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Hi,

I'm new to the forum so let me introduce myself. I currently own 4 dogs, a 10 yr old goldie mix, two 10 month old mini schnauzers (same litter) and a 12 week old mini schnauzer. I am new to owning schnauzers but have been a dog owner my whole life (childhood into adulthood). I guess you can say schnauzers are addicting for me.

What I want to know is: If you do agility training with your dog, how did you get started? What advice can you give about basics, what commands must the dog know as a foundation before even starting to attempt obstacles. What is the first obstacle that is taught to a dog new to agility. Do you know any good reading material? And any other advice that I am not knowledgeable enough to ask about.

I want to start working with my 10 month old female mini schnauzer. She has been through basic puppy training course and knows (sit, down, come, stay, heel, move) We were going to an advanced training course (heel with no leash, away, back) but were forced to drop out due to her 1st heat cycle at 6 months. My vet wanted to wait to spay until at least 6 month because of teeth development. She is currently spayed. She is a fabulous jumper and I have seen her move like lightning and think that she would do very well with complex tasks. Also I think it would do well to focus her energy, right now her main goal in life is hunting down moles (1 kill) and trying to catch squirrels (0 kills) and with the squirrels its getting close. I've seen her practically run up the side of our big oak.

thnks
 

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Hi,

The best way to get started in agility is to take agility foundation classes and progress from there. Before starting classes if you have reliable recall, stays and have your capable of working in a heel position on your rightside and the leftside. Get into the habit of making sure you always reward (toy or food) from the same side your dog is on. The reason for this is because we don't want the dogs trying to cut across in front of our bodies when they think a reward is coming. Good way to trip and fall on your dog.
Teach your dog to walk along the rungs of a ladder laid on the ground, wobble boards or balance balls and teaching them to back up all teaches them where their feet are and body awareness.
Recalls to side, lead out away from your dog while they remain in a sit stay, look over your shoulder (right or left) and release with them coming to the side that you turned your head.
All focus, impulse and crate games are excellent exercises for future agility dogs. And teaching them to tug as long as you teach them with the rules and boundries of tugging.
Another rule that I have for my agility dogs (small breed) is they are never allowed to go behind for an Bum Pass because it is really easy to lose them on course :)

Check out these websites:

www.cleanrun.com
Agility Nerd

But finding an excellent trainer/school is the most important thing even if you don't want to compete. Go with a place that does compete and has students that compete to high levels. That why you will be getting the latest information and proven methods of training to ensure that you and your dog have success and no frustrations.

Good luck.
 
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