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Author Topic: Agility Training  (Read 1345 times)
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tessa_s212
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« on: February 24, 2007, 08:46:11 AM »

Agility Training

The first thing you need to know is that dogs under a year old should NOT be jumping, and should also not be weaving. Any other behavior that is hard on a young dog's body, such as vigorous 2o2o contact obstacle training, should also be avoided.  This is for the dog's own safety, as before a year of age, the dog is still growing.

Before you even start agility classes, I highly suggest that your dog have taken an obedience class, or at least is well trained in basic obedience such as sit, down, stay, come, and to walk loosely on a leash. It is also very important that your dog know some kind of command to distract its attention from other dogs and back onto you.

Besides the basic obedience, it is also very important to teach some foundation-agility behaviors. I teach my dog hand signals to turn right and left, as well as to spin fully in a circle. I start training "startline stays", in which I leave the dog in either a sit or down(preferably down depending on size and breed), walk a good amount of distance with the dog's favorite treats and toys in my hand, and then call the dog while running. When the dog catches up, a huge party and celebration!  Also a wise thing to do with a dog before ever taking them to an agility class is get them well adjusted to heights. Put them on tables, chairs, etc. Also, if you can, it is also smart to create your own "wobble board". A wobble board is a square board big enough to hold your dog which is placed on a small round ball. You then get your dog to walk on it, all the mean while feeding it treats and praising it. This gets the dog used to standing on something which will change balance underneath of it, which is extremely useful once you get around to teaching the teeter.

Now, once you have done some of this with your dog, it is time to find a class and start training!  I do recommend that you find a local trainer that can teach you how to kindly and successively teach your dog to perform agility. Hopefully the trainer you find will have their own foundation agility class before starting the dog on actual equipment.  Before you sign up for any classes, make sure to ask to sit in and watch one. You want a class with a kind trainer that is willing to take things slow, only starts with training one obstacle at a time, and encouraged the use of treats and toys in the class.  You want an agility class that is fun and positive.  If you see any handlers yelling at their dogs, physically correcting them such as grabbing and shaking them, or other negative things, run far far away. Agility is a game, and a fun one at that! And it should be kept that way.  To find a positive reinforcement trainer in your area, try searching www.apdt.com

Also, I recommend that you do some reading. 

http://www.dogpatch.org/agility/FAQs/index.cfm  This is an excellent website FILLED with articles that address every training problem a person could ever have!

http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm  Is also an informative, popular, and great site.  I highly suggest agility competitors to subscribe to their magazine.

And some other agility books include:

Introduction to Dog Agility by Margaret H. Bonham
Excelling at Dog Agility - Book 1: Obstacle Training (Updated Second Edition) (Excelling at Dog Agility) by Jane Simmons-Moake
Excelling at Dog Agility - Book 2: Sequence Training (Excelling at Dog Agility) by Jane Simmons-Moake
Excelling at Dog Agility: Book 3 : Advanced Skills Training (Excelling at Dog Agility) by Jane Simmons-Moake
Agility: A Step-By-Step Guide by Patrick Holden and John Gilbert
From the Ground Up -Agility Foundation Training for Puppies and Beginner Dogs
Written by Kim Collins
Shaping Success - The Education of an Unlikely Champion Written by Susan Garrett


Agility Equipment
As for the agility equipment, most do not have the expenses to go out and buy their own, regulation sized agility equipment, but there are some obstacles that can be made or purchased for rather cheap.

Jumps are fairly cheap and easy to make out of PVC in your very own home. If you do an online search for PVC dog agility jump building plans( http://www.peak.org/~helix/Agility/jump.html ), I'm sure that you will find some plans. There are a few different types of plans out there, so you pick which you'd like. I prefer a more portable version so that I can take my equipment with me to other places once I think my dogs are ready to trial. (Get them used to performing in other places other than my own home or at classes.)

There are some good deals for competitive agility tunnels on ebay.com. If you have a smaller dog, it might be less expensive to just buy a small kiddy tunnel to use. Or, if you aspiring to be a more serious competitor, NTI Global has some reasonable priced competition tunnels with FREE shipping! http://www.ntiglobal.com/dogagility/cart.php?target=product&product_id=1&category_id=6

Tables can also be constructed at home without much trouble.  If you have different sized dogs, it is a very good idea to make the table adjustable for each of their sizes.

I wish you luck in all of your agility training. And always remember, this is supposed to be FUN!  Ribbons and awards are only a plus, the most fun and exciting part is spending time with your dog, developing a closer and stronger bond, and having fun!   Cheesy
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2007, 01:21:32 PM »

Good information, Tessa! Thanks for posting this.
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iloveshepherds
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2007, 11:43:54 AM »

well it looks like agility will be postponed for Apache...shes only 6 months old. we will just stick to the low-impact obstacles.
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tessa_s212
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2007, 09:16:16 AM »

You can still teach many things at 6 months, including tunnels and wobble boards like I mentioned. Even handling techniques could be tuaght in courses of tunnels.

I also forgot that agility trainers can be found at http://www.cleanrun.com/agilityinfo/clubs/clubsearch.cfm  Do be careful and make for sure they are positive trainers.  There may be some here listed that are not positive.
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What lies behind us and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. -Emerson

Tessa &
UACHX Chocolate Cocoa Mix UCD CD EAS OJC OGC TN-N TG-O CGC TDI
Ch. Onsage Marquetry of Solivia UAG1 CGC
Dega UAG1 CL1-R CL1-F
Silver Leaf-Tip CD UAG2 NAC NGC TG-N TN-N CL2-R CGC
Tusket UAG2 NAC NJC TN-N TG-N CL1-R CGC TDI
http://tessa-s21200.tripod.com
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2007, 05:51:35 PM »

TESSA.....We meet yet again....
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