Agility, the Ultimate of Dog Sports

Dog Agility is a team sport where the handler is in charge of creating a strategy and the dog is then responsible for the athleticism over the obstacles under the handler's direction. Dogs leap over hurdles, power through tunnels, zip through a slalom of upright poles and scale ramps of different sizes. The aim is to find the balance between the control of the dog and the speed of the performance Scoring is based on faults, similar to equestrian show jumping. A dog that completes the obstacles correctly within the set time will earn a Clear Round. Dogs earn titles when they achieve a set number of clear rounds. Visit the Agility Competition in Australia Fact sheet for more information on height classes, tests and games.

Agility Obstacles 

These can be a variety of Hurdles, Tunnels, Tyre jumps, Contact area equipment (Dogwalk, A-Frame and Seesaw) and Weave Poles. All designed with safety and spectator appeal in mind.

A-FrameA Frame Obstacle

The A-Frame consists of two wide ramps. When upright the A-Frame looks like the letter 'A'. The part of the ramp nearest the ground (when upright) is painted in a contrasting colour to the top part. This indicates the part of the ramp that dogs need to make contact with.

Long JumpLong Jump

The Long Jump consists of two to five low planks, spaced slightly apart and raised off the ground a little. This jump has marker poles at each corner. The planks have a slight horizontal slope and each graduates in height and width. The narrowest plank is the lowest to the ground.


There are a variety of hurdles (jumps) utilised for agility competitions and include single, spread, winged and solid. Hurdles consist of two uprights that hold a bar, bars or solid element. Dogs jump between the uprights and over whatever is between. The height of the jump depends on the hight class of an event.


The See-Saw is similar to a child's see-saw in that it consists of one long plank fixed to a sturdy base it can pivot on. Each end of the plank is painted in a contrasting colour to the rest of the plank to show where dogs need to touch. Dogs run up the plank, tip it, and then run down. The see-saw is known as a 'Teeter' or 'Teeter-Totter'.

TyreFramed Tyre

The tyre obstacle consists of a circle made of ag pipe tubing (or an actual tyre) with an aperture diameter of 450 - 600mm. This is suspended in a sturdy frame and dogs jump through the hole in the tyre. The height the tyre is suspended at depends on the height class of an event.

Pipe TunnelPipe Tunnel

The Pipe Tunnel is a long flexible tube that dogs run through. The diameter of the tunnel is 600-800mm and the length when straight is around 3-5m. This tunnel is often flexed into different shapes, from straight, to a complete 'U' shape, to an 'S' bend. ADAA sell Pipe Tunnels that meet competition specifications.

Dog WalkDog Walk

The dog walk consists of three equal length planks. These join together to form an up ramp, a cross ramp and a down ramp. Like the A-Frame, the area on the up and down ramps closest to the ground is painted in a contrasting colour. This indicates the part of the plank that dogs need to make contact with.

Wall JumpWall Jump

A wall jump is a solid jump built and painted to resemble a wall. This type of jump consists of two uprights with a solid piece between. All elements of a wall jump should be built to be easily dislodged.

Collapse TunnelCollapse Tunnel

Also known as cloth or closed tunnel. This consists of an entrance of rigid construction that resembles a short tunnel, and an exit of a tube of non-rigid material (cloth). Dogs run into the open part of the tunnel and then push their way through the cloth to exit.

TableAgility Sport Table

The pause table has a square top and the height from the ground is set depending on the height class of an event. Dogs jump onto the table and pause there for 5 seconds (the judge counts the seconds). The table has to be of sturdy construction and the top requires a non-slip surface.

Weave PolesWeave Poles

Weave poles consist of a set of upright poles spaced at 550mm between centres. Most events utilise a set of 12 poles but some games can use a different number. Dogs slalom in and out of the gaps between the poles.

Brush JumpBrush Jump

The brush jump is a variation on an ordinary hurdle or solid jump. Instead of a bar or solid piece between the uprights, the jump consists of 'brush' (or shrubbery) between the uprights.

Further Reading

The Beginner's Guide to Dog Agility

Agility Right from the Start: The ultimate training guide to America's fastest-growing dog sport (Karen Pryor Clicker Book)

The Intermediate's Guide to Dog Agility: Take Your Game to the Next Level!

Excelling at Dog Agility - Book 1: Obstacle Training (Updated Second Edition)

Agility Dog clearing an agility jump.