I really discovered agility late in my dogs’ life- she was six when I seriously started considering it after a few years off working with her. At that point, though, I thought oh no, Nova’s too old… I’ll have to wait until I get a new puppy. That made me sad, because I didn’t want a new puppy! I wanted my best friend and current dog to be able to enjoy the sport with me! After talking to her Vet, I got the go-ahead for both her age and size, provided I didn’t rush her or force her to do too much too quickly.
So we can learn- but can we compete? I researched the major players in the Agility Field- AKC, USDAA, NADAC, and CBE, and found out the answers for senior dogs- and senior handlers!
AKC (7 years or older) has a ‘preferred’ class, where the dogs run a jump height lower than they measure in at, and only can enter two classes a day.
USDAA no longer has a veterans’ class. EDIT: Thank you James D for bringing Performance class to my attention! USDAA performance class has no age limit, and four inches lower jumps, with no spread jumps and a lower A-frame. This is a mercy for the really big boys and girls who love agility.
NADAC (7 years or older) and CBE (6 years and older) has ‘veteran’s’ classes, where jumps are lowered four inches from their measured jump height. CBE, to my great pleasure allows for ‘early’ allowance into their veterans’ class for certain dog breeds. That’s a wonderful thing for the giant breeds, since they have such a short ‘prime’.