This weekend I watched a friend with a nontraditional dog run a class at an agility competition. The handler and dog were struggling throughout the course. They got all the way to the last jump (already NQ’d) and the dog missed the last jump. I saw my friend’s body slump and she threw her hands up in despair.
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 Sports Domain Academy section of this website.
Dog agility trials at the Sports Domain Academy in Clifton, New Jersey offer what most people want most – a good turf floor and, in the summer, air-conditioning. On my recent visit there, fellow competitors with fast dogs agreed that the turf at Sports Domain fits the bill, with the A/C providing some relief from the heat. The trial was hosted by Staten Island Companion Dog Training Club on July 20-21, 2019 and judged by Carol Mount and Paul Mount from Matawan NJ.
There were several issues I encountered on this visit. Put together, they were somewhat frustrating – but only because it was my first time trialing there. Here’s a recap of my experience, some of which one might be able to avoid to make their visit more enjoyable.
>> 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.
>> For more pictures and details about dog agility trials at the Turner Agri-Civic Center, hotels where you can leave reviews, and local area restaurants, see the Turner Agri-Civic Center section of this website.
Summertime is hot in Florida, there is no doubt about that. So the Calusa Dog Agility Club definitely does things right by having their June agility trial in the air-conditioned Turner Agri-Civic Center in Arcadia, Florida. I was warned before I got there to wear layers because it’s really cold. The confirmation sent out by the trial secretary even suggests competitors bring a sweater. But I have to say that the chilly air was the saving grace when coming in from the Florida sunshine. This AKC trial was held June 21-23 inside the arena with two rings and two judges.
The East Idaho Spring Classic Dog Shows June 13-16, 2019 in Blackfoot, Idaho had a lot to offer every dog competitor and guest. Two clubs, the Pocatello Kennel Club and the Eagle Rock Kennel Club, hosted the event. Along with four days of agility they had conformation, obedience, rally, FAST CAT (Friday/Saturday only), and Scent Work. Other special events included:
The National Owner-Handled Series Celebration
4-6 Month Puppy Competition (Friday)
An all-breed Puppy Match (Saturday)
Aloha Yappy Hour Luau (Friday) just for the fun of it
Celebrate the Great Outdoors Bar-B-Que (Saturday)
An eye clinic offered by Mountain West Veterinary Ophthalmology to get your dog’s eye certification
>> For more pictures and details about Oriole Dog Training Club, local restaurants in the area, and hotels where you can leave reviews, see the ODTC expanded section.
They were two warm days outside, but inside at the Oriole Dog Training Club AKC agility trial June 8 & 9, 2019, it was downright chilly. The A/C in the building keeps the dogs nice and cool but some competitors wear sweatshirts and jackets. However, nobody complains because the dogs love it! Held at the ODTC training facility in the Benson Business Center on Azar Court, Halethorpe, MD, the trial filled with a waitlist. Other agility venues that have events in this location include CPE, USDAA, and NADAC.
>> 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.