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Old 04-26-2012, 09:23 PM
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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.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:29 PM
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Yay!!

And yeah I started Kim in one of those "other" classes. And spent the next 2 years learning on my own and trying to fix all the stupid that happened as a result of that class.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shai View Post
Yay!!

And yeah I started Kim in one of those "other" classes. And spent the next 2 years learning on my own and trying to fix all the stupid that happened as a result of that class.
I wish I would've been able to train Summer correctly when she was young. I guess you live and learn, but she would've taken to this training much better. I will say a couple people dropped out after a couple classes and I wonder if it was a case of not working with the equipment is sometimes not so exciting. Yeah, it's not that exciting but it's important.

The trainer was very very complimentary of Mia. She told me Mia is a little pistol. I said, Yeah pretty much.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:51 PM
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Hey "a little pistol" is way way better than a demon child or whatever the other trainer called her lolol

And yeah the "nice" thing about Kim's early class was it was so astronomically bad that it forced me to drop out of the class series and learn on my own. Sorta what happened when a "trainer" grabs your noise and world sensitive dog and shoves her across a teeter she's never seen before and causes total shutdown. Good times!
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shai View Post
Hey "a little pistol" is way way better than a demon child or whatever the other trainer called her lolol
One was brat-monkey
The other was 'the Deviant'

Pistol is definitely a step up.

Lol, I really think our first trainer had no idea how to train a dog like Mia. She had giant schnauzers that were slow and not that biddable and a lot less hyperactive.

Quote:
And yeah the "nice" thing about Kim's early class was it was so astronomically bad that it forced me to drop out of the class series and learn on my own. Sorta what happened when a "trainer" grabs your noise and world sensitive dog and shoves her across a teeter she's never seen before and causes total shutdown. Good times!
Ours wasn't THAT bad, thank god. That sounds awful.

I do wonder though how better training would have helped the dogs in that class. The one sport bred collie that would redirect on her owner all the time is one I wonder about a lot. (I heard she died recently Saw her this past fall and she was still as out of control as ever. Makes me wonder what happened...) Or how drive building would have helped the dog that walked the course....
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:07 PM
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Yeah it always makes me wince to wonder that sort of thing. But I am very very glad you and Mia have found a trainer/training group who is letting you guys really explore your full potential.

'cuz Knowledge is Power!

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Old 04-26-2012, 10:45 PM
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I so totally agree, and it is great you found a class doing legitimate foundation stuff.

Having now found a phenomenal trainer, I keep kicking myself for starting him in a normal class. It's caused several issues for us that are now difficult to fix, like a poor jumping style (lots of knocked bars ) and awful weaves. Oh well, live and learn! The next dog will get proper foundations, no doubt about it.

I <3 my trainer. She uses the Derrett system and really emphasizes strong foundation stuff. She knows so much and is really good at picking out the things I do wrong. Before seeing her I never knew how technical agility really was. It really makes a world of difference to have a great trainer.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:49 PM
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Foundations are SO important! We too were in "one of those" classes and that's what caused Izzie to shut down, too much too fast with little explanation through training games.

But look at her now! We should be in all masters classes by the end of the year! =)

I never ever want to leave my agility club, they're really the best group ever. Very diverse and my instructors are experienced with all different types of dogs so they can tailor an exercise to the individual dog-handler team. Love love love them!
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:03 PM
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That is one great thing about the main trainer at my club. She has malamutes (her first agility dogs), a lacy, a terv, and a BC. My trainer (one of the assistants) has BCs but she's very good with all the dogs.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:54 PM
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Those classes actually sound more fun to me than possibly dragging your dog over equipment. Who cares how long it takes to get over the jumps? If horses taught me anything a good foundation and flat work is super important for success.
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