Agility for Beginners Course
In our beginners course, we cover the basic items of agility equipment - jumps, tunnels, weaves, tyre and the basic principles of teaching your dog contact equipment.
Chico proves that it is not just collies who can do agility!
Our aim is for your dog to truly understand what is required of it for every item of equipment. It can be quite confusing for a dog (and handler) when they are first learning agility as you will need to think about what commands you are giving, what your body language is saying to your dog and the timing of your commands and rewards. By breaking down each obstacle into small steps, and by using lots and lots of motivation and rewards, we make it easy for you and your dog to learn.
Body language plays a very important part in agility, especially when you want your dog to work away from you
By taking things slowly in the early stages, your dog will learn very quickly and remain confident about what you want them to do. At a later stage it will mean that your dog can complete all obstacles, regardless of where you are positioned and whether or not they can see their reward! This makes your dog more confident and independent in their agility and leads to faster runs - the goal of any agility dog handler!!!
Our methods are especially suitable for dogs who are generally nervous and reserved. The difference from when they first attend when they are gently encouraged to reveal their natural inner drive and confidence can make them appear unrecognisable to observers later on in their courses. We take particular pride in helping these dogs.
Focus on Foundation Skills . . .
A large part of our beginners courses focus on Foundation Training - understanding handlers body language and commands - as this is an essential part of any potential agility dogs learning. This will enable your dog to learn and progress swiftly once equipment is introduced.
Foundation skills include:
* solid wait and release command
* reliable recall
* engaging in play with your dog (with and without toys)
* directional commands - turning left and right
* flatwork skills - basic principles of following your body language
* learning to work and play in the presence of distractions
* working away from you to a reward (toy or food)
* rear-end awareness
* marking correct behaviour and timing rewards
At the end of your first course, there is always the opportunity to continue on to further blocks. We find that the majority of our handlers and dogs choose to carry on as they have had fun and made many new friends. There are always new things to learn about in agility to improve your handling and performance no matter how successful you are - ask any experienced handler - there are always areas they would like to improve upon.
While you are welcome to stay in the same class with the friends you have made. We are also happy to re-assess you and your dog at regular intervals to ensure your class matches the level you and your dog are at. If you are ready to progress, you will be given the opportunity to move up a level, or if you feel you would benefit from revisiting some of the "basics" you can re-enrol in one of the beginner classes. All dogs progress at different paces and it is always best to be in a group where you are at a similar level to other dogs.