after 4 days of trialing. A competitor dropped her cell phone on it during a walk and it just bounced a little. If you like newer equipment you’ll get it here every trial. Max 200 provides all of the equipment and then sells it at a 10% discount at the end of the final day.
The running order grouped the Master/Excellent courses together and put the Open and Novice courses at the end of the day. You know, like most trials used to be like. Novice and Open participants don’t have to arrive so early, and Master/Excellent participants can leave early. Personally, my dogs run much better if they don’t have to wait in their crates for up to 6 hours between runs. “Everyone likes it this way. Some people worry about not having enough workers at the end of the day, but there’s always that issue and we make it work,” Jacqui said. “We also run jumpers first thing in the morning. It makes it easier on the small ring crew that’s left to set up the night before. Plus Jumpers is a nice class for dogs to get their zoomies out before doing contacts.”
The walk to the restroom is a slight downside, but only because it is out in the elements. There are many trials where restrooms are much farther away. This one just seems farther because of the parking lot between the restroom and the arena. The restrooms are open 24×7 during show hours, as are the numerous shower stalls in the same building. There’s a fee of 50 cents (quarters) to use them.
Great for RVs
There’s no shortage of RV parking here. Jacqui spaces RV’s nicely around the arena building and assigns spots where there’s decent grass nearby for the dogs. The electric is 30AMP. The connection requires a twist-type plug adapter which most people don’t have. The club rents them for a $20 deposit and returns the full amount when the adapter is returned.
Largest non-state owned fairground
The location is typical of many fairgrounds with buildings for different types of livestock. An interesting fact about this fairground is that it is not owned by the state, but is owned by the city of Bloomsburg. Although I’ve definitely seen larger fairgrounds, “this is the largest non-state owned fairground in the U.S.,” according to Jacqui. There’s a track for horses which often is used during trials. The area is open to the public during show hours too. Since the culture in this area is that well-behaved dogs can walk off leash, that may occur at times during the show.
BARC is currently the only club that hosts agility trials at the fairgrounds. In addition to their spring trial, they hold a 5-day trial in October. They’ve got a multi-talented, multi-tasking leader too. Jacqui is not only a licensed AKC trial secretary but she also judges for both AKC and UKI. “I primarily judge in the summer,” she said. “There are some smaller clubs that consistently hire me as their secretary. I spend winters in Florida so there are judging and trial secretary opportunities there too.” At this trial Jacqui held her own during the open and novice classes: in addition to her secretary job, she also timed and scribed at the same time. Since her table and computer is right at ringside, she also eliminated the need for a sheet runner for those classes. All this and she maintained a relaxed and fun attitude! Just like our feelings go down the leash, the leader’s feelings tend to shape the culture of trials. If you like fun and relaxed trials this one’s a real gem.
If you thought Young’s Jersey Dairy was a cool place for you to visit while trialing at Champions Center, your fur pets will thank you for taking them to Prairie Oaks MetroPark. Here they can swim and play along a dog beach … unleashed! Located at 2755 Amity Road in Hilliard, OH, it’s about a 30 minute drive from Champions Center. But oh so worth it!
Confusing to find the dog beach section; bit of a hike too
Darby Bend Lakes (note plural) consists of 3 smaller lakes that sprawl along the Darby Lakes entrance road to the MetroPark. There are no signs as to where the dog beach might be at the entrance or at any of the three parking areas. And the truth is, it is roughly the same distance from each of the parking areas to get to the dog beach!
After entering the park, the beach is technically along the first lake on the right side of the road . However, it is at the end of the lake, and to get there, you have to walk across some grass and go over a bridge. That bridge is over a stream connecting two lakes. Once across the bridge, keep walking and not too far down you’ll finally see a sign for the dog beach on your right. It is not fenced in, so if you have a dog that won’t stay around, the leash will have to stay on.
The beach is course gravel and sand, with some grass attempting to grow. The lake also seems to get deep pretty quickly and the water is murky as a result. It still seemed quite clean though. There’s a floating dock that goes out a short ways into the lake, and a small shelter with a bench underneath for a little shade.
Overall my dogs absolutely loved this place. We’d been travelling and they hadn’t had a chance to full out run for several days. So they not only enjoyed the water on such a hot day, but also tore up and down the beach several times. Since it was a weekday when we went and a storm was fast approaching, there weren’t many other dogs there. But they really enjoyed the dogs and handlers that chanced it along with us!
Trails, trails and more trails
The weather didn’t permit us to explore the park, but I picked up a brochure and found no less than eight trails in the park. They range in distance from .7 miles to over 5 miles long, and in challenge levels from easy to difficult.
If hiking isn’t your thing, the park also offers picnic areas, fishing and non-motorized boating. There’s also a restroom with flush toilets and an outdoor faucet for cleaning off the lake water!
Nature abounds at Prairie Oaks MetroPark
The Darby Watershed is nationally recognized for is ecological diversity, and is home to nearly 100 species of fish and 44 species of mussels. Wildlife includes numerous types of birds, white-tailed deer, turkey, and more.
There are three other entrances to the 2,203 acre Prairie Oaks MetroPark, in addition to the Darby Bend Lakes entrance noted above:
Sycamore Planes entrance – has a nice trail that loops over the plains and then winds into the woodlands along Big Darby Creek
Main park entrance – includes two picnic areas, trailhead to the bridle trail, a picnic shelter, and restrooms
Beaver Lake – a small lake for boating and fishing, and a designated “natural” play area where one can wander off trail, climb a tree, dig in the dirt, or just have fun playing outdoors
So if you or anyone in your party is interested in fishing or wildlife-watching during the time you attend the CPE nationals or take your champion agility dog to the beach, you now know the place to go.
Take a break from dog agility trials at Champions Center to enjoy a fun and tasty outing at Young’s Jersey Dairy, where they offer food, fun and even dog-friendly seating at outdoor picnic tables. Just under 20 minutes away at 6880 Springfield Xenia Rd in Yellow Springs, OH, it’s definitely worth the drive!
The energy was truly buzzing at the 2018 CPE nationals! Competitors came with high hopes, coordinators and volunteers came with extra jobs in addition to running their dogs, the judges came with their well-prepared courses, vendors came with hopes of selling their wares, and the dogs – they just came and didn’t quite understand why this trial had so much more excitement than the others.
By the numbers: * 800 dogs (760 on site due to attrition) *
* 500 exhibitors *
* 150+ RVs – 2nd highest number of RVs than
any event held at the fairground *
After finishing a dog agility trial at the Wellness Center in Niles, Ohio, I decided to take the dogs for a walk. We went to Mill Creek MetroParks in Youngstown, about 10 miles away. The park consists of 4,400 acres, with 15 miles of foot trails and 20 miles of road trails. The landscape includes a variety of bridges, ponds, streams, well-tended gardens, boardwalks, rugged walking paths, a huge gorge, and waterfalls.
Great footing on a turf floor, check. Well managed air conditioning, check. Spacious crating, check. Flat RV parking, check. The list goes on and >on when it comes to what agility competitors enjoy most about trial locations, and the Niles Wellness Center in Niles, Ohio has it all and then some! The facility is located on the grounds of city-owned Waddell Park, 1000 West Park Avenue, and is primarily used for soccer. Boasting 10 weekends of agility trials during non-soccer season gives you a hint that this place must be pretty special.