DogPACT offered several for-competition agility classes, ranging from foundation skills through advanced competition, until June 2018 when we lost our primary training location. As a result, Terry Long, CPDT-KA, owner and founder of DogPACT and its lead agility trainer, now teaches just two competition classes in Long Beach at the spcaLA on Thursday evenings. She has been teaching at that location for several years. If you would like to get on the waiting list for those classes or would like more information about them, please contact us.
The material below is for educational purposes only. Our intent is to get you started in the right direction so that you can decide if this sport is for you.
This is a fun and exciting game where both human and dog participate equally. It is a sport than exemplifies teamwork. With the human half of the team directing the show, the canine half jumps over hurdles, balances a teeter-totter, climbs an A-frame and a dogwalk, runs through tunnels, and slaloms through poles.
Although not everyone will choose to compete, you should look for a class that will build solid foundation skills so that you will not have to do a lot of retraining if/when you choose to compete. Retraining is much more difficult than training it right the first time!
Competition agility classes are typically much different from recreational agility classes. That is because the goal in competition classes is to build a strong foundation of skills for both dog and handler. The instructors who teach foundation skills for competition agility usually assign homework each week, and an emphasis is put on slowly and methodically building handler and dog skills, both of which will be leveraged throughout the weeks and months spent in progressing to sequencing and running full courses. The ultimate goal is your dog’s independent performance of the obstacles so that you can be ahead of your dog, directing him/her through the course. The emphasis in the early weeks and sometimes months is NOT on performing agility equipment.
Recreational agility classes usually focus on getting dogs on the equipment quickly, and they do not spend as much time teaching people the handling skills they will need later. This works really well for people who don't think they want to compete or who don't want a lot of homework. Recreational agility is great for a night out with your dog! Some training facilities teach excellent recreational agility and even offer their own in-house competitions.
Dogs who do best in competition agility classes are those who have a good working relationship with their owners, and have mastered basic obedience skills such as Sit, Stay, Down, Leash Manners, Leave It, Come When Called, etc., in the midst of distractions. Dogs that do well in recreational agility do not necessarily need those skills, and many of the classes are done on leash at the beginning.
So think about your goals, go watch an agility competition, assess your dog’s interests and aptitude, and choose the route that is best for both of you. It’s all fun!
There are some dogs for whom group classes are NOT appropriate. These include dogs who are reactive (overly stimulated, barking, lunging, etc.) and dogs who are aggressive with other dogs or people, or dogs who are extremely fearful.
If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, a group class may not be a good learning environment for your dog. If you would like help with any of those issues, please Contact Us. We can help you start a behavior modification program to address these issues.
For links to a variety of agility-related Websites, see our Resources pages.
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