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Silly question. I apologize ahead of time.

I have been meaning to start agility with Gypsy for a long time. I have no doubt that she'd LOVE it and be pretty darn good. Plus, we have some active dog clubs in our area. It would be easy enough to get involved.

My concern is related to her manners. Loose-leash training is the one thing we've never mastered with her. She doesn't pull anymore on normal walks, though she'll often walk at the very end of the leash. In new places or high disraction environments (like, I imagine, the agility facility), however, she's pretty jerky. I'll use the halti or the prong to help remind her to not pull, and that helps a lot.

Will it be a problem in agility classes to have a dog that's not 100% chill on leash? I'm kinda ashamed that I can't iron out these issues. Also, are people going to judge me? LOL.
 

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It depends. No one expects a dog to behave perfectly especially at first. But your dog can't be a problem with the other dogs. It's pretty expected that people keep their dog in control enough that they don't get in another dog's face or something like that.

Our first round of foundations is mostly on leash. But you can't really progress until your dog works well off leash in that environment. Most of agility will be done off leash. It's kennel or they're working.

What about doing a refresher obedience or basic training class first with a good trainer and then moving on to a pre-agility.
 

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NO! If anyone judges you for that, walk away from that training facility and find another.

Look, the best agility dogs are drivey. If their owners have worked hard at manners, then they might have managed to convince the dog that it's desirable to suppress some of their urges some of the time. Or that suppression of one urge will satisfy another (which is how most training really works). But the dog should still have the urge, even if they don't act on it.

Kit's manners are terrible, I'll be the first to admit. If I let her, she greets people extremely enthusiastically, usually jumping all over them trying to give kisses. Leash manners, well, she knows where the end of the leash is, but that's about all I can say. Even at trials, she runs out of the ring (on leash) at full speed with me trying to keep up. Her philosophy in life is to spend as little time as possible with 4 feet on the floor. Frankly, I don't care, and I'm certainly not going to spend a lot of effort trying to get her to suppress the drive that I love so much. In fact, I hope she never acts her age. As long as you manage the dog so that their manners (or lack thereof) don't interfere with other people/dogs, I don't see the big deal. If a snooty individual takes issue with it (yes, that's happened to me), make a mental note to keep your distance in the future.

ETA: Laurelin brings up some good points. How's Gypsy around other dogs? What about off leash - can she stay with you? Does she want to work, or does she bolt when you unclip the leash? Leash manners won't help you much in agility, but if there are other issues, you might consider one or more other classes first.
 

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Thank you guys so much for the replies!

It's pretty expected that people keep their dog in control enough that they don't get in another dog's face or something like that.
ETA: Laurelin brings up some good points. How's Gypsy around other dogs? What about off leash - can she stay with you? Does she want to work, or does she bolt when you unclip the leash? Leash manners won't help you much in agility, but if there are other issues, you might consider one or more other classes first.
She is excellent with other dogs. She'll greet cheerfully and move on. Not interested in playing usually, but she's tolerant of rascally behavior so long as she's not cornered. It's their people she's interested in. People get a crazed wiggly butt greeting, often accompanied with whining. Heh. It's this that causes her to pull on leash. The pulling is never fearful, aggressive, or reactive. It's usually a result of her really, really wanting to investigate something novel or say HI.

Off-leash, she's a dream. I laugh 'cause she stays closer to me off-leash than on. Now, I imagine she'd want to nose around a new environment for a few minutes, but then she'd be back to me. If I'm carrying a tennis ball, I doubt she'd even explore before minding. She has never and would never bolt off.

Her recall is solid as well as her basic obedience (sit, down, wait, etc.). Again, it might not be perfect in a new environment. But if I give her a minute and reward, it shouldn't be bad.

I doubt motivating her will be too much of a problem. She LOVES jumping over barriers I set up in our backyard as well as through hoops. We also play on playgrounds in the park (off leash when no one's there). What kind of "reward" are we allowed to use? Only treats? Or could I bring a tennis ball?

Honestly, her ONLY issue is tugging on leash. She doesn't bark, isn't aggressive, won't run off. I've put in so much work with her. I just can't harness her eagerness to master loose leash walking. It's shameful, heh.
 

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Thank you guys so much for the replies!





She is excellent with other dogs. She'll greet cheerfully and move on. Not interested in playing usually, but she's tolerant of rascally behavior so long as she's not cornered. It's their people she's interested in. People get a crazed wiggly butt greeting, often accompanied with whining. Heh. It's this that causes her to pull on leash. The pulling is never fearful, aggressive, or reactive. It's usually a result of her really, really wanting to investigate something novel or say HI.

Off-leash, she's a dream. I laugh 'cause she stays closer to me off-leash than on. Now, I imagine she'd want to nose around a new environment for a few minutes, but then she'd be back to me. If I'm carrying a tennis ball, I doubt she'd even explore before minding. She has never and would never bolt off.

Her recall is solid as well as her basic obedience (sit, down, wait, etc.). Again, it might not be perfect in a new environment. But if I give her a minute and reward, it shouldn't be bad.

I doubt motivating her will be too much of a problem. She LOVES jumping over barriers I set up in our backyard as well as through hoops. We also play on playgrounds in the park (off leash when no one's there). What kind of "reward" are we allowed to use? Only treats? Or could I bring a tennis ball?

Honestly, her ONLY issue is tugging on leash. She doesn't bark, isn't aggressive, won't run off. I've put in so much work with her. I just can't harness her eagerness to master loose leash walking. It's shameful, heh.
Sounds like you're ready for beginning agility classes. Watch out - it's highly addictive!

As far as rewards, most trainers will want you to use whatever works for your dog. I often go with food, because Kit gets over-amped when I use toys. A ball or tug-toy should be fine. Possibly for early training, the trainer might prefer that you use food. Toys/treats are generally not allowed in the ring at trials, but you're a long ways from that stage.
 
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