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Agility classes


dogsgalore
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Well I guess you could ask about minimum age to join - if they don't have one obviously they are uneducated and I wouldn't go there. Ask about warm up exercises, again, they should reccomend something. Umm, I can't really think of anything else, the only way to find out if she's up to it and if she'll enjoy it I guess is just to take her along! :D

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I would ask what the class size limit is. If this is a beginners class with 1 instructor, I would want the class limited to 6. If there will be at least one assistant to the instructor, perhaps 8. Otherwise you will be standing around trying to keep your dog focused quite a lot.
I assume you have TOTAL control over Jesse? Dogs can get very excited in classes like this and want to rush over to other dogs to play or wrestle or sometimes fight. When you go to class, observe the other handlers with their dogs. If you see a person, young or old, who obviously cannot control their dog, see if the instructor manages that situation properly. If not and depending on the dog and their level of 'wildness', I would either ask the instructor to ensure the safety of all or withdraw from the class.
I have been in a class where a young person was way over her head as far as controlling her large dog, her dog nailed Candy twice. I also have to take care with Candy because she is normally fine with other dogs rushing over but not if I am giving her a treat or playing with a toy, she then becomes very territorial and will go after the approching dog.
On the first night, take a HUGE amount of cut up treats with you as well as a favorite toy. The instructor will let you know if both are beneficial and to be used in their class, this way you will have them if so. You want little bitty treats, so cut normal sized ones into pieces. For one thing, this makes your treats go a little farther, plus, you don't want your dog chewing a large chunk while you are ready for the next exercise.
Get there at least 15 minutes early and potty your dog in a designated area. Encouraging your dog to stretch is good, also you can do a bit of heeling back and forth, sits, sit ups, downs, just warm up stuff. If your dog heels on your left, start teaching them to work on your right as well. Give that a specific command like 'side' or 'other' or whatever sounds good to you and your dog. I like to start out with my dog heeling on my left, walk forward several paces, turn about to MY left into my dog which puts them on my right and walk the other way.
Make sure you take water with you for your dog tho they might have water pails there.
Mostly, hope you have a wonderful time with Jesse in class and I'll be happy to answer any other questions you may have.

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For warm ups I try to make them as fun as possible to get full attention. I'll do a few fun tricks (Montie spins, bows, dances and walks backwards) and incorperate some downs, sits etc. Then I'll do some "with me"s, teaching the dog to remain on your side that your arm is out, to teach this just hold a bit of food in each hand and run along, doing turns and changing your hand that is out, making sure your dog realises it is now THIS hand that is offering the treats. Its a great warm up exercise, as it warms you up as well as your dog, and gets your dog focusing on your leading hand. Then I'll incorperate a jump or another obsticle into the with me's, if your just beggining and your dog doesn't understand the obsticles though of course you wont be doing this! Pretty much, start off more slowly, then faster, then add obsticles one at a time to warm the dog up for the jumps ahead :wink:

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