Agility Training promotes conditioning, the focus of Beagles on their handlers, and a wonderful companionship between competitors and their dogs. It is a sport that requires no structured training and can be rather appealing to not only bored Beagles, but to their bored owners as well. The contestants in an Agility Trial are allowed to work the course at their own pace (as directed and within time-limit constraints). Points will be deducted from the Beagle’s speed score for every obstacle he fails to complete within the course.
Some trainers have found Agility Training to be a way to correct attention and focus problems in other activities. The Beagle’s really seem to love the freedom to express themselves and to show off, working for both audience and handler appreciation (as well as yummy treats).
In order for a Beagle to participate in Agility Training successfully, he must in peak nutritional condition, trainable, physically sound, and intelligent. A Beagle will never be penalized for his size, faults of conformation, or for being neutered. The Beagle must also have a docile temperament and well disposed personality since dogs are worked off leash. Before he is allowed to work off lead in the same arena as other Beagles, he must obtain some obedience training.
Agility Trials were first held in England in 1978, and came to the United States in the early 1980’s. The United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) was founded in 1986 using the British format and course obstacles. In 1990, the USDAA began awarding Agility titles earned in trials held under their supervision. The titles that may be earned and may be affixed to a Beagle’s registered name are: Agility Dog (AD), Advanced Agility Dog (AAD), and Master Agility Dog (MAD).