Dog-On-It Agility is a club in my area that offers classes, competitions and lots of social interaction with other dog lovers. You might enjoy watching their slideshow, if you're interested in seeing a little action.
Many of these people are involved in multiple dog sports such as Flyball, Frisbee and herding. I was fascinated to learn more about all these different ways to engage with a dog; who knew?
I won't tell you that there wasn't any work involved. That would be misleading. But it was fun work--setting up agility equipment, taking down equipment, and sometimes trying to figure out what a teacher is talking about when they get off on a tangent. They can occasionally forget they are teaching beginners and lose us in their vocabulary. It's all good; we enjoyed every minute.
Agility classes have levels, just like every sport. As you and your dog progress, you get moved up, experience new instructors, meet new classmates, and eventually get to try competing, if you stick with it. Again, there are a variety of levels of competition, giving you the chance to start out easy and work your way up.
It's not uncommon for a dog to remain in one level for two or more class segments (ours were 6 weeks long), so don't let that concern you. Better to get a good foundation before you move up, or you may find yourself wishing you were back a level. You'll have to trust me on that one.
Finally, before you sign up, you might want to attend a local agility demonstration or competition. You'll learn a lot about what's involved--handler behavior, dog behavior and get a peek at the equipment you'll be learning to deal with. Each has its own unique challenges, and those are different for every dog. Suffice it to say, approach training each of your dogs with a fresh slate. While one may balk at the A-frame, another may freak out on the teeter. Your job, as always, is to lead with complete confidence. Set the stage and your pup will perform.
Thanks to Maureen and Kim for sharing our cover dog photos for today. Aren't they beautiful and talented? Tanner and Oliver can only drool. They have a long way to go, but the journey will be fun.
Can't get enough? Read and practice with this stuff:
This "Agility-in-a-Bag" set is what I purchased to practice at home. It's plenty to get you started and work on basic skills--particularly the weave poles. I highly recommend them.
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