Posted by: allstaragility | April 24, 2014

“Real” Agility

Several times a week I head to one of my favorite places (a public natural conservation area). It is an oasis just on the edge of KC for hiking in the woods, bush-whacking through narrow deer trails and letting the dogs swim in the creek and lake. There is no shortage of fallen trees that the dogs jump over and climb on (or in!). The creek has several ideal spots for swimming in deeper water along with flat, broad areas just deep enough to offer great resistance work. Yeah, the dogs (and I) get wet and muddy. Thorough tick checks are required after each hike and I do have to keep my eyes out for various snakes on the trails. However, it is all worth it to see how my dogs have so much fun getting back to nature. Aside from going with friends, we rarely run into other people with their dogs. Many times it is just me and the dogs and I have really learned to appreciate these times with them in solitude.

On my way home, less than a mile from my oasis, there is this really nice off-leash dog park that I drive by. Ok, I am not a fan of dog parks, but this place is all any pampered-pooch owner would love with well manicures grass, a paved walking trial, dedicated small dog area and even “agility” obstacles. It is always packed and it is obvious people enjoy going there with their dogs. I feel a twinge of guilt that my dogs have probably had a more fulfilling experience in the great outdoors (not being terrorized by overly pushy dogs), but it is quickly suppressed by the fact I don’t want them to discover the gem nearby. Besides, they probably don’t want to deal with mud, ticks and snakes anyway.

I do have to stifle an inner eye-roll when I see owners on their hands and knees trying to get their dogs through the black pipe that is supposed to be a tunnel or dragging them over some wooden bridge-thing. I think how sad it is that they probably don’t know the true joys of “real” agility. I was pondering this while hiking a few days ago when the irony slapped me upside the head. What is “real” agility, anyway? Is it some invented sport/hobby that we spend oodles of money on in the pursuit of a clean run or title? Or is it the physical beauty demonstrated by my dogs as I watch them run effortlessly through the woods, navigating nature’s obstacles on their own. There is no such thing as off course or missed contact. There is no judge, no ribbons. It is simply agility in its purist form…

Here’s hoping you and your dogs get to enjoy some “real” agility this weekend!

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