Downeast Dog News

Training Your Performance Dog

Agility, Obedience, Tracking
By Carolyn Fuhrer | Apr 01, 2019

New Agility Trials Coming to Maine

2019 will be an exciting year for agility fans in Maine. Mid Coast Kennel Club of Maine will be hosting 2 three day AKC Agility trials in Maine at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. This is a significant increase in AKC agility opportunities available to people and their dogs right here in Maine.

The first 3-day event will be in May on May 10, 11, and 12 and the second 3-day event will occur in September on September 27, 28, and 29. Up until now, the only AKC agility event in Maine was held by The Collie Club of Maine in June in Scarborough. Now, people of Maine will have 6 more AKC trials available to them.

Thank you Mid Coast Kennel Club for all your hard work to make this happen!

The purpose of AKC agility trials is to afford owners the opportunity to demonstrate a dog’s physical ability/soundness and willingness to work with its handler under a variety of conditions.

The program begins with basic entry level agility and progresses to more complex levels that require dogs to demonstrate higher levels of training and interaction with their handlers.

Agility trials are sporting events and all participants should be guided by the principles of good sportsmanship both in and outside the trial course. The rules for performance of agility put the dog’s mental, physical well-being, and safety as their first priority.

Handlers can be excused by the judge at any time for inappropriate actions including continuous and conspicuous leading of the dog through the course; harsh commands; intimidation, or corrections. Dogs that are unresponsive, stop working, or are out of control can be excused.

If you have never seen AKC agility, come and enjoy watching the level of performance that trained dogs and handlers can achieve. If you are considering entering, please make sure you read and understand the rules and how a trial is run so that you can make the most out of your experience and enjoy yourself and your dog. Rules and regulations are available at

There are many different classes that are offered each day at all levels from Novice to Masters, and there is a preferred division that allows dogs to jump at a lower height to expand opportunities to more dogs.

The two basic titling classes are Standard and Jumpers with Weaves. The Standard course involves jumps, table, A frame, dog walk, seesaw, and tunnel(s). The Jumpers with Weaves course differs in that dogs are not slowed down by the careful performance required by the contact obstacles in the Standard course. This course demonstrates a dog’s speed and jumping ability and its working relationship with its handler.

The FAST class is an additional titling class to demonstrate strategic accuracy, speed, and distance handling.

The Time 2 Beat class is another titling class with emphasis on speed and accuracy.

The Premier class is designed to challenge teams to negotiate varied approach angles, spacing of obstacles, and obstacle discrimination.

So – as you can see, AKC agility has a lot to offer. Hope to see you in May!


Carolyn Fuhrer has earned over 100 AKC titles with her Golden Retrievers, including 2 Champion Tracker titles. She has recently become an AKC Tracking Judge.


Carolyn is the owner of North Star Dog Training School in Somerville, Maine. She has been teaching people to understand their dogs for over 25 years. You can contact her with questions, suggestions and ideas for her column by e-mailing