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Kelly123

Agility...

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Hiya everyone. Ollie started agility at a class arould a month ago, but im just wondering if i should keep taking him there, or get the equipment muself and do it at home? We go every sunday morning but its just like im paying to use the equipment, and then have to wait my turn. In 1 1/2 hours he gets to try a course once. I cannot try another club as this is the only one even close to where i live... its an hours drive away. I feel like i might be better off building my own stuff and then saving to buy properly, to give him more of a run at it. The trainers there are quite good, but havnt really taught him anything. he knew jump and tunnel commands before we even started going.

 

I have quite a large garden so he could have quite a good course set up, and also if i make them portable we can go to the park with it. Im not too bothered about competing...

 

Sorry this is a bit long winded. all i really wanted to know was...." should i stay or should i go?" (youve seen the vid right? ) :rolleyes:

 

Also anyone got any pics of there homemade equipment?

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First off-

 

When I go to agility lessons, I ask the instructor to run through the course a few more times, to make sure she understands it. That usually takes about 20 minutes, and I get some more tips on my handling skills.

 

Second- are you planning on competing, or anything like that? If you are, stick out the lessons, or see if you can finagle your way into some good private lessons. If not, you can make your own agility equipment. I would buy a tunnel, a good chute, and a whole lot of patience. It can be quite a chore to make agility equipment.

 

http://bctgb.proboards31.com/index.cgi?boa...read=1153820687

 

I'll see if I can take some pics of my equipment soon.

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The trainers there are quite good, but havnt really taught him anything. he knew jump and tunnel commands before we even started going.

 

I can't comment on the quality of your instructors, but you sound new to agility. If that is the case, then yes, I think you should stick with class for now. Class is important because it gives you the chance to work with Ollie under lots of distractions. And it allows you to begin to learn how to be a good handler and competent trainer. If Ollie is your first agility dog, you are bound to make all kinds of mistakes with him. That is just the way it is for any first dog. Good instructors will help you keep those mistakes to a minimum. I would never recommend that someone try to teach themselves how to be a good agility trainer, not to mention adequate handler on their own. Agility is a whole lot more than the dog simply doing obstacles, as I imagine you know.

 

It is a very good idea to have some equipment at home so you can practice between classes. At minimum, I'd want a few jumps and a set of weaves. I started with 4 home made jumps, home made weaves (which I would not use with a BC -- I had Shelties back then) and a seriously cheap tunnel (that again would not work for a BC). As time went on, I added more obstacles and upgraded the weaves and tunnel.

 

So my short answer is "stay." :rolleyes:

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Even if you are not getting to run lots of times I'm sure you would still get to watch others, which can be very valuable. :rolleyes:

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There is a lot more to agility than the dog just learning the obstacle commands!!! It's like a dance with your dog. Home equipment is helpful, but if you have an energetic dog you will need quality made equip!!!

Find out what level competition your instructors are at and what their philosophy of training is. Group classes are helpful, but you probably won't learn everything you need to start competing without some handling sessions. Get a subscription to a good agility magazine. Read up on the rules of each clubs' style agility.The internet is good resource for that! So are email groups. Make sure your dog has solid stay, down and come responses! Teach them not to jump off of the contact obstacles before you want them too. If you start running full courses before you are communicating as a team you will develop bad habits that are hard to fix. Good luck! Have fun!

Been there, made mistakes....

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I am starting my 3rd dog in agility and still depend on class to lay my foundations, learn whats new training, trouble shoot any problems, or just brainstorm training methods I am considering for the future. I have several jumps, a tunnel, teeter and ramp for training Dogwalk contacts. Even if you are not new to agility class provides alot of other benefits other than just teaching equipment. If you are getting frustrated with the class situation speak with your instructor, or other classmates see if you can do privates or semi privates

 

My vote: STAY

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I have only done some agility strictly for recreational purposes but I think that a class with a qualified instructor is well worth the effort and expense.

 

My primary reason for this is that a good instructor will teach you safe training techniques - even though a good instructor will teach you how to do a good job with your dog, it is a teaching of how to do agility safely that I think is the most important aspect of instruction.

 

Secondary to safe training, is teaching you productive training techniques, or how to do agility competently. I hope I'm not confusing the issue but I have seen excellent instructors at work and incompetent ones, and there is a world of difference in both the safety aspect as well as just the training techniques.

 

What does concern me is that, after only one month in your class, you are doing courses and doing them once. The classes I have taken (all taught weekly by volunteers) start with basics and build on obedience skills, how to deal with a single obstacle and then two and then three, etc., in a row, and don't do any form of course until a good foundation is laid down.

 

In our classes, the instructor demonstrates and then each student/dog team tries the exercise, sometimes multiple times. They must be successful at each exercise (not perfect, just successful) before moving on to the next one so that they are building on a firm foundation. Perhaps I am not understanding what you are doing in class, and I must say that my own experience is limited to a pretty low level of competence.

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