Thinking about getting into agility - German Shepherd Dog Forums

Increase font size: 0, 10, 25, 50%

GermanShepherds.com is the premier German Shepherd Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 02-23-2012, 03:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
Kay
Member
 
Kay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 138
Default Thinking about getting into agility

I'm thinking about getting into agility with my gal. I was doing obedience with her (she has a CD), but she seems kind of bored with it, and it isn't fun for me either when I feel I'm forcing her to work.

I think she'd have a blast with agility though. She loves running, she's very high energy, and if I can encourage her along the way she'll love it. She's almost 2, and she needs something to keep her mentally stimulated.

But I don't know where to start... the only local place that offers classes in my area has a 13 month waiting list for their beginner classes :/

Do you guys have any pointers or comments? I'd appreciate anything!
Kay is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 02-23-2012, 03:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
Elite Member
 
marshies's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,690
Default

Where are you in Canada, Kay?
__________________
Amaretto von Huerta Hof -Adventures and Dog Product Reviews-
marshies is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-23-2012, 04:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
Kay
Member
 
Kay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 138
Default

I live in Manitoba. Hi-Flyers Agility is the closest to me, and they aren't even adding to their waiting list until after May 1st, sadly.

Kay is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-23-2012, 04:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
Crowned Member
 
wildo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 5,528
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kay View Post
the only local place that offers classes in my area has a 13 month waiting list for their beginner classes :/

Do you guys have any pointers or comments? I'd appreciate anything!
It's probably not worth it anyway. Group classes can certainly be fun; there is no question about that. However, the point of a group class is to move the group along at the same rate. Dogs that are not developing as fast will get left in the dust, and dogs that are developing faster than others will be bored. Not to mention most agility classes are geared to getting the class participants onto the agility equipment.

Trust me on this- I wanted nothing more than to send my pup over that A-Frame! On day one I asked when we would get to play on the equipment...

I sincerely believe this is not the proper approach. You need to establish some foundational skills in order for your dog to be safe and successful. Your dog needs to be conditioned both in stamina and strength (especially core strength). Do you know why those massive football players can turn so quickly to avoid an oncoming player? It's because they have great core strength. Agility is all about tight turning under great speed. Asking your dog to do this without first conditioning them is asking them to use other muscles to compensate. This can absolutely lead to injury. Conditioning is so important.

Balance, coordination, and rear-foot awareness are other areas that (at least for me) are typically not addressed in a group class. That's not always true. MRL, for example, has posted video of pups working on balance disks in class. I'm just saying from my experience, such foundational skills are very often skipped.

And let's not forget about jumping! If you think about a full standard course, you will have about 20 obstacles on there for the dog to navigate. For contacts, you will have the teeter, a-frame, dogwalk, and table. You'll probably have a tunnel or two on the course as well. Everything else is jumps of some sort (single bar, double, triple, tire). So that would be four contacts and two tunnels. Oh yes- also the weave poles. So that is seven out of twenty obstacles that are non-jumping, or 35%. Yet so many people are in a big rush to get to the "sexy" stuff. I am currently revisiting jumping via Susan Salo's grid work. I've had literally one session of about five jumps (total!) and I can already see how hugely beneficial it will be to my dog's agility career. When 65% of a course requires jumping, avoiding jump training is a major mistake in my opinion. Yet group classes are often so focused on the contacts... Makes no sense.

Another key foundation area is shaping. Since you are into competitive obedience, hopefully you have some familiarity with shaping. It is so important that your dog is willing to offer you behaviors in agility. You need a dog that is engaged and wants to offer you stuff. This comes from having a strong foundation in actually shaping behaviors in your dog.

If there is any truth about agility, I'd have to say it is: Agility is as complex as you want it to be. For every aspect of agility you learn about, it could easily open five more doors... I would start by reading a few books and/or watching a few DVDs. For getting started, I'd recommend in no particular order:

Shaping Success, Susan Garrett
Ready Steady Go, Sylvia Trkman
Foundation Jumping, Susan Salo
__________________
Willy

C-ATCH Pimg - DOB: 2/06, UJJ (x2), HIT, CA, CGC, High in Games, Reserve High in Standard- CPE Nationals 2014
High Jinks vom Neuanfang - DOB 9/12 (Gotchya Day: 1/23/2013) agility superstar in training
wildo is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-23-2012, 04:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
Master Member
 
sashadog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Posts: 674
Default

I would agree with Willy... While group classes are wonderful and at some point you will have to start on contacts and get onto an actual course, there is a ton that you can and probably should do before that point. Work on direction changes, work on core strength and conditioning on their part (and yours ), and rear foot awareness is big too.

