Why is a dog agility course timed and for how long?

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A dog agility course is timed to rank dogs in competition. Dogs are generally judged on how quickly and how accurately they can complete a series of obstacles. The time is set by the competition judges and the course designer after the course is set up. Depending on the competition, there could be anywhere from 10 to 15 agility obstacles placed in the agility competition field. These obstacles are numbered so that a handler can lead the dog through the competition field, allowing the dog to complete each obstacle.

Course builders place the obstacles within the field in a manner that will allow dogs and handlers to successfully run the course. The course is normally set up in some type of grid to make course navigation easier. After the course is built, a judge will measure the path of the course and determine what the standard course time will be. This is the time that dogs must beat in order to avoid getting a time fault.

The time for each course will vary, based on how the course is set up and what the judge determines is the standard course time based on the course path. Each organization generally has rules about how fast a dog must run per second, which is used to get the standard course time. Many courses are within the 150 to 200 yard length, with a standard course time of around 60 seconds.

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