Training class retention rate

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Laurelin, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    How many people stick with agility at y'all's training facilities past the first few weeks? I have noticed at every place we've trained people drop like crazy. I haven't seen that in the regular puppy/dog obedience classes. Is it like that in other dogsports?
     
  2. Emily

    Emily Rollin' with my bitches

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    I think it's pretty common if your class includes a lot of foundation work. People get bored. :D I heard from a client at work that the place where I take Keeva for agility is "boring". I was like, "Waaaah?!" and she explained that her dog doesn't need to learn all that competition stuff (wrapping, contacts, proper jumping form, 2x2 weave entrance work, LOL) and she just wanted him to "jump stuff".

    I think it's because a LOT of people have a vague idea of what agility is and think, "WOULDN'T FLUFFY LOVE THAT?!" Then they find out that it's actually pretty demanding to do right. Plus IME the public doesn't go "Oh my dog would be GREAT at Obedience/Rally!" because they assume such a sport requires a very calm and "well-behaved" dog. They think agility will be perfect for their spastic dog because they think it's just running and jumping and yelling. LOL
     
  3. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I think the retention rate is pretty decent at ours, but I think it is partially the set-up. All dogs have to do a 'prep school' class before starting agility, where they do self-control/motivation/foundation type stuff. I think the people who make it to an agility class are already pretty committed and motivated.

    They seem to have caved to pressure a bit and are doing an "agility for fun" class with low, easy equipment (the rest of their stuff has been very much geared to good foundations/competition type classes), and I have a feeling that will be sort of a "take it once for fun" class with lower retention rates.
     
  4. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    The first place I went to had the best retention rates but it was a 'start your dog on a leash over jumps on day 1' type of class. Most people continued through the first class at least and only a couple dropped after that.

    With Mia and Summer's classes only 2 have made it very far at all. Mia's class had 3 dogs make it through the pre-agility class. And now at 36 weeks we're down to 2. Summer's has 2 that continued past the pre agility class. And summer's class was BIG at first too!

    It is very odd. This is by far a much more knowledgeable trainer and better approach that produces better and more consistent results. There were a couple people in Summer's pre-agility class that seemed very into it. I'm kind of bummed some of them quit. (the terv and the GSP especially) It's not like there is no demand either. They're always starting new pre-agility classes. I guess people just get bored really fast.

    I think what you've said about type of class makes a lot of sense. People want to do exciting things now.
     
  5. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    I think a lot of people sign up for agility as a way to tire out their dog (do some jumps, run around etc..) and when they start the foundation work/everything else and the class seems a lot harder then they thought and requires a lot of home work..they drop.

    I only know of two classses with what seems like a 100% retention rate and one of them it's jumps/tunnels and running around from day 1.
    and the other is a training school for already pretty training-savvy dog people lol so the agility classes go into higher levels and always having waiting lists.
     
  6. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    Our classes go in 7 week sessions. Nearly 100% who sign up do all 7 weeks. Very rarely a handler will give up midway through, but I'd say it's once every 5 or 6 sessions that it happens (and we run 3 agility 1 classes each session, so that's 1/150 handlers who quits midway through!)

    Now, the number of dogs that continue to level 2 is less. We go from 3 classes at level 1 (10 dogs each) to 2 at level 2, so even once you account for the fact that at least 3-4 handlers repeat agility 1, we're losing 20% (6 handlers) each session. 80% retention from level 1 is pretty good though, in my opinion. Level 3 is two classes as well, and then level 4/5/onward is down to one class. By that point a lot of people are competing though and take classes more sporadically.
     
  7. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    We tend to have a decent retention rate. We do at least 21 weeks of foundation work, more depending on the class. They start short, like 2 or 3 obstacle sequencing towards the end.
     
  8. monkeys23

    monkeys23 New Member

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    My trainer and I were talking about that after the reactive class that Scout and I sat in on. She said a quite a few don't go on to other things after foundations or the reactive class, they just want a better behaved dog and aren't willing to really get into agility.

    If my work schedule hadn't changed I think I would have done the Getting Started in Agility class with Scout for fun. But alas, **** you evening work hours! And maybe I'm a dog nerd, but I love foundation work and think its fun.

    I'm thinking about joining the darkside and trying out agility though! We'd have to do privates because of my work schedule now until May.
     
  9. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    we don't really have classes for bitesports, but retention is horribly low for all sorts of reasons. Mostly, it's work, lots of it. if you have a puppy you won't be competing for almost 2 years minimum. Most people want a 6 week course and a certificate and to move on to the next level. You don't get to do that in ipo or ring sports, it's a little more than that.

