With limited funds, I have two choices for Sophie's education:
I can continue with the same trainer to a beginner obedience class - 6 weeks (this is the trainer I'll be taking agility classes from), and work on specific agility skills on my own
or I can sign up for a puppy gymboree class - 4 weeks - at another school, that covers agility-specific skills (Tunnels - ramps - restrained recalls - puppy teeter - barrel - motivational games - puppy obstacle course)
Some trainers/schools require that you take all of their classes in order (beg to adv) even if you are already competing at higher levels (we have a club like that here). It's a way for them to make extra money and ensure that your skills are on par with their requirements. I'd check with your trainer on that.
I guess I'd have to ask "what are your goals?" Are you wanting to compete in agility and obedience? On average, it takes about 18 months to train for agility (some dogs are quicker and some take longer). Obedience takes about 1 yr. If your goal is to compete in one or the other soon, then that's where I'd be focusing my energy. FYI, obedience skills are necessary for agility too (stays, recalls, etc) so don't forego that all together.
For Essy, we put her in beginning obedience basically so my daughter could bond with her since she originally only wanted to compete in agility and I was teaching Essy obedience at the time. That changed at some point (I think once my daughter realized you couldn't just take one agility class and start competing ) and my daughter decided she also like obedience/rally. Now they are taking agility classes and I teach them the obedience stuff. I think the obedience stuff (particularly the more novice exercises) is easier to learn on your own than the agility stuff (mostly due to the equipment and space required for agility).
I think obedience first....there is alot of training you can do for agility on your own and you can build alot of your own equipment to start with especially if funds are tight. Check out yahoo for agility equipment building there is a group there that will tell you how to build everything cheaply. And it is alot easier to train agility if you aren't chasing your dog around the ring and your dog will do a stay while you walk a course. Also young pups are more easily injured in agility training. The only exception might be a dog that is a slug and has no energy and always sticks by you or a dog that has confidence issues.
I know far less about training than you seem to, so I'm probably no use. But if you're interested in competing in agility, what about doing the obedience now (so she gets a good start in the basics), and then you can work on targeting and introducing your pup to lots of different surfaces/environments on your own? I would think you could do both at the same time without overwhelming the puppy, especially if the obedience class is OC.
*Also young pups are more easily injured in agility training.*
This is exactly why you shouldn't try to do agility training on your own.* I think you need to start with an agility trainer until, at a minimum, you learn how to safely/correctly perform the obstacles.* I don't know of many dogs that get injured practicing obedience incorrectly but I know numerous dogs that have been severely injured (career ending injuries) doing agility incorrectly. Beginning agility is done on leash.
(Just to clarify: Sophie will (hopefully) be my first competition dog, but I'm not a complete newbie at agility. Both my adult dogs have been through agility classes, and I'm presently working with a friend's mini aussie who is nearly competition-ready.
When I say "work at home" (which is what I'm pretty sure I'll be doing, and keeping her in the obedience class - the trainer knows what my goals are, and will give me extra work towards them), anyway - the home work would be on contact training, direction work, go outs and targetting .. the only obstacles in use would be a very low table and a play tunnel. She won't be jumping anything till 9 months at the very earliest, and then it would be a PVC pole on the ground.
Well then to answer your question...If Sophia is not very energetic and not motivated Then I say do Agility. If She is energetic and confident then do Obedience. What do you think her personality would benifit most from???