Downeast Dog News

Training Your Performance Dog

Agility, Obedience, Tracking
By Carolyn Fuhrer | Sep 01, 2020

More Performance Opportunities

There are not a lot of opportunities to work with your performance dog during these difficult times, but OTAC – On Track Agility Club of Maine – has been hard at work creating more opportunities for the people of Maine. This month on September 19, they will be hosting an Agility Course Test (ACT) at North Star Dog Training School. This is a wonderful way to introduce your dog to the sport of agility, and if you are brand new to agility, this is a very worthwhile event to attend and watch.

The Level 1 ACT event is a basic course consisting of jumps, the table, A frame and tunnels with 10-12 obstacles in all. Level 2 adds a spread jump, 6 weaves, and the see saw, with 11-13 obstacles in all. Both levels are very user-friendly allowing multiple attempts at obstacles. After 3 tries at each obstacle, the handler must move on. Contacts are judged for safety on the A-frame and see saw (this assures the dog safely completes the entire obstacle instead of “flying off”). Level 1 dogs have 60 seconds to complete the course and Level 2 dogs have 70 seconds.

To enter an ACT event, dogs must be 15 months or older. Dogs cannot have earned any AKC agility titles. Non-registered or AKC registered dogs may enter. In order to achieve an ACT 1 title, you must get 2 qualifying legs. You must complete the entire course in 60 seconds with a score of 85. No dropped bars (but you may enter at any jump height – 4” up to 24”), no missed contacts and no more than 3 attempts to complete each obstacle and no more than 3 wrong courses. The same applies to ACT 2 with a 70 second time limit.

The ACT event is a wonderful introduction to the sport of agility, and we are fortunate to have a club like OTAC offering this opportunity.

OTAC is also planning a new and exciting Rally event this fall. OTAC will present a Rally “Fall Frolic” on Sunday, September 6 at the Pittston Fairgrounds in Pittston, ME.

This will give people a chance to work in a real show environment and to receive feedback regarding their run and helpful information to improve their performance in a supportive, friendly atmosphere. For more information, e-mail

The club is working on another fabulous tracking workshop which will be coming soon.

What is unique about the offering of this new club is that they have talented experts in all the venues that they offer. So, not only do you have the pleasure of working in a supportive, encouraging atmosphere, you also have the added benefit of experienced, successful trainers and teachers to guide you and help you learn. This is a very special aspect of this club because they are providing a much-needed opportunity for learning, encouraging beginners, and sharing knowledge.

If you are thinking about dabbling in dog sports or are new to the area, this is an organization worth investigating. The fall and winter program this club is planning only gets more exciting! For more information, call Kathy at 207-691-2332. Don’t miss out!


Carolyn Fuhrer has earned over 125 AKC titles with her Golden Retrievers, including 2 Champion Tracker titles and 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