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Thread: Opinions re: class expectations? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-17-2014 10:59 AM
wolfy dog Your instructor may be a good agility competitor but that doesn't make her a good teacher necessarily. Sounds like she needs to work on her class management and not enroll everyone just because they want to.
01-16-2014 09:20 PM
gsdrex Well, now I feel really stupid.... I just checked the website and clearly we have not met the objectives described for each 6-week session! E.g. We should have started on weaves and the teeter during weeks 6 to 12 - and have not started going into week 20....

I also see from the posted calendar that she teaches 7 hours of agility classes every Saturday - with 3 classes devoted to puppies.

The instructor did say many weeks ago that she's not hung up on class levels (neither was I), but rather tailors classes according to returning dogs' progress/needs. So, I will definitely question why every new session for us has included new younger dogs that get most of her time - and why the dogs on my side of the room are way behind given the time we have been at it.

I don't feel comfortable posting the website - at least before giving the instructor the opportunity to respond to my concerns this Saturday. However, MaggieRoseLee, I will send you a PM .

Thanks - and good luck to me this Sat!
01-16-2014 08:59 AM
MaggieRoseLee gsdrex, is there a website for the classes/instructor? Can you post the link so we can see what's going on?

01-16-2014 03:09 AM
Chicagocanine In the classes I took at an agility club, they had 2 sides of a big room running, but it was separated by size, so they could work dogs on the correct sized equipment and not have to keep changing heights. So smaller dogs on one side, larger dogs on the other. It was a larger class, but this was intermediate, not beginners. They also had more than one instructor though.
01-14-2014 08:17 AM
MaggieRoseLee Sounds like too many dogs/handlers for one instructor. The equipment ends up being the easy part of agility. I'm still in classes for over 15 years because of the human HANDLING I need to do, and I don't know what I don't know so I need a teacher.

Are there other classes/teachers available? Have you spoken to the instructor about your concerns? Maybe you are in the 'fun' side of the room and the people who want to trial on the other so she just lets you all play ????

My classes are usually not more than 6 dogs/handlers either so think you can do better..

Good luck!
01-13-2014 04:18 PM
Originally Posted by TwoBigEars View Post
Does your instructor have a reputation for being a great instructor, or a great handler? A great handler isn't always a great instructor.
This is so, so true. One of my very best obedience teachers never put anything higher than a CDX on any of her own dogs -- but she was (and is) a brilliant observer of dogs and people, and could always pinpoint exactly where an exercise was going awry and what needed to be done to fix it.

Meanwhile I've had instructors who were absolutely brilliant at running their own dogs but were, for one reason or another, not good teachers. It's just a completely different skillset.

Anyway, I think that it's crucial to get a lot of feedback and personalized guidance especially when you're new to something. Proper foundations are so important in any sport. I'm just starting to take classes in agility and it's a big class, because it's a very popular sport around here and lots of people enroll in the beginner levels, but our instructors have compensated for that by having two instructors teaching the big (12-person) classes and making sure that each student gets one-on-one attention the first time we go through a new exercise (then you get to practice it on your own, especially if you have prior experience in other areas and can figure it out from there).

If you're not learning what you want to learn, I'd say it's time to look at a different school with another instructor. You don't have to enroll -- any good class should be willing to let you just sit in for a session -- but IMO what you're describing is more than reason enough to start looking at alternatives. I wouldn't be happy in that situation either.
01-12-2014 10:19 PM
wolfy dog She is teaching two groups at the same time? That is impossible to be effective. I would talk to her and tell her your concerns. I had max. 6 students in one group and it was the max. amount of people and dogs to be effective.
01-12-2014 09:46 PM
gsdrex Thanks for all the feedback.

The instructor knows her stuff, but just tends to spend most of her time on the other side - where there is a high turnover of younger dogs. (don't know if these young dogs get assigned to other classes or owners give up.)

My half of the room hasn't started anything for weaves yet in the 5 months. We have been doing stationary contact work all this time, but haven't yet crossed a walk, frame or teeter. (Gotta say I'm soooo bored with that standing contact exercise, especially as we can, and do, work on it at home.).

The other owner on my half of the room just approached me this weekend to say she doesn't think we're getting our money's worth. Not sure if the school just hasn't had enough students for 2 separate classes? I'm thinking about suggesting that the school put us on a waiting list until it can offer a class where we can get more attention (if it's possible) - and explain that I just don't think it's fair to have the instructor ask newbie students how their runs went...
01-12-2014 08:09 PM
TwoBigEars I take no more than six students per class. Typically I have one dog working at a time, but occasionally have two or three dogs working stations so they can get more obstacle time. It is important to observe each student and help with any issues they have.

I don't have an issue with running multiple students at one time, as long as the instructor is able to give attention to each student. I do think more time should be spent with only one student running though, to maximize the individual attention and benefit all the students from watching each other.

Does your instructor have a reputation for being a great instructor, or a great handler? A great handler isn't always a great instructor.

20 weeks (so about 5 months?) isn't really that much time in agility training. It typically takes about a year of regular training to be ready for trials at the novice levels. Have you done any work on the contacts and weaves? Or are you working them but not sequencing them yet?
01-12-2014 04:47 PM
JakodaCD OA welllll, everyone has a different way of teaching but

When I taught beginner agility, it was a low number of students per class in order to have that more one on one , I wanted to make sure the students got a good workout and good feedback from me , because THAT is what they pay for!

I've taken alot of classes, and yes, it can be chaotic at times, again BUT, I've never had a trainer go back and forth and teach two classes at the same time.

When you pay for a class, you should expect , advice, suggestions, critiquing(sp)/etc ..Your trainer should be focusing on YOU as your doing your sequencing.

I don't know where your training, what area (you don't have to say), but you should be getting more individual instruction when your working your dog.

Again, its what you pay for..Any other places in your area you can check out?
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