Farley is officially an agility dog starting this weekend!

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


Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Wed Apr 11, '12 9:32pm PST 
Who says 6 years old is too old to start agility? Farley doesn't think so! big grin

I was just in contact with a leader of my local agility club and we have our first beginner's class Sunday night! I'm so excited and nervous!

Does anyone have any tips for a first-timer? I know to bring lots of high-value treats, his leash, etc.. should I bring his clicker?

Farley loves to run and jump and he's got tons of experience with place cues and we've been using the clicker for about a year now. I think his "weaker" areas will be getting him to focus when there's a ton of other excited dogs around, and also just proofing what he already knows within a new, exciting environment.

What are some parts that your pups had some trouble with when first starting out in agility? And were you able to work through them?

Thanks pups!
Maggie,- Tika, &- Porter

Aussie-tastic- Trio
Barked: Wed Apr 11, '12 9:47pm PST 
Wear comfortable shoes!!! You will likely be on your feet a good deal. Also, bring plenty of treats...I always try to bring an extra baggy just in case.

Also remember to have fun smile

My Tika has only had one foundation agility class (she's 9 months)- the second one is tomorrow dancing

Barked: Wed Apr 11, '12 9:57pm PST 
Bring is crate, a bowl and water and lots of really high value treats, a treat he never gets, make it just for agility. My dogs agility treats are meatballs or cheese! Bring a favorite toy as well. A clicker would be a good idea if he knows a clicker. Oh and most important things of all?? HAVE FUN!!

Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '12 6:05am PST 
I don't have any advice cause Jack is a bit of a dingus and so we haven't attempted club yet ... just wanted to say GOOD LUCK FARLS!!! Knock 'em dead! cheer
River, CGC

Little River- Monster
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '12 6:13am PST 
Definitely want those super yummy treats. I started out using small pieces of hot dogs, but be ready to have to put the treats in your pockets if you don't have a treat bag to hook onto your belt loop. Sometimes the treat bags help in the beginning. Once you get into higher leveled classes, there will be too much running to wear the bag.

Remember to stay positive and reward every time he does something correct. I am in intermediate agility with my dog, and she is a cautious runner so I have to stay up-beat to keep her attention.

Good luck, I am sure you will have an amazing time. I found that I was having as much fun as River in the classes and I'm sure you will too!!

Have fun Farley, go get 'em!!

Member Since
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '12 8:05am PST 
My advice is to use rewards that are not over stimulating for the dog. You want the dog to focus on the job and the course and learning, rather then just getting the reward.

My dog is toy-obsessed and has strong drive. When we're doing obedience work, I reward her with her wubba and a short game of tug, because obedience is so darn boring for her.

However, agility is a different story: I don't use toys in agility. For one thing, my issue is slowing her down enough to make sure she hits her contacts.

For us, using a toy as a reward sends her off into her own world where she's all drive and no brain and focusing on ANYTHING except speed and the course is impossible. Plus, even if I use a toy only once, she gets so crazy that she bites me if I try to slow her down and force her to hit her contacts.

With treats, I can keep her drive in check better and make sure that we also work on important things like technique. Hitting those contacts and making sure she clears jumps properly is JUST as important if not way more so then speed. That way, she *waits* for a treat for me and stays on course, rather then just making up whatever she wants to.

Ah, Cardigan Welsh Corgis... LOL (eye roll)

Plus, I *really* don't want her jumping off the A-frame midway down and hurting her little corgi legs or her back (Dog Forbid!!!). She makes very poor decisions when she's in what I call, "over drive." :-P

Edited by author Thu Apr 12, '12 8:09am PST

Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '12 10:17am PST 
way to go Have fun!

Agility is such a fun sport... what you really learn is how to function as a team. THAT is where you are heading. Only at the very beginning does dog have more to learn than you laugh out loud

Treats? Yep... but treats vary by dog. They can be food, tugging (Charks considers this much better than food), or retrieves (higher than food; lower than tugs on the Chark-o-meter). If the course lets Charka really move... she's less interested in treats than obstacles thinking Certain obstacles actually become self-rewarding (within limits).

As beginner, the most important objective here is for both of you to HAVE FUN. And just remember that you ARE a team... so, when pup messes up? 99.9% of the time, it's your fault! wave

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Sun Apr 15, '12 8:33pm PST 
Hey guys wave Thanks so much for all the replies and tips, and your shared experiences. Farley and I just got back from our first beginner class and I have to say, he LOVED it. Actually, we both loved it!! We're going through a cold snap right now so I was actually almost freezing but we kicked butt!

The trainer is great- very knowledgeable and experienced, and very encouraging of positive methods. Farley REALLY impressed me so far with this first class. He was SO willing to work and learn, and he was super confident with all the equipment he was introduced to so far- it was like he'd been doing it forever. The trainer was very impressed with how fast he picked up on things and his level of confidence big grin
There are some things we'll have to work on, like focusing on me when there are tons of distractions, as well as proofing his obedience under the different conditions, but all in all it was a very positive for Farley and I so far, and I can't wait for our next class (Tuesday night)! snoopy
Shiloh ITD

Barked: Sat Apr 21, '12 1:18pm PST 
I'm glad to hear you both had a fun time! happy dance

Shiloh just started agility training last October. She is also 6 years old! You're right, old dogs CAN learn new tricks!

Shiloh was distracted the first few classes, but she soon started to focus on me. Farley will probably have better focus at the next class. smile

Edited by author Sat Apr 21, '12 1:19pm PST