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Agility at Home

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Hi, was wondering if anyone has experience teaching a little bit of agility at home with their border collie? 

There is only one woman in my area who does agility but she isn't doing it this year because of an injury. I don't have a large area to do agility in, but I could get a few things to start teaching Dallas myself, like weave poles and a little tunnel. Wasn't sure if this would be a good idea or bad idea? Or really a great way to go about it? 

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Are you new to agility? If so I would recommend an online class to get you going. Check out the Fenzi Academy, Amanda Shyne - Data Driven Agility to start with. Agility is a complex activity and having guidance makes a huge difference in the how much fun you will both have. I have been training agility for 10 years and I love online courses as I live in an area with lots of agility competitions but there are no great trainers so I rely on online coaches to keep me learning and improving.

 

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I am new and was wondering about maybe books or YouTube channels that would help, but that Fenzi Academy thing would be perfect! Thanks for that suggestion! I'm well excited for that. Do you have any suggestions on equipment I should purchase just to start off with? I'm on a budget, but was thinking tunnels made for kids might be good. There was someone in my area giving away weaving poles for agility on freecycle so was thinking about grabbing those as well. 

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To start off with, your best bang for your buck is going to be hoops and some cones.  They are easy to make, put no strain on the dog's body, and most  of early agility stuff isn't related to obstacles, it's just handling on the flat/going where you want them to go.  Your pup, if I remember, is pretty young.  So weaves and jumps and contacts I'd be holding off on.   Especially the weaves - those things are rough on a dog's body. 

 

And Yeah, absolutely seconding Fenzi or some kind of online instruction.  A lot of things aren't as intuitive as they might appear and there's a lot of safety stuff involved, too.  So it's easy to do things 'wrong' and end up with habits you have to undo, rather than just starting with a blank slate. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, dallasbc said:

I am new and was wondering about maybe books or YouTube channels that would help, but that Fenzi Academy thing would be perfect! Thanks for that suggestion! I'm well excited for that. Do you have any suggestions on equipment I should purchase just to start off with? I'm on a budget, but was thinking tunnels made for kids might be good. There was someone in my area giving away weaving poles for agility on freecycle so was thinking about grabbing those as well. 

Much better to take a class, agility if you have no experience is hard to learn from a book. I don't know of any reliable youtube channel to get you started, most of what you find are random clips of people training which will not provide you with a program to follow. If you want to learn more in general google agilitynerd he writes a good blog, it is not targeted at beginners but there is lots of good info. 

the most important thing to remember is that agility is a game and is always taught positively there are no corrections in agility physical or verbal. 

 

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4 hours ago, dallasbc said:

There was someone in my area giving away weaving poles for agility on freecycle so was thinking about grabbing those as well. 

Definitely grab them if you can. Even if you don't use them right away, you may want them later.

And you sure can't beat the price. ;)

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Thanks for the advice! Yeah, Dallas turns a year old next week. This is how beginner I am - totally just assumed weaves weren't hard on his body :rolleyes: that is so good to know. Thanks so much! I'm definitely investing in Fenzi Academy and getting some hoops and cones. That will be great to start off with. And of course, nabbing the free weaving poles ;) we'll work up to it when he's older.

Until the woman's injury is healed, I'll be checking out Fenzi Academy and the agilitynerd blog. I love that agility is about fun and positivity for the dog. That's something I really want to do with him. As it is, we do a lot of "find the food!" and "find the ball!" which is good, but I feel like he could use something that's a bit more high energy and also uses his brains. I've been looking forward to introducing him to agility since I brought him home, really! Oh I'm so excited. Thanks again for the advice!!

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Weaves are one of those things that SEEM like they should be easy - because hey, no jumping.  Unfortunately, not so much.  So no judgement from me in not knowing, just a heads up. 

Though at turning 1 he's getting close to old enough to start learning them. He'll definitely be there by the time you're ready to roll with them. 

