Junior handler dog agility in Canada

Living in my home are a very cute seven year old girl and a very cute five year old CKC registered border collie. Cite. They are in a beginner agility class together. Our daughter (Sam Stone’s and mine) is hoping to compete as a “junior handler.” This is looking like it might actually be possible, since both the dog and the child are highly motivated to practice and learn, and our daughter is not the kind of kid who gives up on a thing once she has it in her head, and the dog actually shows quite a bit of talent for the sport, being a very calm and solid BC who is both eager to please, and highly responsive to praise.

Sorry for the long preamble. I have long wanted a BC who shows aptitude for this, and Sam will vouch for the fact that our last two, Og rest their souls, were lovable as hell but spun right out. Anyway, the teacher in our class encouraged me to register our daughter as a Junior Handler with this organization. Good enough, but then what can I expect? The website and its links are not telling me what I want to know. So my questions to you people who have actually engaged in this sport are:

  • At what point can this team (kid and dog) enter in events? What training should they absolutely have mastered so that we are not just wasting our time?
  • I have heard that the Junior Handler category is generally 9 and up. Is this true, and to what extent?
  • Should I pay any attention at all to the dog’s being CKC registered? Are there different paths agility-wise for unregistered dogs vs. registered dogs, and as a practical matter, is one better than the other?

Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to reply!


Juniors always have a blast handling their dogs in agility, conformation, and obedience. When you say the dog is registered with the CKC, do you mean the Continental Kennel Club or the Canadian Kennel Club? I don’t think the Canadian Kennel Club recognizes Border Collies yet. Bastards :wink:

Anyway - in agility, the whole registration thing means nothing. Mutts can compete just like any other dog, so this is not a problem. Juniors compete against other juniors rather than against adults. The kids are judged both on their handling and the performance of their dog.

I don’t remember if there is a lower age limit for juniors in the Canadian Agility system. Once your daughter and dog are registered as a team with the agility association of your choice, they can start to compete. I would recommend that the team spend at least a year training before they start competing - entries are expensive, so it’s not worth blowing $30 on a run if the team isn’t ready. I’d encourage your daughter to seek out “Fun Matches” or “Fun Runs”, which are like practice competitions. Your trainer should be able to help you with that. Also, once she is comfortable with all the obstacles, sequencing and all that, you can likely rent some “ring time” with your local agility training club (or obedience school) for practice runs.

Agility is a FUN sport, and I love watching juniors and their dogs compete in it. It’s a great way to bond with your pet and get plenty of exercise! :smiley:

That’s right, I remember now re: the controversy – her line was registered in the Canadian Kennel Club misc. category (where they used to recognize bcs), so we were given the papers for that should they ever reinstate it. I’m fine with it, really – it’s all the result of breeders objecting to the way showing for conformity tends to weaken a breed – which is an argument with merits, certainly.

We have been going on Saturday evenings for “ring time” to practice – it’s a great deal for five bucks and a short drive. We’ve met some really experienced competitors and trainers there, too, just working their dogs, and received the benefit of their expertise (gratis!). :smiley:

Thanks for the tips of about a year of practice, Fun Runs, and Fun Matches. That was really the kind of stuff I needed to know!