First Agility Class - Nerves and Excitement

Running, catching, leaping; this is the forum to discuss dog sports and agility training with other active pups!

Piper- (2011-2012)

Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 8:45am PST 
Piper and I are starting our first actual agility class next Monday. Up until this point we've been working our tails off on proofing behaviors and making sure she can listen to me in high distraction areas.

We're very excited to start the class on Monday, but today I've seem to hit a wall of nerves, and I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this?

I'm fairly used to going to dog competitions, as a boy I did competitive obedience trials and a few years ago I was pretty active in the disc-dog world but this will be my first agility class.

I'm just running through all the "what-ifs" in my head. Piper is very well-behaved and great at listening but she's never been to an agility class either, hence me being a bag of nerves.

How did everyone's first agility class go? Any words of advice for me as a handler or first timer? Her class is more of a foundations class, no heavy jumping or exertion yet since she's only 9 months.
Shiloh ITD

Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 8:54am PST 
Don't expect him to be perfect. The first few days your dog might now be 100% focused on you, but after a few more classes, he will get the idea. smile Remember, you're not the only new one there! The other handlers in your class are probably exited and worried too. big grin

Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 9:31am PST 
Normal. You'll get there, see everyone else is a basket case and then not feel so alone.

Your early stuff is probably going to focus on handling skills rather than real tests of your dog's self-control. They're not out to make it tough. It's supposed to be fun.


Spooky Mulder
Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 10:26am PST 
What's to be worried about? Unless your dog is severely HA and you're afraid she's going to attack the instructor (which I KNOW she's not!), you should have absolutely nothing to fret over.

When I decided to start agility, I'd just come off of doing Schutzhund. Mulder already had a pretty high level of training on him going into it, and I honestly didn't anticipate it being much of a challenge for either of us. After all, I was only doing it as a way to fill the void that Sch left- I didn't really expect to get hooked!

Needless to say, I was quite wrong. Mulder of course did very well- he was working off lead the first day, doing the beginners equipment like an old pro (which, to be fair, WAS already familiar to him- he'd already done the a-frame/jumps/table in Sch). I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I expected to, and as I progressed through it learned a lot of things about my relationship with Mulder and how I train that I never would have realized without agility. I'm grateful to be involved in the sport, and I imagine you'll feel much the same way once you get started in it way to go

Anna's Dark- Angel
Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 3:14pm PST 
You're going to have lots of fun! Our first agility class was awesome! Abby was just extremely wired and a tad unfocused, but eventually she settled down and I was able to work on OB and gain her focus.

It's a new enviorment with a lot going on so chances are Piper will be a little distracted, but as you progress she should settle. And like shiloh said you're not the only new one so everyones bound to share the same nerves/excitment. Anywho Good luck and have fun!
Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 3:16pm PST 
What fun! As Mulder said, relax. Oh, it won't go totally smoothly... but others will be in the same boat... and GSDs train pretty well wink

Zommies... early on, when Charka thought she had done well, she'd get zoomies. We generally do a complex chain of obstacles now... and zoomies have gone away. Thank dog for a more than solid recall laugh out loud
Piper- (2011-2012)

Barked: Wed Feb 1, '12 8:15am PST 
Thanks all for the words of encouragement. We're going to continue working on proofing as we have been and just try to remember everyone else will be in the same boat as far as a first class.

Czarka - Her recall is really great so hopefully that will give us a leg up during training. I have no doubt she'll probably have a zoomie episode, but I've also worked really hard on recall and she continues to really amaze me with how well she is with her recall, just a few days ago we went hiking and I called her off of a squirrel chase without so much as a look behind her shoulder at her previous quarry.

Mulder - It's awesome that agility helped you guys to hone your training relationship, I'm hoping for the same with Piper and I. I feel like she'll be really good at it, she's pretty light on her feet and is a really fast dog. And nope no HA here laugh out loud
Maggie NAC- WV-N TN-N- CTL-3 RE

Tunnel Suckin'
Barked: Thu Feb 2, '12 2:15pm PST 
Agility is for fun, really, it is smile

Try not to be nervous, any instructor worth their beans will probably have seen worse than anything you can imagine.

My first agility class with Maggie was stressful as she was terrified, but by the end of the intro class session Mags was happy to play with the equipment.

In practice my girl is wonderful, methodical and precise! But still after over two years of trialing Mags will get the zoomies occasionally lol. I have learned to take it all in stride though as her zooms are pure excitement.

Miss- Pig!
Barked: Fri Feb 3, '12 1:14pm PST 
Been a while since i was in any agility classes, but i felt the same way before i started with Missy. It was even worse for me because Missy is DA and i was really worried that the environment wouldn't suit her, but her trainer encouraged us to join and said she'll be fine. Of course, there was alot of standing around in very close proximity to the other dogs but everyone was totally cool about Missy, no one avoided me, i was joined in and Missy did great! If she can run a course, off lead, ignoring other dogs, i'm sure your dog friendly Piper will be just fine and you'll be even more relaxed than me wink
Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
Barked: Tue Feb 7, '12 8:40am PST 
Piper... You ARE going to let us know how it went, right? laugh out loud