    Next, while most people are rather friendly, our sports have our share of assholes. The ones that forget what it's like to be new and not know anything about how, why or what the hell is going on and treat newbies like dirt. Most are not like that thankfully, but there's always one it seems.

    Then we have the dog issue. So many show up with a dog from "somewhere famous" with all these lines they researched and they're very proud, and the dog doesn't have an tenth of what it needs internally to be able to do the sport. When they see everyone else doing things their dog can't do they either quit or try and find someone else to tell them something different. and that works for a while, because that person will keep telling them what they want to hear till the money runs out, then they're gone and soured on the sport forever.

    My first club I joined is gone. Nobody is still training from that club other than one person and she is just training for fun, hasn't competed in years. The club after ( I had moved still has the core members that were there when I started with them (about 5 people) and during my 6 years with that club lots of people came and went. I'd say at least 25-30 that stayed for various amounts of time. Of those that came with or after me, Myself and one woman (switched to ring sports) are the only ones I know of currently still training besides the core of 5 members that were there before I started. I still know a lot of those people and they still have dogs, but they don't currently train for anything. Some don't have dogs at all now.

    I moved again (and it sucks because I had a **** good trainer for bitework, now I have just me ) and I was with this current club for less than a year and I left. Too much drama in it for me and not enough training. in that year though I can think of at least 8 people that never made it past 6 sessions and they left because it was too much commitment or their dog didn't have enough. Oddly enough I still train dogs for almost everyone that was in that club, just not in the club setting.

    I'd say over the years 80% of the people come out for a few sessions or maybe even a few months, but the amount that stay a year or longer and actually compete is much lower. 20% would be generous I think it's probablly closer to 10%
     
  10. Emily

    Emily Rollin' with my bitches

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    What sport DO you get that in?
     
  11. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    I don't know, those are the two I know so that's what I mentioned. There's plenty of OB classes and agility classes and tracking classes and nosework classes that last a month or two and then you move on to the next level. There isn't that structure with bitework sports
     
  12. MandyPug

    MandyPug Sport Model Pug

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    Wondering that as well lol.
     
  13. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    I guess that depends heavily on how you define the next level. In the good ones, you're working what most would call fundamentals til the day you retire your dog.

    Sure you can find course series that let you "move up" quickly to running courses and such but then you don't have the fundamentals, the dog gets hurt or the handler gets frustrated when they try to compete, and most don't last long in the sport unless they are just in it for the social aspect. And there will always be someone who will work with them...for a fee

    Honestly it's not that different.
     
  14. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Our place does 'levels' in that you start with pre-agility then foundations for three class sessions. Then Agility1 next for three. That's what they put on their website. Technically it seems they just have each class do whatever that class needs. My trainer said the only class with a 'manual' of what they need to do is the very first one and it's just basic basic focus work and flatwork and shaping for the most part. The last week or two you'll see tunnels and jumps.

    We're months of training in with Mia's class and haven't done all that much obstacle work.
     
  15. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    I wasn't trying to imply that one would become an agility pro after a 6 week course or anything remotely close to that. I referenced the 2 sports I'm familiar with, I tried to clarify myself. I talked about the sports I do because it's what I know.

    and although no matter what sport you're doing, if you're competing at a high level it takes a lot of work and skill. There's no doubt about that, but they are different.
     
  16. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    I didn't mean to sound defensive...I hope I didn't. Just trying to explain what I see. The sheer number of people who try agility is pretty amazing, but not many of them stick with it long.
     
  17. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    We have levels but I mean I'm in the "master" class which is one of the best classes in our area with great instructors...and we mostly work short sequences and finesse fundamentals. We're not running full course...what would be the point? We try to set up specific scenarios to test understanding of fundamental concepts like wrapping your body around an upright or reading certain lateral sends or whatnot. It's all fundamentals. We just mix em up and string em together a bit.
     
  18. Bahamutt99

    Bahamutt99 Dafuq?

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    I wonder if part of the rentention rate isn't purely economical. I haven't had a young dog in need of class in several years, but back then I rarely took classes unless I had a coupon or something. I know from the trainer's point of view, prices reflect their commitment and time. But for the average dog owner, $100 is a big commitment. Then they realize that after the class, they're in for even more financial sinkage when they start trialing, or even if they're going to build a course and "just play" at home.

    I took one agility class with Loki and didnt go for a 2nd. I used a coupon to get in the first class, so that eliminated the financial concerns. Another reason I didn't go back was because everybody turned their dogs loose on the course when class was done. I didn't want to be the jerkoff spoiling their fun by pointing out it wasn't the dog park. Lol!
     

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