How many classes before competing in agility?
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Thread: How many classes before competing in agility?

  1. #1
    justine's Avatar
    justine is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultHow many classes before competing in agility?

    Abbey and I are in our third agility class. I'm really loving this particular group and how they structure the classes. While we do go at a slower pace than some of my previous classes, we are able to build and perfect each obstacle over a length of time.

    Since she's a mixed breed, I'm not sure how that will work with AKC, although I did notice that there are quite a few groups that are allowing mixed breeds at their venues. I was also thinking about looking into CPE and USDAA.

    Any insight on how far I should go in classes before competing? I definitely want to take at least one or two more classes, but I'm very interested in seeing how she does in the ring, too.

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    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    Have you started doing sequences in the class? You'll need to be able to run a sequence of up to 20-some obstacles with no reward until the end - can you keep her focussed that long? You will also have ring crew and judge in the ring with you - ask your instructor to mimic as much as possible what you will have to do in the ring.

    Your instructor is your best sounding board for when you are ready.. many schools also offer fun matches, which will give you a good feel for what needs work and what doesn't...

    \

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    debjen is offline Senior Member
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    I don't think the amount of classes matter as much as the individual dog..I've taken dogs out that I thought were ready only to find out they really weren't but at some point you have to try and see how they do..After Riley and Robbie I've decided that even if I thought a dog was ready that I was no longer going to take a dog out before age 2 for agility or obedience..Cedar was 2 but on his first trial out I realized he really didn't understand weaves..so we had to go back and retrain..With Flyer he is a dog that could probably be taken out sooner but I am purposely working slow so that I don't get to eager to take him out early.

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    Hi there! I don't think there is any definite answer to your question. I varies from dog to dog/handler to handler.

    Miles and I took 10 months of agility classes before we felt ready to enter our first CPE agility trial. CPE is a very friendly, relaxed venue that allows all dogs. It is a very good place to start with agility. I have been told by my instructor, and the more experienced competitors, that CPE Level 3 is comparable to AKC novice. CPE is a nice place to start because it is more relaxed and a bit easier. There are no Teeters and weaves in Level 1. Yes, your dog does need to be able to do sequences of about 20 obstacles without getting a treat.

    Miles was 3 before we started agility and by then we'd had a few years of competing in rally and obedience (before we even started agility class). He moved up a little faster because he was already used to looking to me for direction. He was also already used to the ring atmosphere (so was I!). I will say that I see alot of dogs in CPE and beginning agility that don't have that background who go off an explore the ring, take random obstacles, work the crowd, visit the judge/scribe or just run out of the ring due to stress.

    My advice is to ask your agility instructor to let you know when he or she thinks you are ready. That would be the best person to advise on your readiness. You don't want to rush things. If your dog isn't ready, she may learn two bad things that may be very difficult to untrain 1) the ring is a scary place that I want nothing to do with 2) I can do whatever I want in this ring whenever I want.

    I posted some videos from a CPE agility trial we were in over New Year's weekend on another post. Most of these are Level 1 CPE. They are marked. If you look at those, you'll get an idea of what will be expected of you and your dog at a CPE trial. By the way, notice that I remove leash and collar. Some venues, CPE is one of them, require dogs to run naked. It is a safety issue. Collars can get caught on equipment.

    Talk to your instructor and good luck. Just be warned... this is an addictive sport!

    Ann & Miles
    MACH ARCHEX "Miles" (DOB 3/10/2006) UD RAE MXS MJS OF CW-OB3 CW-ARF CW-AR CW-ZR2 CL-1 (DOB 3/10/2006)
    "Hartley" (DOB 7/21/2012) RN CGC CW-OB1

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    I agree with Deb. It depends on the dog, not the classes.

    Magnum and Ruger never had classes. I trained them at home and we went to trials. I was competing with Magnum and hauling Ruger to just have him there. He was crated at shows for about a year before I entered him.

    Same with Remington. I hauled him to the trials as I competed Magnum and Ruger, but he was crated and just got acclimated to the shows.

    If your dog can stay with you successfully and pay attention and perform the obstacles correctly (safely) I say give it a go.

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    definitely depends on the dog. Lily only had 4 classes and got a UKC AGI title. It took several more classes for AKC because we needed a lot of work on weaves!
    Kim

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    It also depends on what you want out of competing. Do you just want to be able to "get through" a course or do you want to be competitive? CPE is a great place to start trialing because you can make up your own course in many classes. So if you aren't ready for a certain obstacle, you can skip it. UKC is also nice because there aren't any weaves at the first level.

    You should also join the club so you can come to open floor times

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    You should also join the club so you can come to open floor times
    We have nothing like that in my area. The only time we have equiptment out and set up is for our trials. We have no permenant location for our stuff So if you do agility in my area you do it with one of three people that have equipment, me and two others.

    I WISH our club could set up and leave it open for practice, that would be ideal.

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    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    I'm not competing in agility yet, but I will echo what the others have said: I think it would vary greatly from dog to dog.

    An obedience background does seem to give you a "leg up" (ha), as you are already used to working with your dog in a show environment and they are used to looking to you for direction. They have also already mastered stay and other basic commands that pop up in agility (table). But, on the other hand, sometimes some things about obedience can be a hinderance...for example, I have always encouraged Angus very strongly to stay right with me during obedience and rally. If he ran ahead, he got called back in, pronto. He makes me nervous as a cat, and the more I could keep his focus entirely on me, I thought the better.

    I started taking agility with him this year and we got called out: He was "too focused on me." And it was true. I practiced that heads-up heeling with him for so long, it was hard to get him to look away from me and watch what he was doing. He tripped over obstacles numerous times, and so did I. A more experienced, well-rounded competitor than me might not have had this trouble, but for us it was a real stumbling block (quite literally!). And forget sending him ahead. He might go ahead to do the obstacle, but as soon as he did it he would do a 180 and was bounding right back to your side. Great in obedience; not really what you want in agility.

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    Yes, well we are having some trouble learning the rear cross because of he is always looking for me. He tends to whirl in a little circle . We are working on it.

    Ann & Miles
    MACH ARCHEX "Miles" (DOB 3/10/2006) UD RAE MXS MJS OF CW-OB3 CW-ARF CW-AR CW-ZR2 CL-1 (DOB 3/10/2006)
    "Hartley" (DOB 7/21/2012) RN CGC CW-OB1

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