Dog Agility -- anyone here do it, love it, researched it?

  1. I am excited to share that Katie and I are 2 weeks away from graduating basic obedience class. Whoohohoo! That said, I am looking for the next structured thing to do with Katie. An instructor casually offered that Agility is a great way to bond with your pup and if we both like it we could even make the decision to compete (that appeals to me.. but only if Katie likes it too).

    My question to you all -- are their any dog people here who have tried, or love, or explored, or know someone who has done anything with Agility? I have found a place semi-close by which has an indoor heated course (important for NY in the winter). The classes will be starting again in March. Is there anything I can do now to gently introduce Katie to this type of activity to see if she likes it? I would hate to sign up for the class only to find out that Katie would prefer something else. Any advice out there?

    And here's Katie! (maybe there is someone that can tell from a picture if she will like agility..... ;)j/k). For those of you who have seen her as a puppy...she is getting ridiculously tall now!! Complete bean pole or as I lovingly call her my little flamingo!!

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  2. my coworker's wife trains their dog to do agility. She loves it. I kinda want to do it, but I dont think my pup is the right breed to do it. My pup is super lazy.
     
  3. My friend did it and both she and her dog loved it. They went pretty far in the training and her dog can do all sorts of fancy things. It did take a lot of time for the classes and then the practicing, but she didn't mind at all. They both enjoyed it.

    Katie is very, very pretty!
     
  4. I did agility with my bulldog, until she injured her leg.

    Honestly, in my opinion a dog ussually likes anything that they get to do with their owner and get lots of praise for.

    It would be worth a try and if you think she doesn't care for it you don't have to do it again.
     
  5. Thank you very much!! Funniest part is that she knows she's a 'looker' :idea:
     
  6. 4theluvof-it - I am sorry to hear your dog was injured! It's great to hear that a bulldog can do agility! I have heard that really any breed can do it!

    Thanks for the initial feedback! I like the idea of committing to spend a lot of time with Katie for both class and practice... and I love praising her :heart:

    I found out the classes are on weeknights at either 5pm or 6pm. It may be tough to make them. I really wish I could find one on the weekend. More to come!
     
  7. I took my dog to an agility workshop several years ago and he loved it. Of course that might be because we used pieces of hot dogs as rewards. It provided a good introduction to all the equipment. I didn't continue with it because my dog was very young at the time and didn't have a good obedience foundation, which I think is necessary to succeed in agility. I regret I didn't pursue it later after he was trained, but my situation changed and I didn't have enough time.:sad:
     
  8. ^ what kinds of equipment did you learn?

    So, the trainer recommended I test Katie out with a hula hoop. I taped said hula hoop to a chair and had Katie walk through for praise and treats. She loved it! It was a bit tough at first to have her go through, but she quickly got the hang of it. Agility could be really fun! I will try to get a picture of her leaping through to share!
     
  9. i did it for about a year. it really helps to have a dog that loves to train and wants to please (such as a golden like yours). many goldens excel at agility. it can be a lot of fun for you and you dog. it does require 10-15mins a day or training plus an hour of class a week. it's a really good way to get rid of some of that excess energy and 'work' their brains a bit. i had a lot of fun doing it but it seemed my whippet wasn't enjoying herself (i don't think this will be a problem with a golden!) so we stopped. i do plan to get an australian shepherd and do it again.

    as for the classes, we started with a few pieces of equipment (a tunnel and a jump) for the first session of 6 wks. each session had a couple of new pieces of equipment. positive reinforcement (as with any dog training) was important.

    good luck!
     
  10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RYsS8oIq7s
    Here is a video at one of Bella's practices. Now, it is in the middle of July in Fl. (very hot for a bulldog) so she is not running at full speed. And she tried to hide under the pause table (behind the A-frame, and out of the picture) to cool off.
     
  11. Bella is good! She was going great until you wanted her to go up that big old dog walk. July, I am in a nice climate and my black dog is very slow in hot weather too.

    I have been doing agility for about ten years and love it. Sassy and Maxwell are my two associates.
    http://www.happydogagility.com/pages/students3.htm
    Sassy is now 14 and had her tail tucked when I did obedience with her. When I started agility at age 4 she untucked that tail and it stayed that way until she had to retire at age 10.

    There are great mailing lists on the web but you could go to http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=135
    to read up on the latest and best information available.

    If your pretty Katie likes learning stuff and doing tricks then she will love agility. Sassy loved walking on the curb and jumping over stuff, loved agility. Maxwell just loves me and we are doing okay. He has many titles and have qualified for nationals again this year without hardly trying!
     
  12. ^^^Hehehe, that is where she was trying to hide in the shade under the pause table. She has no problem going over the frame.
     
  13. The hula hoop is a great idea. One of the agility organizations now has a course using them! I was too tired to stay at the one trial that offered it and so I haven't ever done that type of course.

    You could also play with a blanket over her. One of the obstacles is a short tunnel with a fabric chute. A long chute!

    Another thing you could do is play on wobbly surfaces. The teeter can be scary, it wobbles, moves and it bangs. Put a small ball under a good sized piece of plywood and have her sit, down, stand, turn in circles, bark, give a paw whatever else you can think up. Sassy was upset by the teeter, I taught her to fetch her very favorite thing in the whole world - her stainless steel dinner bowl. When it dropped it made a big racket but she didn't care because DINNER was coming!

    Do as many variations of the retrieve as you can think up. Maxwell does a go out, sit then I roll the ball to him. He is very impressed with himself on that one. Teach her to know which way you are going to throw the ball. Have her sit, down or stand and wait for the ball and send her to it.

    One of the most important things to know about agility is the dog learns its job in a couple months. It takes the human much longer to learn how to direct the dog and all the body language to use properly. One quick example: facing the dog pushes it out away from you, turning away pulls the dog in. Now do facing and turning away properly while remembering a course of 12 to 25 obstacles and watching the dog the entire time!
     
  14. 4theluvof-it thank you very much for posting that video! It gave me goose-bumps thinking about how fun it will be!

    Kathyy the information you gave is excellent. I know I have a lot more reading and learning to do!

    So, I think we will be signing up for a class that starts mid-March! In the meantime I will try some of the things you suggested above! The blanket sounds like fun, but I can see Katie biting and trying to eat it! I will report back on our progress!

    Your dogs Maxwell and Sassy sounds adorable by the way!!
     
  15. #15 Nov 25, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
    Hi my dog Truman & I compete in agility!
    He's an 8 year old bearded collie who was rescued from a shelter, we adopted him 3 years ago. When we adopted him he was terrified of everything and every person he met. It took about a year for him to start feeling safe in the world. I credit a lot of his recovery to our agility training. He had such a great time in class and learned to trust that it was safe to be around humans there.
    I loved taking agility classes so much that I now teach agility classes myself!
    It is a wonderful way to bond and form a strong working relationship with your dog while having fun.
    I cant wait to read how you are doing in class!
    Heres a couple of shots(I have a lot of pictures of him doing agility:p)from a competition:
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