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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Everyone!

Well we did it. :) After graduating level 1 obedience last week and playing 20 questions with the instructors. We decided to go ahead and sign up for the Intro to agility! I am pretty excited about it, and can't wait to start. It starts in a two weeks. If anyone has any advice for a newbie to agility it would be appreciated! :D
 

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Just be ready for alot of fun! Normally you start on leash. Practice sit, stay, and come. Practice on both sides of your dog (work from the right side will feel awkward at first.) Keep commands simple (one word) ex: jump (for regular jump), tire (for tire jump), weave (for weave poles) etc. Another good command to practice at home is "here" when you want your dog to come to your side. Practice on both sides. A good release word is ok (not go). The reason being is that if you ever decide to compete often the judge uses the word go to tell you to release your dog. You can pm me anytime with questions. I do not compete (would love to but I work too many hours). I have 2 dogs who do agility I take lessons 2 times a week. I'm hoping to start my maltese in teacup agility soon. (We have to get though basic obedience first.)
 

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Be patient!! It can become frustrating very fast, so be prepared to fail. Also, bring his/her favorite toys as well as treats. Some obstacles (like the tunnel) were easier for me to train with a ball or tug than with treats. Also if water is not provided - bring some; for you and the dog.
 

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I am sure you will have lots of fun doing Agility. Susie, my Bernese cross was the first dog I tried in Agility and she learned really fast and just loves to do it. Last year I started Remmy, my Shih Tzu cross, after putting him through an obedience class first, and he is doing really well. I hope to compete with him later in the summer when he is 18 months old. My sister and I made our own Agility equipment for Remmy and her dog Mikey (also a Shih Tzu cross) so we could practice at home. We did buy some weave poles, but made the jumps, dog walk and teeter. Our tunnel is a roll of wire covered with material so it can be used as a tunnel and chute. It isn't big enough for Susie but she practices at our Agility class. We should be starting classes soon if it will only warm up. It has been 30 degrees below zero (minus 25 farenheit) the past few days, only warming up to 20 C below during the day. Our equipment at home is buried under two feet of snow so have to wait for that to melt!!
 

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Also, in the intro to Agility, you may not work much on the equipment. Alot will be just introducing the dog to some of the equipment. The biggest thing to work on is Focus. Work with your dog on both sides. Also work with some targeting as well. Take a plastic lid from a soda cup or yogurt lid and do some targeting. You can also do some warmups like running/walking with your dog along side you, then you turn and have your dog turn towards you and go the opposite direction. This will help with working the dog on both sides. You go one direction with the dog on the left, then you do an about turn and have the dog do the same, turning in towards you, then the dog will be on your right and go the other direction. Just go back and forth. Once you get this down, then you can do the same but have the dog turn away from you when you change directions.
 

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You will have lots of fun, but a warning! Agility is highly addictive and can give quite an adrenilin rush when you finally run your first trial. I have been doing it for 2 years and have only been to 3 trials, but my dog and I are having a blast.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone for all the great pointers and advice!!

I am pretty excited to get started and see how we both like it. I will try and keep you all updated as it goes. I hope we do well and most importantly have fun. :D
 

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Also in Agility class, if you ever hear the term 'Flat Work', this is the going back and forth with your dog like I talked about in my previous post. Switching directions by having the dog either turn towards you or away from you, going back and forth. You can even change the distances you walk as well, this way the dog starts focusing more on you, as he doesn't know when you are going to turn, and he needs to be ready. And you can change speeds as well, walk a little, jog a little, walk again, then run, then walk, then stop and sit, then run, then walk, etc. Lots of fun, but really tiring for you, lol. It's great exercise for both you and the dog.

but a warning! Agility is highly addictive
I couldn't agree more, lol. ;)
 

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Also in Agility class, if you ever hear the term 'Flat Work', this is the going back and forth with your dog like I talked about in my previous post. Switching directions by having the dog either turn towards you or away from you, going back and forth. You can even change the distances you walk as well, this way the dog starts focusing more on you, as he doesn't know when you are going to turn, and he needs to be ready. And you can change speeds as well, walk a little, jog a little, walk again, then run, then walk, then stop and sit, then run, then walk, etc. Lots of fun, but really tiring for you, lol. It's great exercise for both you and the dog.



I couldn't agree more, lol. ;)
Thanks Lonewolfblue! I have been keeping up on your thread about your classes!
 
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