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I do not have any photo's but I do have a video of an agility event that I will post later.

I just have to say, even though we are not pursuing agility (we train for fun in this event at the moment) for titles at this point and time, we still try to head out to trials for the socialization aspect.

If they allow outside dogs, we are there.

It is a great place to meet people, dogs, get your dog use to the noise and work on having your dog focus on you in the middle of all the kaos.

Stark went to his first trial at around 14 weeks old and all we did was walk around, sit under the shade and watch all the happenings. Now at 13, almost 14 months old, we still do this when we can. Why? Because the environment is so rich and busy that it will wonders for not only the socialization aspect of your dogs life but also allow your dog to learn to look to you for guidance in these situations. Focus work can happen in the house or in the middle of this kaos! It may be shorter stints of time in the beginning, like a second or two - maybe, but you got the focus so you can build on it over time!

I always enjoy going to the trials and not only watching the dogs and handlers but also you learn so much from the people who are as dedicated to their dogs as you are, that and they usually have some awsome vendors at the events! ;)

Here is an indoor agility event I went too with Stark, it was an agility trial as well as a dog event called Puppy Pawlooza.

Stark was 15(?) weeks old I believe.

Here are the photo's and I will upload a video later today.









They also had a course set up just on the other side of the vendors, but the main course was inside (video).
 

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Lakoda will get to visit an Agitily Trial this weekend. She's 4 months old now. My trainer started a class for people that want to do more than the basics in puppy school, she's calling it a "performance" dog class. I've taken Lakoda to a few basic puppy classes mainly for the socialization part prior to it. This perfomance class is nice, about 7 of us that are more serious than the average person that goes to puppy classes. Had our second class last sunday. Once again it was hard to get Lakoda to focus on "me". Everything else is much more interesting. I can probably answer my own question....more training time outside of my livingroom. Maybe it's her age as well. When we are in my livingroom she is right on cue, even looking for something to make me click, recalls quickly, stays and anything else I ask. Outside its like she turns a deaf ear to me. It can be really fustrating.
 

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Exposure to EVERYTHING and YOU being MORE FUN than the things around her will help with focus too.

I always make focus work FUN because I want the dog to associate looking at me with "ooooh fun things happen when I pay attention! What will this crazy Momma do next? Will she ask me to join in?!"
 

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Michael Ellis has some great DVD's out there on engagement and training with food and toys. They are amazing!
 

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I would like to know what is a good age to get started? I know pups should not jump etc,Training club here starts a beginner class at 6 months, isn't that too young???

Opinions please...
 

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Discussion Starter #26
I would like to know what is a good age to get started? I know pups should not jump etc,Training club here starts a beginner class at 6 months, isn't that too young???

Opinions please...
I started puppy agility class when my puppy was only about 10 weeks old! So if the instructors are good and doing agility foundation work (not jumping full height or other things that could injure a puppy) you can easily start at 6 months.
 

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Ok, so my question is: I don't have an adult who is trialing right now, I'm training my first agility dog, so I'm nothing more than a spectator. Can I take my puppy to a trial (to walk around and socialize and practice focusing, etc..)? Which organizations allow this, or does it just depend on the trial? How do I find out if it is ok to bring her? There are not an awful lot of trials in this area so it is frustrating trying to find opportunities. And no group puppy classes worth attending. :(
 

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This was one of my biggest areas to socialize Madix. I worked on slightly different socialization though. He was not a very social, outgoing pup - it made him very uncomfortable which usually resulted in inappropriate behavior. So, instead of asking him to be "social", I brought him to VERY high traffic, intense areas like agility trials and asked him to focus on me. We worked on impulse control with a toy, basic obedience etc etc. He does quite well thus far. I have it to a point now where if I have a toy and I'm asking him to focus, a dog can even sniff him forcefully and he'll ignore (although I try to avoid those situations). I am people claustrophobic so I do my best to stay out of tight groups for myself, I am SURE he can sense that so it's been a very good test for us to practice.

One other arena that I think is MUCH more out of control is Flyball tournaments. The dogs usually don't have as much obedience put on them and over-drivey (what I think of as naughty) behavior is acceptable and occasionally encouraged. I haven't tried this venue with him yet but we're training for it so hopefully I'll be able to bring him soon....
 

