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New Zealand Dog Agility Champs (NZDAC) - what we learnt

New Zealand Dog Agility Champs (NZDAC) - what we learnt

Awesome photo by Phodography by Lis. Get in touch with her if you are looking for a dog photographer in Canterbury!

Last weekend we attended and had a stall at the first dog agility show we have been to! Not only that, it was the New Zealand Dog Agility Champs (NZDAC) which had the best handlers and dogs from around Aotearoa competing. Here’s what we learnt about all things agility…

Agility dogs are athletes

Agility dogs have to be physically and mentally up to the task of competing in their sport, just like human athletes. Physically they have to be maintained just like human athletes, with a healthy diet, keeping hydrated, sessions with the physio… I even discovered massage beds they can lie on to release the tension in their muscles! (Note, I quite enjoyed lying on one too!) Mentally is where all dog owners relate. Agility dogs need to be trained just like all dogs. They need to master obedience as well as learn a multitude of other skills from their handler to tackle obstacles such as jumps, tunnels, and weaves.

All breeds and sizes can compete

Agility isn’t just for pedigree breeds - any breed or mixed breed dog can compete. We didn’t realise this but think that it’s super cool that it’s such an open sport. Many of the dogs we met were rescue dogs, now living their best lives with owners dedicated to their care and love. From pugs to german shepherds, we saw dogs of all sizes competing too - though the hurdles had to be lowered for some of the smaller dogs! 

Humans of all ages can be handlers

We met children, we met 50+ year olds! Humans can be a handler at any age. We were particularly taken with 12 year old Charlie and her pup Molly. They have followed us on Instagram since the early days of Sweet As Pup and we finally got to meet them in person. Seeing the way Charlie takes responsibility for Molly was very impressive. She has learnt to be responsible for all of Molly’s needs at such a young age, as well as learnt a lot from competing in this sport.

It’s a community

Clubs from all round New Zealand competed at NZDAC. Whether they were zone 1 or zone 4 (New Zealand is divided into regions), CCATS (Canterbury Canine Agility Training Society) or MDTC (Manukau Dog Training Club), everyone was supportive and encouraging of each other. It was clear that lifelong friendships are formed through agility which is a social and fun sport for handlers and dogs.

Want to find out more? Visit the Agility Dogs New Zealand website to learn more about how to get started or where the next show is happening that you can check out.

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