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When can we start agility?

Discussion in 'Agility/Obedience' started by Box Boys, Jan 30, 2009.

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  1. Box Boys

    Box Boys Boxer Insane

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    Buster will be 8 months old next week. Is it still too early to begin agility training? He was in a puppy class when younger, but we haven't done any other obedience classes. I think I should probably start with that first before agility.
     
  2. Jan

    Jan Reasonable Moderator Staff Member

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    You really shouldn't start until 18 months. I would do a couple of classes in obedience first. A strong foundation in obedience will help when you start agility.

    Good luck!
     
  3. DiverDiva

    DiverDiva Boxer Insane

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    At my training facility, 1 year is the minimum age to start class, but to be truthful, most 1 year old dogs are still too puppy-silly and unfocused to get much out of the classes. There are exceptions, of course, but they are usually the dogs that have had a lot of other training classes. I know it sounds mundane, but if you work on obedience, that is so helpful. If your dog has a really good, enthusiastic recall and reliable sit-stay and down-stay, that is very useful, and your instrucor will really appreciate those skills.

    If you do choose to use obedience training to get ready for agility, focus on quick resonses to the commands, rather than the perfect body positioning that is so important in obedience trials. For example, you want to work on your dog responding really quickly to the recall command, and don't worry so much about getting a perfect front. Also, work on using toys as a reward. Then you have the option of tossing the toy when you want the dog to move away from you. He doesn't have to come back to you to get his prize.

    There are some trainers that offer specific puppy agility courses, and if you can find one of those, that would be great.
     
  4. Box Boys

    Box Boys Boxer Insane

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    Thank you for those tips. I will wait awhile longer to begin agility and will get us signed up for more obedience classes. Buster has a good sit-stay and down-stay and his recall in his puppy class was good....it's not always good at home though (for instance, when he's outside and I need him to come in). So, we have many things to work on before agility.
     
  5. DiverDiva

    DiverDiva Boxer Insane

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    I didn't mean for my post to read as though I own or operate a training facility. The policies I described are what is in force at the place where we take classes.
     
  6. karens

    karens Boxer Insane

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    I think there's pros and cons to starting early and waiting and a lot of that depends on you and your dog. Starting early gets the dogs used to the agility equipment, which they can be afraid of later on in life. I happen to be so lucky to work with a great trainer that will tell you if your dog is ready or not. I wish I was able to get my boxer in a class at a younger age, as getting him through the tunnel was months worth of work. Being a boxer, he to this day can get distracted and I half wonder if we would have a better working bond had I started younger. He had been through many obedience classes. With him, I MUST have a tug toy to keep engaged, like most boxers, they are always looking for the next fun thing to do. I have a Giant Schnauzer that I started in agility when he was three months old. He's taken to it famously. (Of course, with younger dogs, you need to wait to start jumping them at full height.) It really depends on your dog, you and your trainer. My boy just completed his second CPE trial. We came home from both tired and with a couple of ribbons! Good luck and have fun!
     
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