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Thread: Agility

  1. #1
    SharonaZamboni's Avatar
    SharonaZamboni is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultAgility

    There is an agility club in my town, and I've been thinking about getting Bean involved. Waiting to see if classes are held at times I can attend, since I work evenings.
    I'm assuming that we would be doing "gentle" training until he's older. What are some things we can work on at home?

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    Milesmom is offline Senior Member
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    Hi there!

    That is a difficult question to answer not knowing what you have done thus far. I am also not an expert having just trained my first dog. It looks like your pup is about 9 months old. I will say that obedience is the foundation for any dog sport you'd like to get involved in. That doesn't mean you have to perfect obedience before introducing your pup to agility foundations but obedience is still necessary. I can't stress this enough. I see too many handlers that try to gloss over the obedience part just to get to the agility and it shows. We started in obedience and moved into agility and I have found I rely heavily on obedience skills.

    1. Attention. We built a partnership in obedience and he looks to me for direction. A good game for building attention is "watch" he has to make eye contact to get the reward. I also play what is called the zen game. we started with him in a down and I have a cookie in each hand. He doesn't get a cookie until he makes eye contact with me. We built from there. In agility you want the dog to look to you when you say her name.

    2. Recall! You need a good solid recall. Your dog should come when you call them. It is a run saving skill when the dog is heading for an off course obstacle or the ring gate and you can call them back (it's a real bummer to have a nice clean run and get an F because your dog ran out of the ring after the last obstacle!).

    3. A good solid sit stay building up to success in a stimulating environment. This is extremely useful at the starting line and on the pause table.

    4. Healing. No, we don't heal our dogs around the course, but the dog needs to behave politely going to and from the ring. I have found the "heal" and "watch me" commands very useful.

    As for agility, there is alot of ground work you can be doing. You are right to not have your puppy jumping alot and at full height at this age. Some excersizes involve teaching body awareness. Stepping through a ladder lieng on the ground. Standing with front paws on some kind of disc and doing turns on forehand. Wrapping around a jump standard to teach tight turns. Rounded jumping drills with a jump at 6". Dogs don't always just know how to jump. Susan Salo has some good puppy jump drill DVDs. Target training is also useful.

    This is all based on my limited experience. You might want to look into some resources from the experts.

    Susan Garrett also has some good resourses for training. They aren't cheap, but will give you things you can work on at home and is certainly cheaper than classes. Also maybe try searching YouTube for some puppy agility foundation drills. They are hard to describe in writing. She also has Susan Salo resources listed here.

    Say Yes Dog Training

    You might also consider subscribing to Clean Run Magazine. It is full of all kinds of training articles for all stages of training.

    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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    SharonaZamboni's Avatar
    SharonaZamboni is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks for the advice! I have been working the eye contact since I got Bean, and he does very well. He definitely needs work heeling! I saw some crate games online, but can't quite tell what they're doing. Guess I should spend some money on DVDs and a magazine!

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  6. #4
    debjen is offline Senior Member
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    some good advice already .. I would say the hardest thing for beginners especially if they have just an obedience background is working your dog on both sides..walking nicely on both sides...(I use heel for the left and side for the right)...sit on both sides..down on both..sides..you get the idea..whatever I have the dog do on one side I have them do on the other side..

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