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Discussion Starter #29 (Edited)
Ok, so my question is: I don't have an adult who is trialing right now, I'm training my first agility dog, so I'm nothing more than a spectator. Can I take my puppy to a trial (to walk around and socialize and practice focusing, etc..)? Which organizations allow this, or does it just depend on the trial? How do I find out if it is ok to bring her? There are not an awful lot of trials in this area so it is frustrating trying to find opportunities. And no group puppy classes worth attending. :(
Not sure how far in distance you've been looking for classes. I know I always try to find something close too, but am now currently traveling over an hour or my weekly classes. Fact is, for any type of training you and your pup will do much better if you can locate a good training facility with the equipment and instructors to help.

That said, ANY type of classes are good for socialization. So as long as they are positive based (treats/praise) for the younger pups, you may not have the best class with the best instructor but you WILL still have had a fabulous socialization opportunity with the car ride, class situation, other people, other pups, and some type of training atmosphere. Puppy classes are supposed to be set up to appear somewhat like madness, and while they seem to be chaos, they aren't supposed to be a rigid and controlled either.

I know for AKC trials, you aren't allowed to take unentered dogs to the trial site. That said, we all do. Either because we have older/younger dogs that aren't trialing and we can't leave them home alone all day. Or we are purposely taking a dog to get socialized and used to the trial environment. Many trials are in public parks with other people dogs wandering around anyways, so hard to figure who's who.

You can NOT have a prong collar on your pup at the trial site, so many of us have the gentle leader harnesses so we keep some type of control.

This was at an indoor agility trial


This is an outdoor trial with my older dogs PLUS the socialization of Glory B (around 2 minutes is the end of the trial)

 

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Thanks for the reply. She has finished an AKC STAR class, one agility private, been to a herding trial, watched herding lessons, goes to Home Depot, feed stores, festivals in the park, etc... but she needs more, more, more.

Winter just makes it really hard, as driving conditions are dangerous. Like you, I have 1 1/2 hour drive for obedience type classes. There are no puppy agility classes that I'm aware of. I'm on a waiting list for group agility classes (not puppy class) with a really great trainer, she's 2 hrs each way. Ugh... There is another agility trainer about 1 hr 15 mins away. I don't really get along with her and her classes are just drop-in style, but I think that may be the best bet for now, to have the new equipment and environment to work in.

Ok, I don't want to whine too much. ;) I'll have to try to sneak into a trial sometime soon. And see what I can work out for classes.

By the way, I LOVE your Glory B! I've watched some of your other youtube videos in the past. Your dogs are gorgeous. :wub:
 

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I just signed Jake up for a foundations class, we start Jan 15. I am soooooo nervous he is going to be a nut the first few times! I take him everywhere BUT I have a feeling the silly butthead stage will be front and center.
Anything I can do NOW??
 

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I just signed Jake up for a foundations class, we start Jan 15. I am soooooo nervous he is going to be a nut the first few times! I take him everywhere BUT I have a feeling the silly butthead stage will be front and center.
Anything I can do NOW??
LOVE and appreciate the silly butthead stage cause it's SO much better than a fearful or tentative dog! You'll just be learning (as he's maturing) to focus all that crazy in a good way!

If you watch my youtubes of Glory in her early class days... she totally leaves me to crash into the camera person to say hey.... and the instructor to say hey, and other dogs to say hey.... it's all fine when it's happy and fun and you can work to get your pup right back.

Getting a good start on clicker training is always a plus. Even just 'charging' the clicker and having our pups learn that when they hear the sound, the treat is coming!

Figuring out the best treats and getting them pea-sized for training (cheese/chicken/beef/hotdogs/whatever (NOT usually 'real' dog treats).

Weather in the winter does make going to classes and training more of a challenge. Hey, have you seen the videos on perch training? That you can do indoors and uses the clicker/treats/and getting our dogs to learn rear end awarenes...


 

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I use a clicker from time to time.....I am just so nervous but you are right he is going to want to say hello to everyone the first few times....and I guess the instructors expect this. I joined this class to do something fun with Jake...it was time for a break from OB classes. He has been in classes since 10 weeks old and he will be 10 months! And I also know it builds focus under distraction and a better bond. Jake is going to be a huge male so going really far in this venue won't be an option but I think we can have fun and I can enrich his life!
 

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Watch out with the saying "hey" part of agility. My Tim ran thru the tunnel all happy and stopped by to say "hey" to a sheltie who promptly went "cujo" and hung onto his ruff. Poor Tim fell over trying to get away. I had to grab Tim and haul him away as the sheltie was on a leash but the owner was too freaked to actually jerk his dog away. Proper socialization would be a good thing and if you have an attack sheltie, please stay away!!
 

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That is a wonderful video thanks Maggie! It is so amazing how relaxed, and calm thoes dogs are! You made a good point about how socialization is important!
I agree! And temperament and genetics! LOL Wonderful video!!!
 
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