Getting started

Discussion in 'Agility and Dog Sports' started by iwantmypup, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. iwantmypup

    iwantmypup New Member

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    Okay, so I have probably asked most of these questions, but different dog now.

    My mom wants me to play with Nicho more (2 yr-ish little poodle mix). He really likes fetch..um..I don't like fetch too much. Like, we play it, but i don't know..both of us have to get bored of it sometime!
    I want to introduce him to agility..
    Now, we wouldn't be like, competitive or anything, but just another fun way to get excersize (hoping that he'll like it.)

    But um..how do we start? We obviously need exquipment..but like what is good for starters? Any questions to ask me would be great, I don't know too much about all of this.

    PS..he likes to jump up the back (and off) the back of the couch...so he likes to jump. :p
     
  2. SisMorphine

    SisMorphine Your Mom

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    Truthfully I would forgo the equipment for now and take an agility class. That way you can get the foundation work underway and know how to do agility safely.

    There are LOADS of people who take agility classes just for fun, with no intention of competing. A friend of mine had her "Thursday Night Crew" which are all people who have been doing agility forever but just want to have fun with their dogs, not compete.

    So I would definitely go take a class or two at least so you can learn how to safely do agility with your pup and then go from there ;)
     
  3. AgilityKrazii

    AgilityKrazii Addicted to Agility

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    Classes are not nessary espically if you just want to do backyard agility and dont want to compete, sure they can be nice but they can be expensive.

    I suggest you go on cleanrun.com and get a book you like on starting agility or a book on flatwork because that is the best place to start, once your dog understands to run with you how to do a front and rear cross and go out you can start adding equipment jumps are really easy to make espically for a small dog you can stack up a few large books and put a broom stick over it and there you have it a jump!
     
  4. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I've got to go with SisMorphine on this one. Even if you don't want to compete, so many of the 'rules' used when training agility are for the dog's safety first and foremost. While it is fun to play in the backyard, I don't think it's worth it if you are putting the dog at risk. I've seen people post pictures of unsafe equipment, jumping un-conditioned dogs too high, etc. A round or two of classes with a good instructor goes a long way towards starting you and your dog on the right path, even if you aren't planning to do it seriously. Plus, your dog will have way more fun with it if you both have an idea of how to do it correctly. I see a lot of very frustrated dogs being handled by people who "just do it for fun" and therefore haven't taken the time to learn much. The people may be having a good time (although personally I can't imagine it), but the dogs are upset, frustrated, and doing things such as spinning, barking, biting, disconnecting and running around ignoring the handler, or just shutting down.

    It sounds like Nicho would really enjoy agility! Get a good start, and then see if you can resist training to compete;). I was just doing agility classes for a fun way to try and boost Meg's confidence, and we've seen how that worked out!
     
  5. DaVinci

    DaVinci New Member

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    I have to agree AgilityKrazii I think you can do stuff at home with out going to a class. Classes are expensive and if you don't have enouh instructures you might not get your moneys worth.

    A friend of mine gave me a big container that a lg tree came in we cut the bottom out of it and had a small tunnel. I had some cinder blocks laying around and I cut some small sapling trees and I had a few jumps. I also took a tree trunk and laid a board over it adn had a teeter. Granted it was only about 6in off the ground but last year DaVinci didn't care.

    This year I have upgraded to real equipment but I know that my dogs love to do this sport and we are competeing in our first open class in about 2 weeks.
     
  6. MafiaPrincess

    MafiaPrincess Obvious trollsare Obvious

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    I'd agree with Sis and BB.

    Agility classes like to push the safety factor. Cinder blocks to support anything is anything but safe. You can do stuff at home with no instruction. You can also hurt your dog.
     
  7. AgilityKrazii

    AgilityKrazii Addicted to Agility

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    You can learn the same stuff saftey wise from a good quality book found on clean run just like you would in a class for loads cheaper!
     
