Agility

What is agility training?

Agility is a fun sport for dogs which involves running an "obstacle course" comprised of jumps, tunnels, hoops, weaves, see-saw, A-Frame, and dogwalk. Agility is a wonderful outlet for doggie energy and great for building confidence in tentative dogs. Agility also forces you to develop superior teamwork and communication with your dog. You will be amazed at how quickly and easily he learns and how hard you have to work to keep up with him, both mentally and physically!

Tip Top Dog Training offers agility classes both for those who wish to have fun with the family dog, and for those interested in competition. For those interested in competitive agility, more advanced classes will be added in 2010. Advancement to higher level class is dependent upon skill level, not just attendance.

What are the requirements for enrolling?

Participating in agility training is just about the most fun you will ever have with your dog. However, it isn't fun if someone gets hurt. The most common way that dogs get injured is by being out of control and jumping onto or off of obstacles unsafely. Therefore, dogs who enroll in Agility need to have basic skills and handlers must have good control of their dogs. Generally, successful completion of at least Puppy II or Family Dog I will be required (you must have attended the majority of the sessions and your dog by and large met the goals of the class). Most of Agility I is done on lead; however if you wish to progress past the beginner level, it is very important for your dog to have a prompt and reliable recall. After Agility I, most agility work is done off-leash. You will not have much fun in class if you have to spend all your time trying to retrieve your dog while the rest of us are working on the course. Also, since dogs will be working off leash, they must be reliably friendly with other dogs. Dogs must be able to quiet on command and must not bark while working or while other dogs are working.

The health check requirements are the same as for all other group classes. Dogs must be physically sound and in good physical condition. Exceptions can be made in some cases, but be sure that you have your vet's approval and that we are aware of your dog's limitations. For example, some dogs should not jump or weave, but can enjoy limited participation with the other obstacles. Dogs under 18 months will not be permitted to jump heights above their elbow height. You also need to be in good enough physical condition to run with your dog.

Classes offered

Class levels are organized by skill set. Beginner students will start in Agility I. When you think you are ready to move up to the next level, you can ask for a skills test. If you pass the skills test, you would then begin coming to the classes for the next level. On average, I expect most students to be able to move up from Agility I to Agility II after about 8-10 lessons, and from Agility II to Advanced Agility after about 12-16 additional lessons.

Level
Pre-Requisite
Class Covers
Agility I
  • Puppy II or Family Dog I*
  • Can sit, lie down, stay & come (with help ok)
  • Impeccably friendly with people
  • Reliably friendly with other dogs
  • Able to be quiet when waiting or working
Introduction to agility, safety, agility rules and etiquette, obstacle training, contact training, basic control commands, short sequences (2-4 obstacles). On-leash.
Agility II
  • Correct and confident on all obstacles
  • Jog a short course (no obstacles) withhandler on both sides, off leash
  • Demonstrate "here" and "away" commands
  • Go-out to a target 15 feet away and sit or down at target
  • Execute 3 jumps in sequence away from handler to a target
  • Skill Test
Improved obstacle performance, full height obstacles, send-aways, handling on both sides, left and right turns, moving control commands, medium length sequences (5-12 obstacles). Some off-leash work.
Advanced Agility
  • Demonstrate correct performance on all contact obstacles without prompting from handler to touch contact zones
  • Weave six poles in line (with guides ok)
  • Execute a right turn and a left turn with verbal command only
  • Execute a "wait" or "down" while in motion
  • Execute 3 jumps in sequence away from handler without a target
  • Skill Test
Advanced concepts: obstacle discrimination, call-offs, change of sides, traps, reverses, crossing patterns, distance work, adding speed, full jump heights, full length sequences (13-22 obstacles). Off-leash.

*Sorry, those who have not taken a group class with Tip Top Dog Training are not eligible to enroll in Agility. Even if you have taken lessons elsewhere previously, I need to have observed your dog in a group setting and know that your dog understands what I expect students to have learned before beginning agility training. A little extra practice never hurt anyone, so you'll need to sign up for a Family Dog class before enrolling in Agility.

Schedule and fees

Agility lessons are held according to the following schedule. Please review the schedule for dates and times. Classes are 60 minutes long. To allow greater flexibility, you do not have to come to each class in sequence. Instead, you may purchase a given number of lessons and use them whenever you like. If you will be out of town one week, you can skip that week. Students who finish Family Dog I or Puppy II later in the year can still start Agility when they are ready and thus don't have to wait until the following year.

You can purchase classes according to the fees scale below, the more you buy the cheaper they get - but be sure you'll be able to use whatever you buy before November 30th. If you use up all of your lessons and wish to continue, you can buy more according to this same fee schedule. There are NO REFUNDS for unused lessons.

2009 Agility Fees

# Lessons
1
2
4
6
8
10
12
Fee
$15
$25
$40
$57
$72
$85
$96

If you purchase a single lesson to try out agility, and then decide you would like to sign up for more, you may put the cost of the single lesson towards your lesson purchase.

Cancellations

Cancellations are extremely rare. Class will NOT be cancelled except in severe inclement weather: snow on the ground, tornados, dangerous thunderstorms, or dangerous heat. Cold weather or rain will not result in a cancellation.

Registration

To register for Agility, please fill out and mail in the registration form along with your fee and any necessary health certification. Your registration form and fee must be received in order to hold a place in class.

I will accept up to 12 active registrations for each level class at one time. That means that on any given day, there might be as many as 12 dogs in a class. However, assuming that some percentage of people will be absent on a particular day, there will probably be fewer. My goal is to average 8 dogs per class. If you want a lot of individual attention, come on the rainy days!

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs must be under control at all times.
  • Dogs must be leashed when not working.
  • Dogs who behave aggressively toward or who repeatedly interfere with other dogs will be excused from class.
  • Dogs who bark uncontrollably and cannot be quited by their handlers will be excused from class.
  • Equipment safety rules must be observed at all times. Please report any equipment problems promptly.
  • Dogs must be taken outside the agility area to eliminate. Please pick up after your dog.
  • Warm up your dog with a brisk 20 minute walk before coming to class.
  • Handlers must wear rubber-soled athletic shoes. No sandals or flip flops.

What do I need to bring to class?

  • Classes are held outdoors. Please dress appropriately in layered clothing that you don't mind getting dirty and grass stained.
  • Rubber-soled athletic shoes with good traction are a must. NO sandals or flip flops!
  • Please bring your dog on a combo collar or Gentle Leader with a 6-foot leash. NO slip collars. NO flexi-leads.
  • You will also need an 8-10" long 'tab' lead.
  • Appropriate food and toy motivators for your dog.
  • A small bait target which can be filled with food but which you dog cannot open. Examples: A film canister, a small tupperware container with a lid, a small zippered bait bag, a jackpot toy (example).
  • A flat, visible target such as a round Tupperware lid or small Frisbee.
  • Water and a bowl for your dog.
  • Water for yourself.
  • Lawnchair for spectators.

 

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