Agility classes or train on own?

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

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I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Sun May 13, '12 9:16pm PST 
I have been running agility for more than 10 years as have a number of friends. Everybody I know is in classes and I know people with Platinum level titles in USDAA and I don't know how many II behind the MACHs.

I suspect you would benefit from a private lesson. Maybe just one private would guide you to get the most out of the classes you are in.
Rio, CGC,- RL1, CL1, TD

You can't say- that i can't- play!
Barked: Mon May 14, '12 7:24am PST 
What I get most out of my agility class/lesson is having someone there watching MY movements. Even if i filmed and watched every second of practice with my dogs, I wouldn't get the instant feedback that my instructor can give me--"You are pushing in too early here and he's taking it to mean skip that jump and go elsewhere".

Sometimes success is the difference between pushing a foot too early or turning my shoulders just a few degrees too sharp. These are things that I couldn't pick up on without seeing myself run... which I could do if i filmed everything but the feedback comes so far after the behavior that correcting it becomes more difficult. If, while i'm re-running a sequence, I hear "yes!" from my instructor I know I corrected my mistake and we are on the right track.

I also think having an good instructor makings you a better problem solver... my instructor will throw me through loops.... i run the course the way it feels best for me the first few times... then he'll say..."okay, so between 5 and 6 you forget to front cross... it's going to be hard but how can you correct yourself?" we come up with a solution and then I run the less than ideal course.. maybe now i have to rear cross, blind cross or front cross later... OR he'll suddenly say.... okay... you've got 10 seconds....now run it backwards!

Anyhow..the feedback I get from my trainer is so valuable and not something i could replicate on my own smile

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Mon May 14, '12 1:04pm PST 
I would stick with the classes to have a super solid foundation for the obstacles...but if you're wanting to move ahead faster on sequences I'd hire an instructor for a private lesson. You can do both at the same time if you have enough time and/or money. Or maybe expand your horizons and look for classes outside your usual range...maybe you wouldn't mind driving a bit further away for a class or lesson on the weekend for example(?)

Keeping your dog engaged during downtime or staying focused on things your dog already knows is actually great experience for you as a handler. Quite honestly there's a lot of waiting in agility and learning to deal with that is part of the whole process, for both you and your dog.

Shadow- *CGC*CL2*CL3- *

Is it time for- agility yet?
Barked: Mon May 14, '12 6:04pm PST 
I am looking into private lessons, and have gotten the name of a really good trainer in my area. Hopefully that will help. One of the instructors is also helping me with my handling on the weekends since we don't really do any handling during class and Shadow is entered into a trial at the beginning of June. We are sticking with the classes, and once we're finished with this session we have a course based on handling with a really good instructor. Hopefully this is just a speed bump at the club, if not I will definitely find somewhere else to go.

I've been watching at agility trials for about a year now so I know how much handling goes into it(I think we work harder than the dogs do).

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Tue May 15, '12 6:29am PST 
Yes, if you're handling and/or showing the dog at their best, you should be doing more 'work' and the dog should be having more fun. big grin

Best of luck in your classes and with your private lessons!

Member Since
Barked: Wed May 16, '12 12:31pm PST 
I think you've gotten some awesome advice. I've enjoyed reading this thread, too.

The only thing I would like to add is that with so many different venues for agility, AKC, UKC, and the other pet registries along with whether you are going to be working with weavers, jumpers, preferred, or some other special class, it's important to make sure that you have the rules down pat in that venue/class before competing.

If you feel like you are well versed in the venue and you just need to tweak some things here and there, I don't see a huge problem with taking a break from traditional classes and finding a private tutor.

I know that my dog is fine with agility in large classes, but does much better learning obedience in a one-on-one environment and alot of that has to do with building focus.
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