  8. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I'd argue that there is a HUGE difference between going off your interpretation of what you read, and having an experience professional watching you and helping. I come to agility from the horse world, where nobody in their right mind learns completely without help, because not only is the animal at risk but the person. In agility, where it is pretty much only your dog that can get hurt, people seem to slack on safely a lot.

    Some of the stuff I've seen from home-taught (or badly taught from a poor trainer) agility people breaks my heart. Not just dogs at risk of physical damage, but dogs who are clearly being upset emotionally by poor training, being pushed too fast, etc. As I've said many times, I have a dog who would have been ruined if I hadn't had the right trainer to help us get started. And although we are two Qs away from moving into the top level for USDAA, I still make sacrifices to pay for her advice every week. It is worth every penny to keep me and my dog happy and safe.

    Just my opinion, of course.
     
  9. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    You could be lucky and be ok doing it on your own. But trust me (as someone who started on my own..) its better you at least take a few classes so you have a grasp of the basics and then go for the equip to play at home.
     
  10. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    I agree with Dekka, BB, and Sis. I'm just starting out on my own, but I want to compete, and I sometimes feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, if I'm doing it right, or doing it wrong.
     
  11. MericoX

    MericoX Roos, Poos, & a Wog!

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    I agree with everyone who agreed that one should goto a beginners agility class first. Not only do you learn about safe handling, but you also have people to help getting dogs used to equipment (try teaching tunnel by yourself. LOL)
     
  12. DaVinci

    DaVinci New Member

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    I took a class with a very poor instructer. Not only did a pay 40 dollars for the class but I wasn't taught anything. I did teach my dog to tunnel on my own. I also taught him the dog walk the ramp and tire jump with NO help from the instructer.
     
  13. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    Finding a good class and instructor is of the utmost importance. I love my agility instructor and she teaches in a way that makes sense to me. She was the only positive based, foundations trainer I knew of at the time. Despite finding more in my state now (MN), I wouldn't trade her for the world.

    I don't know where you are in Northern MN, DaVinci, but I could probably help you find a worthwhile trainer.
     
  14. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

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    I would definately go to classes. It is so much easier to learn from scratch then it is to unlearn bad habits.
    I have learned SO much from my classes and the bonus is that I have a little something for myself I can do twice a week.
     
  15. kms1167

    kms1167 Member

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    this is some really good advice. i wanted to get Harley started in agility but wasn't really sure if we should take a class or not. i think that we will as soon as i can save up the money!
     
  16. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    $40 is dirt cheap for agility classes so I'm not surprised the instructor was no good. More often than not, you get what you pay for.

    I absolutely would recommend a class or two. There are a lot of great books and DVD series out there, but I would never recommend them in lieu of actual instruction with a teacher. BODY LANGUAGE is a big part of the agility handling bond between you and your dog, and having somebody else there to watch you and your dog is absolutely invaluable. I have set up a video camera before and watched myself back on video, searching for what the problem is, and I can't see it... but when I go out and work in front of our agility instructor she sees it right off the bat.
    MAKE SURE YOUR TEACHER COMPETES AND HAS TITLED A DOG IN AGILITY. There is a place here where the teachers don't compete, and if they do they have never titled a dog. Watching their students run is like watching amateur hour at the comedy club. It's TERRIBLE. And honestly, if they can't or don't do it themselves, how can you really expect them to properly equip you for it? Even if you don't want to compete yourself, that is how you will be able to quickly eliminate a lot of options as far as quality of instructor goes: they won't be competing or they've never competed.
     
  17. DaVinci

    DaVinci New Member

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    Well my instructure has competed...alot and he has two titled dogs. I do not think 40 dollers is cheap. I have to drive 40 miles one way for the 1hr long class. Plus I have to be a member of the club and pay dues and I'm expected to help set-up and take down equipement.

    All I know is that I did really good at the open shows and I taught myself most of it.
     

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