Dog Site - Dog Stuff
Dog Forum | Dog Pictures

Go Back   Chazhound Dog Forum > Dog and Pet Fun > Agility and Dog Sports


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-17-2008, 10:33 AM
Kmh1's Avatar
Kmh1 Kmh1 is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Southern NJ
Posts: 472
Default My first Agility Lesson-opinions please!

So I finally made contact with a woman who does agility about a 1/2 hour from my house. She offers lessons for $30 per hour and has a very nice large privacy fenced area with all the agility equipment. She had 3 of her dogs with her --2 shelties and an adorable staffordshire Bull terrier.
No one else showed up so it was a private lesson for me and Zippy (2 1/2 yr old Manchester Terrier). I had no idea what to expect as my only agility knowledge is seeing it on TV and of course all the great info I get on here--but I have zero hands on experience.
So this is what we did and I'm curious as to what people opinions are about it. We kept Zippy on leash and she had me place him in a sit in front of a small jump. She placed a treat on a "target" plastic lid on the other side of the fence and we encouraged him to jump over and get the treat, which was no problem. Then she put the treat after two jumps and we did the same thing. He needed a bit of encouragement to figure it out, but then was fine. Within in a few minutes we did this at the tire. She then had me do a series of 3 jumps and the tire, giving him a treat at the end. She then had me take him off leash and he was fine at first but then got distracted with snuffling around the place so we put him back on.
Next we went to the tunnel and made it as short as possible. Zippy was scared when the trainer had his leash and was trying to send him through the tunnel to me--once we tried with me getting him started and running to the other end he did fine. She then talked to me about the contact equipment and how we would start by placing him on the contact area and giving him a treat on the target at the base and then would gradually put him higher on the incline and have him go to the treat target each time at the base. We didn't anything much with this for now except for placing him on the contact zone and letting him walk a step or two to the treat.
We then went to a pause table that was only a few inches off the ground. He got on it no problem and is usually pretty reliable with his down command. The instructor was pleased with his "wait" command (Zippy is so food motivated its unreal and every meal he has to do a decently long wait--he wants it so bad he does this intensely staring at me not moving a muscle waiting for his release signal rock solid wait! LOL!) So we practiced the pause a few times. I would drop his leash walk around him a fair bit away from the table count it down and then call him to me.
She then had us do a combination--the jumps, tire, tunnel, pause table. So, we actually got to do a lot more than I would have thought, but I'm not sure I have real clear understanding of things yet--I thought there would be doing more preliminary work for some reason--but I have no idea of what! I guess I was sorting hoping for her to lay out a "strategy" of how you go about doing certain things at certain stages and why--but I don't think that is completely this persons style. So how does this sound for a first lesson? Is this typical? Any critical questions I should be asking? Thanks for any input. I think I'm really going to love this once I get going!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-17-2008, 11:01 AM
milos_mommy's Avatar
milos_mommy milos_mommy is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 14,561
Default

she sounds pretty good...but i'd definately ask about ground work. If he's not reliablely trained to stay put off-leash in a fenced in area in a private lesson, i'd definately say work on obedience.
__________________
"My favorite color is green, green like newly cut grass. When it comes to green with envy, though, you can stick it up your @ss!" ~ Grammy



http://www.adorablebeasts.blogspot.com
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-17-2008, 11:33 AM
adojrts's Avatar
adojrts adojrts is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,089
Default