 

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I am on my first agility dog, and did pretty much everything wrong - did not work on fundamentals and foundations etc.  We only compete in a trial perhaps 5 or 6 times a year, and only for fun.

If I was starting a new dog, I would certainly train fundamentals, using the Fenzi Academy or similar online course.

There are many "handling systems" out there, and you may find one suits you and your dog completely, or bits from various systems work for you.

My best advice is to go to agility trials, help out (lead steward etc) and see how other people do things, how are courses set up, how do people handle them, what do people do with their dogs before and after runs, how are their areas set up etc. If you are helping in the ring, ask questions of the judge while people are walking the ring, why do people do things that way. 

If you are a complete newbie to agility, and even if you only want to do things for fun, attending trials before you even think about setting foot in the ring and watching everyone is really important.

 

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With the free weaves, check what the distance between the poles is, currently I think all organizations are using 24" between each pole, you can find older sets of poles with a separation of as little as 18". As you can see by that video the bigger the gap the better. To train a dog to weave like the dog in the video involves some special techniques, it is not a matter of luring them through. If you can find a trail go chat to people, I never did that as they were all along away so just dove in. There is a book that might give you some ideas its called "Agility Right From The Start" its been out a few years now but I used it for the foundation work with my older dog and it gave him a good foundation. My young dog started with Sylvia Trkmans puppy class and then we took Shape Up Agility's foundation class, but I would not recommend it for someone who has not done the sport before or does not have the chance to work with a live trainer as it assumes knowledge. Slyvia Trkmans puppy class is also a good starting point.

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9 hours ago, diane allen said:

I believe Fenzi also has a course starting very soon (or maybe it has already started?) - with Amanda Nelson on Foundations.  Highly recommend it and her!

diane

Just started, but registration's still open - and I LOVE Amanda.  Both online and in person.

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I had no idea weaves could be so difficult! The free ones are old so I might leave those and just see if I can find some newer ones. 

I hadn't thought of going to trials to chat with people and see how they do it. Such a good idea! I love it. I watch videos on YouTube a lot from competitions, but being there would be so much better to actually get the full experience. I'll have a look to see when the next trials are near me.

I'll register for that class on Fenzi today! I thought registration had closed for some reason (just me being silly - don't know why I thought that) so I'm super happy to hear it hasn't. I'll look at DaisyPeel as well to see how it compares. 

Thanks guys! I love all this advice you've given me. I'm so excited to start agility with Dallas. I know he's going to love it... I know I will, too! I just love working with him. It's so much fun teaching him new tricks. Agility will be fantastic.

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I will concur that an online class where you submit video and receive feedback will probably be your best bet if you do not have any agility classes locally. When you are beginning, it is very important to receive feedback. Another suggestion is Agility University, which has a couple of foundation classes - MaxPup - starting next month (I think).

I wouldn't use a child's tunnel for canine agility. Maybe for puppies less than 4 months old, but I felt that my BC puppy would not have been safe in such a tunnel after 4-5 months of age. They can be quite hard on tunnels so you need a sturdy tunnel.  For beginning weave training (whenever that happens), you can buy 2 x 2s or regular stick-in-the-ground poles. They will get you started, but eventually, you will need a good set of weave poles.  Not sure if you are aware, but when CptJact says hoops, I think she is talking about the hoops obstacles used in NADAC agility. Hoops are not like hula-hoops. You can fairly easily make your own. Directions are on the NADAC website.

As others have said, there is A LOT of training that can be done on the flat. Usually call flatwork. I audited a pop-up seminar by Dudley Shumate (she regularly travels to and competes in Europe), and one question she asked us was  "What is the most important obstacle in agility?"  The answer: the ground!  The path between obstacles is often where one wins or loses a class.

Have fun on your agility journey!

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We are all signed up for the agility foundations class on Fenzi. Thanks everyone!

