ETTs and Agility
Looking at the ETT you can see that it is built for speed and fun. Agility is a sport that combines speed, fitness, agility, strength and a willingness to learn. Both the dog and handler need a lot of training, but agility is a lot of fun! The agility course is an obstacle course where the dog handler needs to direct the dog through the different obstacles in a race for both time and accuracy. The judge in each competition designs the courses. The levels of difficulties varies in the different classes. Class 1 is the easiest, and you have to compete in this several times to be able to get promoted to class 2, the middle class. After working your way through enough points and wins here, you get promoted to class 3 – the most difficult class. This is where you can win the certificate in agility and agility jump. The classes are divided into different size classes; small, medium and large dog. ETTs are usually in the small dog class (where the dog has to be under 35cm to the withers).
The agility sport is divided into three main events;
Part 1: Agility
Part 2: Agility Jump which is an agility course without the contact zone obstacles
Part 3: Team – a team of three to four dogs and the final result is the combined results after each handler and dog have completed the course.
There are a lot of obstacles in an agility course. The contact zone obstacles are obstacles the dog has to run over and touch the contact zone (a different coloured paint at the beginning and the end of the obstacle) on both sides. The different obstacles are A frame, dog walk and the seesaw. The jumps are different heights in the different size categories. There are different tunnels that the dog has to get through as fast as possible. You have long tunnels and even tunnels that are closed in one end so that the dog needs to work its way to lift the cloth up. The slalom is a series of upright poles. The dog always has to enter with the first pole to its left and then zigzag through the rest. Skipping poles is a fault.
It is the judge that decides on the course for each competition. There is always different and difficult challenges with all sorts of angles and shapes. It is important to be fit and to have a very fit dog. It is hard on the body to run agility competitions. Warming up and walking down when training and keeping condition and muscles in top shape all the time is a must.
The sport was invented and inspired by show jumping. You can see the similarities – especially by the fact that the results are based on timing and that the challenges are different in each competition.
Most people get introduced to the sport through their local dog training club at a beginners course. It is easy to get hooked.
Me (Tarjei) and my husband Robert Bratt Hveding-Gabrielsen in Norway got very hooked indeed. We are today very active within the sport. We have a small kennel of ETTs in Norway with the kennel name Narjana’s. We breed dogs that have the strength, agility and the willingness to learn to be a real agility star. All our dogs love it and they learn quickly. Today we have dogs competing at the top Level in Norway. We also have our own team consisting of only ETTs.
One of our big goals is to compete at top levels all over Europe with our beautiful ETTs. In 2014 we were picked to be competing for the Norwegian National recruit team. This is a team of up and coming National team competitors. We are also both picked to represent Norway both individually and in the team event during the European Open Agility in Hungary in 2014. This is a huge competition that will be broadcast live on the internet. We are very excited to be a part of this.
We are extremely proud to be showing off our lovely breed in this dog sport. The dogs we compete with are show champions in several different countries. and we also have an agility jump champion. We are going for more of that in the coming years and believe that the ETT is the perfect breed for this!
We’re training agility 3-4 times a week and the other days we are out exercising in the woods. At home we are lucky enough to have our own agility course in the garden. Of course we also go to different clubs and practice there as well. We join a lot of courses with different instructors and also hold courses for others. YouTube is an important tool for us – here we can watch competitions from all over the world for inspiration and tips. We are having a lot of fun.
I thoroughly recommend all of you with an ETT to give agility a go. The dogs love using their heads and bodies at the same time. Having thoroughly exhausted dogs at the end of the session is a fantastic feeling. I hope you will love this sport as much as I do.
Submitted by: Tarjei Bratt Hveding-Gabrielsen (Narjana)