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  #1  
Old 09-10-2010, 01:33 PM
StillandSilent StillandSilent is offline
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Default Wanting to Start Agillity with Grimm, but...

How can I tell if he's ready? He's never attended obedience classes, but he is rock solid on sit/down/come/hell and nearly rock solid on stay. He loves learning and is crazy about racing through the tunnel at work.

My concern is that he is still shy with people, and he might get distracted and refuse to try if there is too much commotion. He does pretty well on obedience with distractions, and we work on it almost daily.

There is a class starting at the end of the month here, and I like their training philosophy, but I hate to shell out the money only to find out he just isn't ready for it. The class has limited enrollment.

I really want something that will build his confidence level, and I am not terribly interested in obedience or Rally. Would something else be even better than agility? Freestyle is probably out too, since Grimm loves to shake his booty, but Mommy lacks any sort of rhythm and would just end up embarassing him.
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:01 PM
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You know because you try it and see. Have you set in on classes there at all? Training philosophy is great, but I know trainers who preach "hands off, all positive" up the wazoo, and then kick and smack when they think nobody is looking.

Meg was the ultimate "special needs", needs confidence dog when we started. I daily praise the luck that I had getting involved with the right trainer off the bat; she just happened to be the first one that had a class starting. She took all the time we needed, and was (and still is) great at not just running a routine class, but adjusting to each dog one at a time. I think most trainers would have wound up frustrating me and scaring Meg more. Nothing is more important with the worriers than having the right trainer there to back you up.
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:35 PM
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Could you do a short private lesson with that trainer and get their opinion? When i was putting Izzie in her classes at the new club we're with, we did one session with the head trainer and she evaluated where we were at and where we'd fit in best. She fit in well with the second level of foundations class, and i REALLY recommend taking some sort of foundations course.

Have you thought about Rally-O?
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:47 PM
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I second the idea of a few privates. IME privates are the most economical way to go anyway. So unless I was socializing a puppy I would go private or semi private lessons in pretty much any dog sport.
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Old 09-11-2010, 01:37 PM
StillandSilent StillandSilent is offline
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The trainer did offer to let me sit in on either a beginner obedience or a more advanced agility class, there are no beginning/foundation agility classes running right now. She also wanted to meet Grimm privately and evaluate his obedience skill before starting him in class.

I wouldn't mind going private if I could afford it, but thats just not possible right now.

I think I'm going to take him in to be looked at, then check out a class, them make a decision from there. If he doesn't start class now, he won't until the first of the year, so we'll see how it goes.
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Old 09-11-2010, 02:09 PM
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Do privates as you can afford them. Taking one private every three weeks is often more training time than 3 classes in three weeks..
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:15 PM
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I think it's a very personal decision whether to do privates or a class (and again, depends on the person you are training with). Meg is a terrible choice for privates, although I do them occasionally with a trainer I drive 2 hours to see. Most of the time, we *adore* our group classes, and both get more from them than we would with privates.

Meg isn't a high drive dog. She can't be "on" for long stretches of time. I have to rev her up, run her, then give her a break. When I do privates, I'll purposely drag out the discussion or walking courses to suit her better, and even so, I've got a really spent dog by the end, who is going slower than I like to train. In classes, I can pull her out three times in an hour and do short, high-drive spurts of training.

I also have a trainer who manages groups remarkably well, and the greatest group of fellow students. It's a year round competition class, and although we have the occasional straggler come in for a while, it's a core group of four of us who have trained together for years. We know each other and all our dogs, we trial together frequently and exchange frequent texts when we are trialling alone. I learn as much from watching their dogs work and progress as I do from my turns with Meg. And it gives me a sense of friendship with some like-minded people.

While privates can absolutely be the right answer for some people and dogs, I wouldn't discount group classes as a second-best until you've given both a shot and seen what works best for you and Grimm.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:47 PM
StillandSilent StillandSilent is offline
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So, I sat in the class and was very pleased with what I saw. The dogs were happy and learning, no dog was forced, and the trainer (who will also do Grimms class) seemed capable with both the more timid dogs and the dogs who were bouncing off the walls.

She evaluated him, and felt that his obedience skills were good enough to be considered for group class. She had her dog, an ACD mix, out and the two played nicely while we did paperwork. Then I looked up and noticed my precious Grimm was peeing on her dog! Then the ACD turned and hiked it's leg on Grimm in retaliation! This is not a common behavior for him, and I was mortified.

Luckily, she was cool about it (and her dog will not be at Grimm's class!), but why must my little precious boys humiliate me whenever we go out?
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As much as I try to be one of those easygoing 'spread your wings and fly' types, I just can't stop trying to burst people into flames with my mind.
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