Discussion Forums - Pets/Animals

Topic: Agility training for dogs

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Agility training for dogs
Date Posted: 5/30/2008 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
Back To Top

Anyone do agility training with thier dog?  My small dog is very active, loves to jump, walk on raised walls, etc.  I'd like to start her on agility training - just as a mental & physical enrichment for her - not competitively.

What would be good things to start her on?  She's not excessively obedient, but she enjoys a challenge and is very treats motivated.

Date Posted: 5/31/2008 5:31 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 1,610
Back To Top

There are several options for you to start with.

Even if you dont want to compete, I suggest finding a class near you. A good instructor will be able to help teach you how to properly teach your dog to jump. It is all too easy for your dog to injure themselves if they jump wrong.

I also suggest a few obedience classes to help get her to obey commands a bit better. There is nothing more frustrating than a dog that doesn't listen! Even if it is just training for fun on an agility course.

I then recommend getting books. Lots and Lots of books. Learn about structure and how a dog moves so you can be aware of injuries (hopefully) before a minor one becomes a major one. Then there are several books out there on how to build the equipement for your own back yard.

I like starting brand new dogs on obedience behaviors of targeting and direction. I also like introducing cavaletti jumps to hel pteach proper jumping form. Then next are tunnels. Then moving to weave poles and starting low contact items. Build the obedience, trust and relationship. Then build the correct jumping form into a habit for the dog. Then work on the obstacles.

Good luck! Have fun!

Date Posted: 6/1/2008 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
Back To Top

Thanks Jessi - I'll look around for a class!    Pepper's ultra-smart, and I can actually see her deciding whether to obey or not in some circumstances, so it's not a matter of her not knowing, it's a matter of her not choosing to obey.   Treats come in handy here.

Since I don't really want a Stepford dog, I'm trying to channel her energy into something fun and challenging that she'll want to do, and want to obey me in.  We already make a game of "wait" before crossing the street, so I know she can do it when she wants to.  She's an absolutely fearless jumper - and has jumped as much as 5 feet down onto concrete (she's a 17 pound dog).  I winced - she didn't.

Date Posted: 6/8/2008 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 3/24/2007
Posts: 4,668
Back To Top
I have been doing agility training with my dachshund mix for about a year now. We started with K9 Kindergarten, because she was a rescue and quite aggressive around new dogs. Then we graduated to advanced obedience and then to the clicker training and then to agility. We both absolutely LOVE the classes. When I start getting the stuff ready to put in the car, she just goes nuts because she knows where we are going. The socialization has been great for her, and it is so rewarding to work with your dog. It builds such a special bond. We will probably never compete, but I don't care. I'll keep doing the classes with her as long as our local trainer offers them. Good luck!
Date Posted: 6/9/2008 6:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
Back To Top

That's interesting Kathy!  I've been a little curious how it works with a smaller breed since I have the impression that mostly larger dogs do agility.

Date Posted: 6/9/2008 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 3/24/2007
Posts: 4,668
Back To Top
It is very interesting to watch. In our class there is a golden retriever, german shepherd, a springer spaniel, my darling Daisy weighing in at around 17 lbs. and then the smallest is a jack russell terrier mix. So we have all shapes and sizes. The only adjustment the trainer makes is the height of the hurdles and the tire obstacle. I think in the real competition, the dogs are grouped by size so they don't have to change the obstacle heights constantly.
Date Posted: 12/7/2008 2:47 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2008
Posts: 245
Back To Top

I know I'm real late in responding, but I'm new to PBS.

I'd have a good stay, come and sit. The rest will come with repeated training, preferably in a class. The best way to learn. I never felt that my dogs needed more than then 3 commands before starting training. I now have a dobie who is still too young (almost a year in a few days) to train on full sized equipment. He will be okay to train at around 2 years old on full size jumps and other obstacles.

The dogs are grouped by size and it depends on the type of agility you are going for as to what you jump (some organizations have the same jump height no matter what). A class will also lead you in the direction as to what group to go to.



Last Edited on: 1/17/09 5:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 2