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Show Agility

Shih Tzu Agility Dog Shows

What is an Agility Dog Show?

Entering your Shih Tzu into an agility dog show event is pure fun! You can forget about proper grooming and that perfect topknot for they day!

Your dog will run an obstacle course and be judged on their ability to maneuver through the obstacles and also on their time to do so.
Overview

If you are going to be training for and then entering your Shih Tzu into agility events, you will want to keep their coat groomed shorter than if you were going to enter for conformance. There are no official rules for this; however practicing for these events is very fun and they also usually end with needing to give your dog a bath! This is a time to train and hone your dog's talents; not to worry about having perfect flowing hair. Many Shih Tzu owners will keep their dog's coat trimmed; perhaps leaving longer hair on the top of the head for a maintenance top knot.

What Must I Teach My Shih Tzu to Do?  

When you enter your Shih Tzu into an agility dog event, there is much training that must be done to prepare. This is going to be your dog's moment to shine; to show the audience and judges how mobile they are and how wonderfully they can maneuver through any obstacle. Each event will have a different set up; therefore all owners are allowed and of course should, do a walk through of the course to become accustomed to it.
What Do I Need to Do in a Dog Show?

You will need to run along side your Shih Tzu and coach him or her through the course. You are allowed to give commands at any time and make motions if you wish. No matter how well trained your Shih Tzu is, your dog will depend on you to show them which obstacle to do next. They should be trained to perform all maneuvers; however you will be leading them (without a leash) through the course so that it is done in the proper order. Time is important; you will want to go a the fastest pace possible while correctly moving through the maze. You should try to never touch your dog while they are running the event; you will have points deducted for doing so.

What Will My Shih Tzu Need to Know?

The Jump. The jump is always involved in this type of venue. The height of the jump is adjusted to the size of the breed competing. Therefore the jump for the Shih Tzu will be between 10 and 16 inches (25.4 to to 40.64) high. There will be several types of jumps: the hurdle and the tire jump.

Tunnels. The tunnels are designed so that your Shih Tzu will enter from one end and run as fast as possible to the exit end. Your coaching will greatly help in this area. There may be open tunnels, collapsed tunnels or both. A collapsed tunnel will be open at the entry point, however your dog will essentially open the tunnel as they run through it; thus it does involve great training to teach a dog that they will indeed have an exit point.

Dog Walk. These are equivalent to wide balance beams. They come in many different shapes; some are shaped as a triangle where your Shih Tzu will need to run up and then down the ramp. There will be a painted color at each end which is the contact zone. Dogs are given points when their paw first touches these areas as they run up and down.

See-Saw. This is one of the most difficult maneuvers through the dog course. The dog usually can not run through this one; careful balancing skills must be used so that the dog begins up one end of the see-saw, and after their weight causes the other end to lower to the ground, they will continue down that side. Many judges will deem that it should take no longer than 2 or 3 seconds for a small breed dog such as the Shih Tzu to make the end of the see-saw go down to the ground.  
Weaving. Poles will be set up, usually anywhere between 10 and 15 and your dog will need to weave back and forth between the poles. A Shih Tzu must always enter the weaving poles beginning from their left. Avoiding touch with the poles will gain points and speed is always an element for judging.

Table. In many courses, a table will be set up. This is to test your training skills and your dog's control level. At some point in the middle of running, swerving, swaying and jumping your dog will come to a table on which they are to sit atop for 5 seconds. When a dog can sit very still without movement and then take off again like the wind, they will earn high points. The judge of any particular event will decide if your dog should sit or lay down on the table; therefore you should train your dog to perform both actions on your word commands.
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