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Old 10-03-2014, 10:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Starting Beginner's Agility!!

So I will be starting our first agility class on 29 Oct! I am super excited about it.

Can you tell me what to expect for a beginner? Something maybe I could or should work on in the mean time. They are using clickers too I think.. which was interesting to me, but I haven't every really used a clicker so maybe it's the best for the training?

Also, one more question.. kinda based off this thread..

How to get over MY own anxiety..

Like it says.. we have done A LOT of work and I have built up a lot of my confidence back and I am much much better in regards to bringing him out and about now (as far as my anxiety).. For reference.. our last excurtion was..

Fireworks, crowds, and Titan

..and so I guess I am wondering if there is anything I should expect or be prepared for while there. Like I stated int hose threads (if you read them) This is a ME issue, not a him issue.. one incident kinda scarred me and I have been workingon building that confidence back up.

He is really good in training mode as far as paying attention to me.. During training are there going to be a lot of off leash times or is it really when they are going through the obstacles? I have never even seen an agility competition so I'm going into this rather blindly.

Sorry if my question doesn't come through correctly. I can try to explain better if that's the case.

Any advice or knowledge in general would be awesome Thanks guys!
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Oh and what is a grab tab and where can I get it... Lol.
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good luck! I love agility (compete with my BC and teach classes) and love seeing more people getting into the sport.

Only a few things I can suggest working on prior to class- work on Titan keeping focus with you while you turn and working on both sides. You can do "front crosses" on "the flat" which is just having food in both hands, luring him on your left, then turning into him (to turn the opposite direction) and switching to your right hand then luring with him on your right. Then you can fade the lure a little bit and reward for moments of brilliance (like reading the switch and keeping up with you, keeping with you for longer periods, etc.) while you practice.

You can also get a yogurt lid and sit it on the floor (even in your house, or outside) and put a treat on it, tell him to "go" - this is a great targeting exercise to teach dogs to target away from you and drive forward (which will be over obstacles eventually).

If you have access to a tippy/wobble board, use that too.

Most novice/beginner/intro classes are done on leash until you start sequencing, unless the dog is very proficient and focused off lead, or they have a ring that they can excuse other dogs from while you're working. My intro students don't come off lead until the last class (out of 6 weeks) IF they do at all - many aren't ready for that yet. If yours is, it will be easier for you to move with him and better for proofing training, as well.

High in Trial Canine Equipment makes nice 12" paracord tabs for $11 - I'd check them out!

https://www.facebook.com/HITK9/photos_stream

Can't wait to see updates!
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Only a few things I can suggest working on prior to class- work on Titan keeping focus with you while you turn and working on both sides. You can do "front crosses" on "the flat" which is just having food in both hands, luring him on your left, then turning into him (to turn the opposite direction) and switching to your right hand then luring with him on your right. Then you can fade the lure a little bit and reward for moments of brilliance (like reading the switch and keeping up with you, keeping with you for longer periods, etc.) while you practice.

You can also get a yogurt lid and sit it on the floor (even in your house, or outside) and put a treat on it, tell him to "go" - this is a great targeting exercise to teach dogs to target away from you and drive forward (which will be over obstacles eventually).

If you have access to a tippy/wobble board, use that too.
Thank you for the suggestions... But excuse the ignorance.. Can you explain the first luring exercise in Whitney style? AKA barney style, lol.. I think I have an idea of what you are suggesting but I dont' want to do it wrong and mess him up.

We have done the targetting a handful of time a WHILE ago but I remember it! To my advantage I have made Titan get up on random things and walk on odd surfaces for fun in the past and he does well. We also were able to "play" with agility exuipment the last 2 weeks in Beg OB because our class was pretty advanced for Beg OB. If I recal (like a few years ago) he did well on the obstacles. I dont think there was one he didn't complete.
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I started Agility this year with my Lacy. Holy Crap. It's a lot harder than I thought, not for my dog - but for me!

Trust your instructor. Trust your dog. Keep it fun. Don't get all worked up when your dog runs the course in it's head and not the one you are supposed to be running.

Don't get all worked up when you go hauling around the course and your dog is standing after a jump looking at you like you are koo-koo for coca puffs.

Don't get all worked up when you forget your timing, or the names of equipment, or the sequence you've been asked to run.

