The sport of AKC Agility involves going over, through, and around obstacles set up in different configurations designed by the judge. It’s fast and lots of fun to participate in or just to watch. Agility is designed to demonstrate a Collie’s willingness to work with its handler in a variety of situations. It is an athletic event that requires conditioning, concentration, training and teamwork. Collies and handlers negotiate an obstacle course racing against the clock.
Collies were originally bred to be herding dogs for the shepherds of Scotland. The purpose of the competitive AKC Herding trial program is to preserve and develop the herding skills inherent in the Collie and to demonstrate that they can perform the useful functions for which they were originally bred. The initial test is called Instinct Test and it is a test for all of the herding breeds. The Collie needs no training before entering this class and may be handled by the judge, owner or a designated handler. The judge is looking for the Collie’s ability to move and control livestock by fetching or driving.
Many club members choose to show their dogs in AKC Conformation events to achieve championships and to breed their dogs for the betterment of the Collie. All Breed conformation shows are held monthly throughout the state and can be looked up on the Jack Onofrio Dog Shows web site. The Collie Club of Colorado specialty show is held in April of each year.
In AKC Obedience, Collie and handler teams are judged on how closely they match the judge’s mental picture of a theoretically perfect performance as they execute a series of specified exercises. Accuracy and precision are essential, but the natural movement of the handler and the willingness and enjoyment of the collie are very important. Each level of obedience competition, novice, open, and utility, requires mastering a specific set of skills, with increasing difficulty, before advancing to the next level.
AKC Rally is a successful stepping stone from the AKC Canine Good Citizen® program to the world of obedience or agility. Rally offers both the collies and handlers an experience that is fun and energizing. The Collie and handler move at their own pace. Rally was designed with the traditional pet owner in mind, but it can still be very challenging for those who enjoy higher levels of competition.
AKC Tracking is a canine sport that demonstrates the Collie’s natural ability to recognize and follow a scent and is the foundation of canine search and rescue work. Unlike obedience and agility trials, where collies respond to the owner’s commands, in tracking the Collie is completely in charge, for only he knows how to use his nose to find and follow the track. For many, the greatest pleasure of tracking is the hours spent outside training and interacting with their Collies.
A therapy dog is trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools for people with learning difficulties, and stressful situations such as disaster areas. The most important characteristic of a therapy dog is its temperament. A good therapy dog must be friendly, patient, confident, at ease in all situations, and gentle. Therapy dogs must enjoy human contact and be content to be petted and handled, sometimes clumsily. Many dogs contribute to the visiting experience by performing small tricks for their audiences or by playing carefully structured games.
Alliance of Therapy Dogs