The Scoop on Unleashed Agility Dogs
There is no worse feeling then to have a perfect run with a first place time only to learn you have been DQ’d for leaving the ring without leashing your dog. Sound unfair? Maybe it would if it happened to you, but your job as a competitor is to know the rules of the venue you will be competing at BEFORE you compete. You have a lot on your mind at your first trial, then is not the time to be learning all the basic rules such as when and where you leash and unleash your dog.
For example, in AKC you must enter and exit the ring with your dog leashed. You may take the leash off at any point after you have entered the ring, even waiting for the start whistle if you like. This is for the safety of your dog as well as other competitor’s dogs. There is a lot of stress around the competition area and dogs will react in unusual ways under unusual circumstances, especially those new to the environment.
Not all venues have the same rules and rules change from time to time. You and you alone are responsible for knowing the rules for your chosen venue at the time you plan on competing. You can call or email most venues and order a rule book or go online to their website and download one right onto your computer or phone.
There are many rules that you should become familiar with beyond leash rules such as other equipment that can be on your dog at the trial, if they can wear clips in their hair, collars, booties, shirts or bandanas on course, and if they can wear shirts can they have writing on them. There is much more to an agility trial then just course maps and equipment. Take the time to learn the rules and save yourself the disappointment of a DQ for something as benign as a improperly leashed dog.