Information for First Time Trialers

I have put this page together to help other first time trialers
who have 100's of questions on

How to Get Started 

Please note: If your dog is "entire" & is not registered with your state body of ANKC either on the Mains or Limited Register, or another recognised body, such as, The Working Dog Register, then he/she will need to be desexed before you can register him/her as an "Associate", enabling you to trial in ANKC Trials. 

So your dog is at least 18 months old & you have him trained up to the level
where you would like to give Agility Trialing a go?  When
I first decided I would like to give trialling a go with my lovely girl, Bindi, I had no idea
how to get started, where to get an entry form & especially how
to fill the form out. What did AD, JD, ADX, JDO SPD etc. etc mean???
  I had no idea & was too embarrassed to ask.

 The first thing you have to do is join your State Body of
the Australian National Kennel Council
(ANKC). & apply to have your
dog registered. If he/she is not papered, then
they will put him on the "Associate Register." Do this
well in advance of your first anticipated trial as the
membership/registration can take some time to come through.

While you are waiting for your membership to
come through, you will find it very helpful if
you volunteer to be a "Leads Steward" at a trial. 
I did this & I got to meet some of the competitors
who were more than helpful with any questions
I had, & I also helped with the equipment etc.
It made me realise that this was
not just a sport for fit, young people with fast dogs. 
The handlers came in all shapes, sizes, ages & conditions and they didn't all have super fast border collies.  Most of them made mistakes & got
themselves "Disqualified", but it didn't matter, they were all out there having
lots of fun.   I could do this!!

Now you have joined ANKC & they have sent you out your first monthly magazine
gazetting the next lot of trials coming up & you have chosen one you would like to
attend.  You can download your entry form from
ANKC Agility Trial Entry Forms

Now to fill it out !!!  What do you enter??  You may enter all
the Novice events, which will be Novice Jumping (JD), Novice Agility (AD),
Novice Strategic Pairs (SPD), Novice Gamblers (GD) & Novice Snooker (SD)
You can also enter Open Jumping (JDO)  & Open Agility (ADO) just for fun and
the experience, but they are harder courses & involve some distance handling.
The jumping courses are good ones to enter if it is your first time,
as they don't have weave poles or contact equipment.  They are just jumps & tunnels. 

You have now filled out your form & sent it off to the Dog Club running the event,
together with your cheque (don't forget to order a catalogue) & a self
addressed envelope (for receipting purposes), in plenty of time before the closing
date.  Now to get ready for
the Trial weekend.  For the Trial you will need a gazebo for shade, or you might
be able to share with a friend, & a crate for your dog, as some clubs will not
allow you to simply tie your dog up & it is not advisable either.  You will also need
an exhibit number card holder,  as you will be given numbers which need to
be displayed on your person when you run or you can use a large safety pin.

You need to get your dog measured by two judges either prior to (up to two months before) or at your first trial, to determine what height category to enter.  The height is measured at the withers.
Up to & including 270mm                      200
271mm up to & including 365mm           300
366mm up to & including 455mm           400
456mm up to & including 545mm           500
546 & over                                           600

Make sure you get to the trial with plenty of time to spare.  On the Trial Notice
in the magazine, will be the "Vetting" time
.  This is the time you need to be there to
collect your numbers & have your female dog vetted if she is an entire bitch.  No bitch
coming into or on heat will be allowed at the trial.  Mostly, there will be a Novice event
first up, & you will have to have walked the course & be ready to run,
before the  "judging commences" time mentioned on the notice. Don't forget
you will need time to give your dog  a walk, warm up & a pee.

Walking the Course...To a first timer, even the Novice courses can be daunting, but
they needn't be.  Instead of trying to remember all the numbers,
which are hard to follow while keeping
 an eye on your dog at the same time, break the course into three
sections.  Usually the first section is pretty straight forward. The last section
is usually a fairly straight run home & this is where you are at an advantage if you
have taught your dog to "Go on" ahead of you on command.  It's the middle part which
can be tricky. What works for me, is while I am walking the course,
I work out where to do my front crosses & if I get those right,
then everything flows from there.

It is important to be present for the "Judge's Briefing"
as the judge will explain the line up/start procedure,
the count on the table & the time allowed for the
course (SCT).  You need three clear rounds in
the SCT to gain a Qualifier "Q".  You need three
"Q's" in an event before you can move up to
Excellence Level.  It is not easy to get a "Q", so
don't worry...most people get disqualified. (DQ'd)
Don't take it to heart or blame your dog...just
remember, you are not playing for sheep stations,
you and your dog are out there to have fun together.
Reflect on the good things that happened eg. he did
lovely contacts or weave poles or it was a
lovely run home.  You will have an
idea of what needs polishing before your next trial.  Have Fun it's addictive!!