Don't get all worked up when your dog stops in the middle of a near perfect run to go poop (BIG NO-NO with my instructor!).

Don't get all worked up when the treats you've been using suddenly loses their magic and your dog looks at you like you've grown a third eye when you say (in a sing song voice) "Over!"

Don't get all worked up when you find yourself talking to you dog in a sing song voice 24/7.

What gave me an edge in the beginning was I did a lot of fun work with my dog before I even considered agility. I had him 'load' on feed sacks at the feed store. I had him 'touch' bowls on the floor. I had him 'wait' on benches. I taught him 'quiet' in the deer stand. I had him 'over' pvc poles used for jumps for the horses. I had him 'look' for treats. I had him 'through' my legs. I also have a large air duct (from work) that I utilized for play, so the tunnel wasn't even new it him. The only thing I had trouble with was going through the hoop - because he'd never been introduced to one. I had to teach him to jump through it. Every other piece of equipment he did without hesitation.
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilie View Post
I started Agility this year with my Lacy. Holy Crap. It's a lot harder than I thought, not for my dog - but for me!

Trust your instructor. Trust your dog. Keep it fun. Don't get all worked up when your dog runs the course in it's head and not the one you are supposed to be running.

Don't get all worked up when you go hauling around the course and your dog is standing after a jump looking at you like you are koo-koo for coca puffs.

Don't get all worked up when you forget your timing, or the names of equipment, or the sequence you've been asked to run.

Don't get all worked up when your dog stops in the middle of a near perfect run to go poop (BIG NO-NO with my instructor!).

Don't get all worked up when the treats you've been using suddenly loses their magic and your dog looks at you like you've grown a third eye when you say (in a sing song voice) "Over!"

Don't get all worked up when you find yourself talking to you dog in a sing song voice 24/7.

What gave me an edge in the beginning was I did a lot of fun work with my dog before I even considered agility. I had him 'load' on feed sacks at the feed store. I had him 'touch' bowls on the floor. I had him 'wait' on benches. I taught him 'quiet' in the deer stand. I had him 'over' pvc poles used for jumps for the horses. I had him 'look' for treats. I had him 'through' my legs. I also have a large air duct (from work) that I utilized for play, so the tunnel wasn't even new it him. The only thing I had trouble with was going through the hoop - because he'd never been introduced to one. I had to teach him to jump through it. Every other piece of equipment he did without hesitation.
LOL I take it these may have been personal experiences??? Thank you for the advice. I will Def have to work on MY patience with this. I tend to be a perfectionist and when he doesn't do well, or out thinks me.. I tend to get worked up... have come a long way with controlling that though.. SAR teaches you loads of patience. haha.

Looks like I will be playing with him a bit before the course
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Old 10-03-2014, 01:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I would hold off on any obstacles if you can. You don't want to teach wrong or unsafe habits - the instructor will be able to show you how to do them properly down the line. In the beginning it's almost all foundations.

Here's the best "front cross on the flat" video I can find. I do it more flowy- just walking straight, turn around and go back the way I came after turning into the dog.

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Old 10-03-2014, 01:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks DJ! This is not exactly what I pictured so I am glad I asked! can you explain why this is important in Agility?
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Old 10-03-2014, 01:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyoung2153 View Post
LOL I take it these may have been personal experiences??? Thank you for the advice. I will Def have to work on MY patience with this. I tend to be a perfectionist and when he doesn't do well, or out thinks me.. I tend to get worked up... have come a long way with controlling that though.. SAR teaches you loads of patience. haha.

Looks like I will be playing with him a bit before the course
I am my dog's biggest enemy! You have to really put your trust in your instructor. Apparently, I was hovering over my dog. If you'd ask me I'd say, "No way!" and when my instructor called me out on it I thought she was nuts. But she continued to call me out ....again...and again...and again...finally she'd say "Straighten Up!" and the I'd realize I was in fact slouching over - I suppose in a sub conscious attempt to 'lure' my dog (even though at that point I can't use treats). What I was actually doing was shutting my dog down.

After that, if my instructor tells me to do the hokey pokey and turn myself around, I do it. 95% of the time, she's right.
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Old 10-03-2014, 01:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Start watching at 4:00 for front cross flatwork. Watch at 4:50 for rear cross flatwork.

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