If you know you want to do dog agility but your pup is too young to start at the moment why not try coming along to my Thursday clicker training classes? Held at Holt village hall (see the page for the classes for location and details) these classes are designed to teach you and your dog foundation skills for any dog activity or discipline. Some of my students go on to do agility, one has gone on to gun dog work and one dog is a Canine Carer in an residential home for the elderly where her calm friendliness has made a huge and quite remarkable difference to the residents. Most dogs that attend simply do their very important job of providing company, a listening ear, cuddles and a really good excuse to get out of the house for a good walk! The focus skills your dog will develop and the training skills you learn in my classes and through the tasks I give you to try at home will stand you in good stead when you start dog agility.
My dog agility venue nr Wimborne, in Dorset is on a farm and so focus skills, the ability to recall and the desire to interact with you with a tuggy or a tug’n’treat toy even with other dogs or other distractions around are very important skills to have trained before agility training begins.
Dogs will work off lead. You and your dog will be trained to competition standard. All new handlers begin to compete at grade 1 where the courses are relatively simple and once you have reached that stage you may well very quickly find that you want more skills to try to work your way as far up the grades as you and your dog can go. The top being grade 7 or Championship level. With that in mind I do not teach what some clubs call ‘fun agility’. Everything the dogs will do in my classes will be fun, rewarding and positively reinforcing and everything is geared to your dog’s ability to progress in his or her potential future agility career should you wish to pursue it :
* Your dog will learn how to complete all the contact obstacles safely but also as fast and as accurately as we can teach them using methods that suit their conformation and personality
* Your dog will be encouraged to develop fundamental jumping skills like weight-shift, set point take off skills, compression and extension, judging distance and lead leg skills
* Your dog will develop proprioception skills through tricks and other behaviours. This will compliment the above two aspects of training
* Your dog will be taught a fully proofed out ‘wait’
* Your dog will be taught simple weave entries and the ability to weave without you having to use any hand support
* You will teach your dog verbal commands that you will use to negotiate agility obstacles
* You will be taught handling skills and an understanding of how dogs interpret our body language and how to use that on a course of obstacles
* You will be encouraged to go to the occasional local show prior to competing without your dog (they aren’t generally open to the public’s dogs) to see what dog agility actually looks like
* You will NOT be forced to compete but will be supported if you decide you would like to when the time comes that you and your dog are ready to try!
* You will be expected to practise set activities at home between lessons to build on what we do in the classes
Above all you will be developing a strong bond with your dog that only those who have worked a dog and really grown to understand them can appreciate.