Why the Leash and Collar Rules at Dog Agility Competitions

leash rules in dog agilityThe majority of dog agility organizations require that your dog run ‘naked’ on course. Meaning without a collar on and those that do require no tags of any kind hanging from it. They also require dogs to be under control before and after the ring, most meaning your dog is leashed and if not you can be DQ’d. But why?

It boils down to just one thing, safety. If your dog was wearing their collar and they were to take a misstep on the dog walk or a-frame causing them to fall, the last thing you would want to see is your dog hanging by their collar. Or imagine your dog making a nice tight wrap on a jump and getting a tag caught on the jump cup. That wouldn’t end well for your dog.  While some may argue that it will never happen, it would only take it happening once to their dogs to change their mind.

And what about the silly leash thing. I mean really, my dog has their CDX for crying out loud. Again, it is for the safety of the dogs and handlers. Your dog may be “ok,” but what about every other dog? Emotions are high at competitions and some dogs may lash out if their personal space is infringed by you or your dog. At the very least, having your dog leashed will allow you to pull them into safety. Plus, some dogs can and will have a lapse of judgement under that stress or go into a fit of zoomies, outside the ring. Still, there are no guarantees a dog won’t exit the ring alone with you and your dog waiting your turn.

If you are concerned with being able to remove and replace your collar in a timely manner, there are several options. You can use a collar with a quick release snap as long as your dog is not a heavy puller or a slip leash similar to what the vet or groomer uses but made with a heavy nylon rope. They are our favorite, but can be hard to find. Be aware that most if not all dog agility venues do not allow any kind of correction collar anywhere on the grounds. If your dog cannot be controlled without one or you fear they will slip the collar, you can try a harness when you are not entering a competition or go home and do more work on walking on a leash.

We all love our dog agility trials and the last thing anyone wants is a dog fight or someone getting bit in the height of emotion by our dogs.