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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 31
Opinions re: class expectations?

Hello- I rescued a female GSD just over six months ago and was very excited to start both of us in agility. She is 2.5 years old, super athletic, and treat/toy motivated. We've worked hard on her obedience and social skills and I'm thrilled with the results. Her obedience is perfect off-leash at parks with high distractions. We've taken a trick course and scent detection course and she was a superstar in both.

So, we're into our 20th week of agility classes and I am not happy with the lack of hands-on instruction or our progress. Wondering if my class is typical and I need to be more patient?

Two classes are being taught by the same instructor at the same time and in the same huge room, separated by low, flimsy, see-through barriers. It is quite chaotic as the dogs keep changing and always appear to be at different levels. Dogs are barking, running sequences, and escaping from owners etc on both sides. Each side has 2-3 dogs.

I was confused and developed bad handling habits as the instructor rarely saw me and my dog do a sequence. I raised this, and now I'm getting more instruction, but still no observation/feedback. My dog is not consistent and at times will just start racing around out of what appears to be frustration. She also can be too interested in the other dogs. I asked the instructor if I could rent the space to practice without distractions, but was told no. The instructor keeps telling me I have to work on my dog's focus because trials are a lot more chaotic. However, my dog has no problems focusing outside of this class. Also, we are nowhere near trial level and I always prefer to teach with minimal distraction and build up.

My dog came into agility already knowing off-leash obedience, nose-touch and foot targets. After 20 weeks, we've only done sequences with tunnels, a table and short jumps - and we're very inconsistent. This is a great facility, prof equipment and the instructor has a great reputation/record.

Would appreciate hearing if this class approach is okay for beginners and I should keep trying to work through - or if I should be having a better experience? I think I would prefer 100% instruction and having one team run at a time so we could all learn from each team's run.

Thanks for any feedback!
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