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Old 04-26-2012, 10:23 PM
Laurelin's Avatar
Laurelin Laurelin is offline
I'm All Ears
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 30,963
Default Thumbs up for agility foundations classes

I know, I know most of you already know all this but seriously if you are doing agility DO FOUNDATION CLASSES FIRST!

Okay so my first two trainers were not terrible trainers but they both implemented the typical agility class schedule which is where you start the dogs on equipment right away. We started out in my very first agility class putting our dogs on leashes and then walking them over the jumps. Both these trainers seemed to follow the pattern of teach the equipment first then work on speed and handling skills. I thought nothing of it at the time.

I was lucky because my dogs are naturally pretty drivey and fast and wanting to work.

Okay so now we got to a foundations class. At first I was rolling my eyes because I can direct Mia to equipment already and she did pretty good. We had been building speed up and I thought that we didn't need target work or any of that because she already knows it. But the club here requires you to take a foundations. The foundations class had pretty much no real equipment at all, just poles, targets, boards, etc. It was all drive building games, race to a target, crate games, circle work, mat work, etc.

We are at the end of our foundations course and now on the first week of actual agility. Today we started teaching the dogs jumps.

Oh my word, I had NO idea how different it would be teaching jumps to dogs who have good foundation work on them already! It was amazing watching these completely green dogs who have never seen a jump not only take a jump on the first try but take it with a ton of speed off leash. We had them already moving out from the handler and driving forward, taking up to three jumps in a row... on the first day. I think back on how silly it was to be dragging our dogs over jumps and coaxing them over on their leash like my first class did....

And even more amazing to me was seeing what happened with a dog like Mia who has seen this all before. It was incredible how much better I communicated with her and how much easier things went for us. Also how FAST she is. She already had drive and has had drive but now... it's no comparison. She and I were perfect today. Absolutely no bobbles. It was awesome.

Anyways, moral of the story is take foundations classes. If they have you on day one coaxing your dogs over jumps and dog walks then I would look for a different trainer.

Hank CA - (approx. 1 1/2 year old Spotty Dog)
Mia CGC - (6 1/2 year old Papillon)
Summer TG3 TIAD - (11 year old Papillon)
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