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Does anyone here know of any good agility trainers in the Warner Robins/Macon area? We are complete novices. Also how much obedience training should we have before looking into this sport? We live in Perry and I am hoping to find something within an hour of here! I

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I'm not sure about trainers in your area but I must say that general obedience is a good start as well as a good recall. Also, make sure your dog is comfortable working on both sides of you. Best of luck!

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I'm not sure about trainers in your area but I must say that general obedience is a good start as well as a good recall. Also, make sure your dog is comfortable working on both sides of you. Best of luck!

 

Do you think I should wait until we are advanced in obedience or just have basics down?

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You don't need advanced obedience. Sit, down, stay, recall, being able to work around distractions are really all it takes. If you want to work on other things then paw and nose targets are useful.

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I'm not sure about trainers in your area but I must say that general obedience is a good start as well as a good recall. Also, make sure your dog is comfortable working on both sides of you. Best of luck!

And thank you for taking the time to reply :) I REALLY appreciate it!!!

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You don't need advanced obedience. Sit, down, stay, recall, being able to work around distractions are really all it takes. If you want to work on other things then paw and nose targets are useful.

 

Thanks! We will practice these things in the mean time while we look for a trainer :) Each dog has his strengths and weaknesses in every area lol.... We already work on all of them consistently already, but Maybe I can work on distractions more. I have one dog that just has terrible recall, it's incredibly frustrating! I was hoping that agility might be fun for him and increase his motivation to work. He loves when we do trick training and run while we do all sorts of commands but when just doing commands in day to day life he doesn't want to bother. The other dog has near perfect recall (darn squirrels) but is not as proficient/has less understanding and practice with commands (he only recently began learning any because he was a adult stray). I just wanted to see if I needed to spend our time and money on obedience before looking for agility or if their basic skills would suffice. Thank you so much for the input!

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You don't need advanced obedience. Sit, down, stay, recall, being able to work around distractions are really all it takes. If you want to work on other things then paw and nose targets are useful.

 

Thanks! We will practice these things in the mean time while we look for a trainer :) Each dog has his strengths and weaknesses in every area lol.... We already work on all of them consistently already, but Maybe I can work on distractions more. I have one dog that just has terrible recall, it's incredibly frustrating! I was hoping that agility might be fun for him and increase his motivation to work. He loves when we do trick training and run while we do all sorts of commands but when just doing commands in day to day life he doesn't want to bother. The other dog has near perfect recall (darn squirrels) but is not as proficient/has less understanding and practice with commands (he only recently began learning any because he was a adult stray). I just wanted to see if I needed to spend our time and money on obedience before looking for agility or if their basic skills would suffice. Thank you so much for the input!

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Googility.com lists facilities that offer agility, by location. There seem to be bunches in the Atlanta and one or 2 near you.

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gonetotervs thank you!!!!! None of these come up when I just googled agility, this is really helpful. A couple are almost only an hour away :) thanks for heading me in the right direction. I am not near party of two sadly, they are more than two hours away. We have a great obedience trainer here only 20 min away so if I can't find anything about an hour or less we will just keep working with her until we move within the next year and try again. It's funny because there is a popular venue nearby for agility competitions but not much for trainers. I keep meaning to pop by one of the events to see if they have some info.

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. It's funny because there is a popular venue nearby for agility competitions but not much for trainers. I keep meaning to pop by one of the events to see if they have some info.

That is a very good idea. That is how I found the first agility trainer I used in this area - go to a trial and ask local people who they train with.

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Huge agility trials in Perry, this (as in ended today) weekend and on a fairly regular basis......good way to locate trainers in your area

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I wouldn't say don't do advanced obedience, because any training will help your communication with your dog. I wouldn't do formal competition obedience unless you are working on your other side at home. My dogs both went through advanced obedience classes and Lily is doing great in agility. Lyka can do agility but has no attention span, again not anything to do with her obedience training.

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Cass C I'm having attention span issues with my young bc. He is fine the first half of class, but the second half? Forget it. Have you found anything useful to get attention back? I feel like I've tried it all with no avail.

