|Barked: Sun Nov 13, '11 10:01pm PST |
|Most agility classes require that you have some solid off-leash obedience first, the main one being a perfect, or nearly perfect recall. The world could be ending and he needs to come back when you say his name. Some of the other classes want you to have a solid sit and down off-least as well both of which are handy.
That's pretty dog and training dependent so I'd focus on the basics first. In the mean time you can do a lot of basic agility type things at home/around where you live before you do any class stuff. Fallen logs (within reason), wood piles, picnic tables, park benches, tires, slides etc. Pretty much anything you can find in a park or on a hike can be used as makeshift equipment. Getting used to getting up and going and climbing and sliding is a good challenge for them even if you never actually attend a class.
There are also a ton of plans online for homemade equipment as well as some pre-bought stuff which ranges from very expensive to very cheap. Kids play tunnels for example won't stand up to a lot of hard use by hard running paws but may be fine for a toy breed.
It's really going to be your job to make everything an exciting adventure. It's pretty unusual for dogs to not like agility but portions of it can be scary because of height or movement. You really really want to keep it positive regardless of what you're doing. No experience is a lot easier to get over than a bad experience. It does take quite a bit of time to get a dog trialling ready for agility so taking it slowly in the beginning is not a hindrance.
As for getting involved there are a few organizations who run agility trials, the AKC and the USDAA are two of the bigger ones. While neither website is a joy to navigate you can find information (at least as to finding out which club is running a tournament) and go from there. Volunteering at a trial is fun and very educational, and they are usually very grateful for help.