I would suggest it though and it is a blast even if you never want to compete! Have you thought about Rally in the meantime? Agility is my favorite but Rally is a close second and my dogs LOVE it!
__________________
Brooke

Tango, lab mix 10/01/2000
Scarlett, cattle dog mix 04/01/2007
Sasha, GSD 02/01/2008
sashadog is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-23-2012, 05:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Southeastern Pa.
Posts: 246
Default

I really liked Mary Ellen Barry's foundation DVDs, lots of stuff you can teach on your own.
With my girl I started with 1/2 hour privates, until I felt we had most of everything down then we joined group classes that were running at a Nov/open level.
__________________
Judy Sheaffer
Reba CD TDI Rescue / Bridge
Caramist Ramblin Red Sage UD CGC / Bridge
PAM Alkarah's Havoc of Hollabird CD RAE PT MXP AJP OFP TC / Bridge
Kenlyn's Red Hot Chili Pepper CD RA NA NJ NF
Kaleef Monarch's Thunderstruck
gsdheeler is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-23-2012, 05:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
Crowned Member
 
wildo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 5,528
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsdheeler View Post
I really liked Mary Ellen Barry's foundation DVDs, lots of stuff you can teach on your own.
I've never used these, so I was interested in what you were referring to. For the OP:
Clean Run: Foundation Fundamentals 6-DVD Set
__________________
Willy

C-ATCH Pimg - DOB: 2/06, UJJ (x2), HIT, CA, CGC, High in Games, Reserve High in Standard- CPE Nationals 2014
High Jinks vom Neuanfang - DOB 9/12 (Gotchya Day: 1/23/2013) agility superstar in training
wildo is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-23-2012, 05:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
Crowned Member
 
Konotashi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 4,145
Default

I was thinking about putting Ozzy into agility. At his first flyball tournament, between races, I walked around and watched the lure coursing, dock dogs, and agility.

I thought it was so boring to watch. I'm sure it's TONS of fun doing it with your dog, but it was boring to watch, to me.

Flyball is a team sport; dogs are going nuts, people are yelling and screaming, and it's chaos and fun. Going to watch the agility, it's quiet, nobody is really talking to each other, and it was just... boring.... Sorry agility nuts, but it's not my thing.
__________________
Ozzy - Chocolate Pom
-FDCh-G
-TF-III
-Fastest 2012/2013 U-FLI Pomeranian

"In a perfect world, every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog."
Konotashi is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-23-2012, 07:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
The Agility Rocks! Moderator
 
MaggieRoseLee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Bushkill, PA (The Poconos!)
Posts: 26,595
Default

Have to say I think I'm disagreeing with pretty much everyone cause I LOVE agility classes! The social aspect, the fun, the other dogs and the instructor. If you find good classes they will work on foundation skills as well as the equipment at the appropriate rate for everyone to learn.

I have to drive over an hour to mine, so you may have to widen your scope a bit. I just plan shopping and errands on the nights I have classes so it's all on the way to class. Even a walk or hike before class with the dog may work well.

Did you look here for classes? Clean Run: Search for Agility Clubs and Schools

Agility Resources has about 12 training facilities to contact. Beginner classes do NOT start up every 8 weeks or so (usually) cause there is quite a bit to learn before really being able to move up to the next level. So I'd sign up for any that are upcoming, if I missed one already I'd ask if I could catch up just so I didn't have to wait 6 months or so!

Contact the clubs/classes. Ask what they would recommend you do while you wait (if you have to). clicker classes? flyball is also fun.....

Dog agility clubs in Manitoba, Canada

AAC_Home_Page

I do like all the DVD's and training sites recommended, but I use them in conjunction with classes, not instead of classes.
__________________
*****
MACH3 Bretta Lee Wildhaus MXG MJG MXF MFB TQX HIT CGC TC
Glory B Wildhaus AX, AXJ, XF
plus Miss Osin Blue Wildhaus

"Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have. ~ "--- Michael Bernhard, gratitude
MaggieRoseLee is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:46 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.3.2
PetGuide.com
Basset Hound Forum Doberman Forum Golden Retriever Forum Beagle Forum
Boxer Forum Dog Forum Pit Bull Forum Poodle Forum
Bulldog Forum Fish Forum Havanese Forum Maltese Forum
Cat Forum German Shepherd Forum Labradoodle Forum Yorkie Forum Hedgehog Forum
Chihuahua Forum Retriever Breeds Cichlid Forum Dart Frog Forum Mice Breeder Forum