As the German Spitz is an intelligent, active and confident dog they make an ideal agility dog. They are easy to train using the correct methods and are a dog that is eager to learn and learns very quickly. Most German Spitz really enjoy doing agility.
Agility training can be started anytime from the age of 12 months. However all dogs starting agility should have some basic obedience. It is a good idea to find a local dog training class so your dog gets used to being around other dogs and learns basic commands such as heel, sit, down, wait, and a recall and release command.
You will need to find an Agility training class, there are Kennel Club registered clubs, independents groups and private individuals. Details can be found from the Kennel Club or agility web sites. Agility is very popular and a reputable club will probably have a waiting list. Ask questions when enquiring such as how many dogs in a class, experience of the instructors, and if they have a class just for smaller dogs.
At training the dog learns to negotiate a variety of obstacles which include jumps, long jump, weave poles, tunnels, see saw, dog walk, and A frame. This is done off the lead, safely and accurately. As training progresses speed is built up over the obstacles.
Before you compete with your dog it will have to be measured by official K.C. measurers. This can be done at any age from 15months. Agility has 3 height categories: Small 35cm and under, Medium over 35cm to 43cm, Large over 43cm. Therefore German Spitz measure as small or medium. A second measurement is done at a later date. Small dogs compete over jumps at 35cm high and medium dogs compete over jumps at 45cm high.
Dogs can compete from 18months and classes are graded from grade 1 to 7. If you are just starting out you will be Grade 1. The courses at Grade 1 are designed for beginners and will be a lot easier than a grade 7 course (advanced).
Grade 1 is for owners, handlers or dogs which have not gained a first place in an Agility Class or three first places in Jumping Classes at Kennel Club licensed Agility Shows.
If you have previously owned or handled another dog which has won out of Grade 1 & 2 (Elementary and Starters) your new dog starts in grade 3. Then if you win at your grade you move into the next one, and so on, the top grade being 7.
When entering a show there is usually 3 or 4 classes a day you can compete in. These will usually be a mixture of agility and jumping classes. Agility classes can contain all obstacles, jumping class do not have any contact obstacles i.e. see saw, A frame or dog walk.
Further information on agility can be found at www.agilitynet.co.uk