To me, No, too much too fast, no on the flat foundation training, no target training before introducing the equipment, no focus work, nothing about body language and supporting lines. No work on hind end awareness such as ladder work and plank work etc. It takes weeks before a dog and handler should be doing several obstacles in a row, which is called sequencing.
By the time a dog has the skills to be sequencing, they should be off leash.
This woman, is doing things half right, but boy is she rushing you and your dog in my opinion.
To give you an idea of how I train, first class, we work on handler focus, dogs are taught to target, we introduce the wobble board, the ladder. We teach walking/running off leash, in serpintines and figure 8's and sending a dog out and around a jump standard off leash. Working on figure 8's with two jumps but no bars up. I also want to know how well a dog can recall and hold a stay with or without distractions.
Depending on fast a dog can master these skills (usually doesn't take very long). We then progress (usually a week or two) to plank work, more focus work, targetting and recalling the dog to the handler over a jump, the tire, a shortened tunnel. Depending on the team, we can cover 3 -4 obstacles a week, each week a new obstacle is introduced. Right from the beginning of obstacle training, we work on body language along with all the theory.
To give you an idea, by the fourth week and we are now introducing the teeter at that same time the jump training has progressed to 2-3 jumps that have been backchained and the team has learned to do run bys (running beside their dog) on a very short sequence of 2 jumps, a tire and a tunnel.
It can take a couple of weeks to train a dog to run through a curved tunnel, which of course isn't fully curved in the beginning, some dogs don't like the fact that they can't see an opening. So we start by gently curving the closest end of the tunnel and progress at the dogs rate to a fully curved tunnel.
Some dogs breeze through this stage others don't. But for a team to be successful, we don't start sequence training in the first class. In my opinion that is a far too unrealistic expectation. Any we never sequence on leash.


What are your goals? Are thinking of competing? Have you asked this trainer if they compete? When? It is important that a trainer be competing now, not 10 years ago. The methods of agility training and competing have changed a great deal in the last 10 years. Does this trainer continue with their own education? Do they attend workshops and seminars with the top trainers in N.A? And have they Titled dogs? When, were? Do their students Titled and win now? These are important questions to know, ask them to prove it. A good trainer will not be offended but will respect you more for asking.
Good luck
Lynn
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-17-2008, 12:11 PM
Dekka's Avatar
Dekka Dekka is offline
Just try me..
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Ontario
Posts: 19,235
Default

I agree with Lynn. WAYYYY to fast. You are skipping to many fundementals. I was actually talking to someone this weekend who went somewhere for 'fun' agility, sounds a lot like your class. Her dog now HATES agility. She started out great, but over a few months started to get shut down.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-17-2008, 01:25 PM
Kmh1's Avatar
Kmh1 Kmh1 is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Southern NJ
Posts: 472
Default

Yeah, I thought there was probably lots of foundation stuff missing--I really thought we would start with practicing off leash exercises and such--I guess I will work on some of what you said at home. The instructor takes lessons herself at a big indoor facility about an hour and a half away and she goes to trials almost every weekend. she is currently trying to finish an Agility dog Excellent (if thats the right terminology) on the Staffordshire bull terrier and has a few titles on the Shelties from what she was saying. I was hoping she would sort of show me a "demo" run with one of the dogs, but she only brought out the shelties to show me one or two things.
As far as my goals, I would like to compete at least at a very basic level if we can get to that point. I'm in no hurry and would definitely like to do it correctly. The 1 1/2 hour ride to the bigger training facility would be tough for me now because my horse show schedule has to take priority for right now.
There are just so many things I don't have a clue how to teach--I'm ok usually with teaching sit and down and wait and stay and a bit of heeling--but my off leash experience is limited and I have no idea how to "send" a dog to something and teach those type of behaviors. If anyone has any resources / books or tape recommendations that could help me learn too, that would be appreciated.
I think Zippy had a good experience the other day as far as it was very positive and upbeat, but I'm not sure he really learned anything just yet. We will keep at it and keep the advice coming please! Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-17-2008, 02:20 PM
adojrts's Avatar
adojrts adojrts is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,089
Default

www.cleanrun.com has lots of great books to choose from.
You may want to explain to your instructor that you want to compete and you want foundation skills, she maybe able to change. If she doesn't, you may want to consider finding someone else. In the beginning if you travel further twice a month, its better than training once a week with someone who isn't giving you what you need. At least with foundation skills and an introduction to agility with an excellent trainer, it will give you the skills that you need.
If you show horses than you know how important foundation skills are, yep you can skip them or have holes in them and you may get by for a while........but when the tough gets going and the higher you go in competing, the holes become apparent and become bigger. And then you end up having to go back and do damage control by retraining which in the end costs you more in time and money.
I used to train and show horses for years.........and when I saw someone warming up at a show with tons of crap on their horses, I knew that they would be the easiest ones to beat All that stuff just proved that they didn't know how to get without it.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:43 PM.


1997-2013 Chazhound Dog Site