So its been a exiting few weeks as we have had a fantastic intake with both our Pre-Agility and our Agility classes, so much so that I have had to put on extra classes which is great! I can’t wait to start training all the new starters and watching them progress as the weeks go on. I remember when I first started I was so exited but also a bag of nerves too as I didn’t know what to expect!
I think one of the things I like to get across with new starters is that for the 1st few weeks they will not see much if any equipment at all! I realise this can be disappointing, sometimes frustrating for people , and believe me I have been there too, but it is so important when starting to train your dog that they learn all the balance, conditioning and focus work needed to safely progress onto the equipment. If we don’t teach the dogs the correct way to use the equipment we risk scaring or injuring the dogs and that is the last thing we want! By building up the dogs focus and balance they will have had the correct control and confidence to do the exiting stuff. The quicker the dog learns how to do it correctly the quicker they progress.
As with any dog training it is about being consistent, and we always see that the dogs who practice the exercises at home are the ones who progress quicker in class. There is no harm done by practising focus work and waits at home and if your dogs are like mine 10 mins of brain work tires them out far faster than a walk! (however dogs still need to be walked too!) We always issue the new starters with a handout with clear instructions on how to do the focus exercises correctly, they can then use this as a reference to practice at home if they wish.
If the dogs are finding a exercise difficult in class we simply take it a step back and make it easier for them, there is no rush and everyone progresses at different rates, I would much rather someone take longer and do it correctly. This also applies to the handlers too, there is no such thing as a stupid question and I myself sometimes took weeks to understand the tricky things.
One thing to remember is that when you see all these dogs doing full courses they too have had to do all the pre-agility stuff , there really is no quick way to learn agility and every dog has to learn from scratch. By taking things a stage at a time you setting your dog up for a happy and healthy agility future 🙂
We have intakes for pre-agility in 2 areas in Derbyshire. The outdoor Ripley venue and we also have a indoor venue near to Matlock which I am really exited to start using, classes start there in October.
If you want to see some clips of my dogs in action then click here to visit our Youtube channel.
For more information on our classes see the Agility section or use the contact form to get in touch.
Happy training 🙂