About Agility

Stop! In the name of control


It's the 2006 USDAA Cynosport World Games Agility Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the competition is fierce, as handlers vie for coveted positions as finalists. Every nanosecond counts. One little bobble can cost dearly in the quest for a place on the podium. The crowd holds its collective breath as finalists push themselves and their dogs to the limit. You notice screaming-fast contacts; dogs charge up and slide down, with barely a perceptible pause at the bottom, risking faults for a missed contact. How are they getting such awesome contacts?

For a few years now, training a "running contact" has been all the rage. According to the many top handlers, the benefits of a running contact (in which the dog scales the contact obstacle and hits the downside contact zone without stopping) are faster course times and less pounding on a dog's shoulders than can result from a stop at the bottom. It would seem that with these potential benefits, a running contact would be the best choice.

Then why do the majority of handlers--many of whom have taken their dogs to top levels of competition--still teach the
2020 (the "2-on 2-off" position where two rear feet are on the bottom of the obstacle and two front feet are on the ground)?

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