8 hours ago, gcv-border said:

I wouldn't use a child's tunnel for canine agility. Maybe for puppies less than 4 months old, but I felt that my BC puppy would not have been safe in such a tunnel after 4-5 months of age. They can be quite hard on tunnels so you need a sturdy tunnel.  For beginning weave training (whenever that happens), you can buy 2 x 2s or regular stick-in-the-ground poles. They will get you started, but eventually, you will need a good set of weave poles.  Not sure if you are aware, but when CptJact says hoops, I think she is talking about the hoops obstacles used in NADAC agility. Hoops are not like hula-hoops. You can fairly easily make your own. Directions are on the NADAC website.

As others have said, there is A LOT of training that can be done on the flat. Usually call flatwork. I audited a pop-up seminar by Dudley Shumate (she regularly travels to and competes in Europe), and one question she asked us was  "What is the most important obstacle in agility?"  The answer: the ground!  The path between obstacles is often where one wins or loses a class.

Thanks for the tip on the equipment! I did at first think that CptJack meant hula hoops, but after doing a search on Amazon and eBay I realised what she meant ^_^ I'll follow along these classes online and get equipment as recommended I think and just leave it at that. Hopefully the woman who does agility near us will be back at it again next year, but if not we'll do what we can with these online classes. Either way, I can't wait! 

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And then there's the barrel/weave method of teaching....not sure if Amanda covers that or not.  Interesting, used by Sharon Nelson (founder of NADAC), and while I haven't used it yet, seems like a great way to teach dogs to use their body correctly (and safely!).  Always amazes me to read of folks who literally BRAG that their dog breaks weave poles.  Oy!

diane

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29 minutes ago, diane allen said:

And then there's the barrel/weave method of teaching....not sure if Amanda covers that or not.  Interesting, used by Sharon Nelson (founder of NADAC), and while I haven't used it yet, seems like a great way to teach dogs to use their body correctly (and safely!).  Always amazes me to read of folks who literally BRAG that their dog breaks weave poles.  Oy!

diane

 

I have a friend like this - she's apparently just seeing power or something.  It horrifies the ever loving crap out of me.  Also, he doesn't weave.  Shoving the poles out of your way is not weaving, ffs.  It IS dangerous.

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Registration ends tomorrow I think it says? Just saw it and I think I might sign up as well. Does it matter if it's already started? 

On 7/26/2018 at 9:13 AM, CptJack said:

Just started, but registration's still open - and I LOVE Amanda.  Both online and in person.

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3 minutes ago, Baderpadordercollie said:

Registration ends tomorrow I think it says? Just saw it and I think I might sign up as well. Does it matter if it's already started? 

 

Nope, all the information will still be there for you!

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20 hours ago, CptJack said:

 

I have a friend like this - she's apparently just seeing power or something.  It horrifies the ever loving crap out of me.  Also, he doesn't weave.  Shoving the poles out of your way is not weaving, ffs.  It IS dangerous.

Aw bless, that does NOT sound good!! Definitely not something to brag about.

 

20 hours ago, diane allen said:

And then there's the barrel/weave method of teaching....not sure if Amanda covers that or not.  Interesting, used by Sharon Nelson (founder of NADAC), and while I haven't used it yet, seems like a great way to teach dogs to use their body correctly (and safely!).  Always amazes me to read of folks who literally BRAG that their dog breaks weave poles.  Oy!

diane

Excited to check this out! Thanks Diane!

 

3 hours ago, Baderpadordercollie said:

Cool! I just signed up. Doesn't look like I've missed much. I did the bronze level since I've never taken a class from FDSA before. Looking forward to it, Amanda sounds like a great instructor.

Eeek, excited you joined too! I think the first lesson is being posted tomorrow. I'm so excited.

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@Baderpadordercollie If you're a Facebook user, Fenzi almost ALWAYS has "Lurker" groups for their classes. You send a screenshot of your library (so they can see you're actually in the course) and then you get to hang out with all the other Bronze students. People usually post videos and you can work through it together, without instructor feedback. 

And make sure to join the Fenzi Alumni Group :) 

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