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Honestly it's been a battle, but the book 'when pigs fly' has been a great help. I don't know the author off the top of my head, but can look it up if you need me to. The main thing is take control of all chances at treats and toys. If the dog isn't interacting with you then there are no treats or toys to play with.

 

I've also been using the 'take a break' game to allow her to choose to interact with me again. The basic premis is to have your dog on a leash or in a confined boring place and then do something easy with your dog like putting them in a sit and then release them and say 'take a break'. Let them do whatever they want for as long as they want and just completely ignore them. The second he dog even looks at you start dishing 10 or so out super high value treats. Then just say take a break and disengage with your dog. Again don't say or do anything to get your dogs attention back just wait when they pay attention to you again repeat above steps. Only do this about 5 times before you stop the game and remove the chance for treats. You can wait a couple hours and then come back to it if you want.

 

Just a warning the first time I did this it took Lyka 20 minutes to choose to engage with me instead of sniffing the floor or wandering aimlessly. She's just started seeking me out to interact and possibly earn treats after 3 months of this training. However, Lyka is an extreme case of focus issues as even a butterfly across the yard is a major distraction.

 

I've determined that Lyka is never going to be the great sport dog I wanted, but she is a challenge of her own that has been great for me as a trainer.

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I don't know how you feel about online classes, but a new class just started through the Fenzi Academy called "Agility in the House", and the instructor - who is awesome - is giving us some gold nuggets as far as training you can do in your home that is great as Agility foundation, as well as maintenance for an already trained dog! It is very appropriate for a brand new dog and/or brand new handler.

 

Very little is needed in the way of equipment - a cone, or something similar, and a board or something. That's it.

 

I highly recommend it if you are inclined to do some fun foundation stuff at home.

 

As far as Obedience training, if you are going to do Agility, I do recommend at least working your heeling on both the left and right. Your instructor won't have you do this in class, but you can work it at home, or ask the instructor if you can alternate sides. I do that with Bandit in Rally class. Sometimes I just work whatever we are doing on the right side. The instructor knows why and she has no issue with it.

 

I am working with a dog in the class that I'm teaching who has only done Obedience and we are having the darndest time getting the dog to do anything on the right. We are starting off with some foot targeting where the dog comes up next to the handler on the right to start to teach him that the right side is a good place to be. He will eventually get it, but it is going to take a lot more work than it would have taken had he been worked on both sides, at least to some extent, from the beginning.

 

So, I would definitely recommend doing a goodly amount of work on the right (even if you work tricks on the right at home or something) in addition to what you do in Obedience class, especially if you are going on to Advanced work.

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When Pigs Fly is awesome. I wish the author had a more realistic understanding of how challenging Border Collies can be to train and compete with, but the techniques she presents in her book are superb!

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Wow thank you all so much!! This is so incredibly helpful. Also Wick our aussie is very difficult to engage so I am really excited to try those tools and read the books mentioned... I kinda figured he was a lost cause haha.

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The only one I can think of is Sirius agility, but they're about an hour away from you. Now, I drive that far for good training, so I don't think it's that bad, but not sure if you're up to that. Sirius puts on a lot of the big trials in Perry, too.

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Cass C thank you for the tips! I tried working with him outside where he doesn't keep his nose off the ground and when he realized he gets mega praise when he pays attention to me, his eyes lit up. I'm also going to try more desirable treats (maybe he's sick of steak). He loves playing with a drone, but i don't think it's appropriate for class haha! He also hates repetition which is where I really lose him. We will see how this goes. Thanks again Cass C!

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If repetition is the worst try and predict when he is getting bored and then say 'take a break' and disengage. Also a good rule of thumb is 10 repetitions and then switch it up and do something different for at least 10 repetitions before coming back to the original task. You can even do something 10 times and then take a 1 minutes play/cuddle/attention break.

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My agility instructor actually builds 'play breaks' into lessons to give the dog a mental rest, at least with MY dog who goes too long, stresses out and shuts down. What she does in that break varies from sniffing around to zoomies to actually playing or cuddling, but it's a definite 'do not work' zone for a minute or two.


I don't think we EVER work on the same thing for longer than maybe 5 minutes, at home or in agility classes/lessons.

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