It’s sometimes hard to know where to start when you’re starting your agility journey. To help you decide if agility is for you, we’ve put together a list of frequently asked question that we hope will help give you a sense of what to expect before enrolling in our 8 week Introduction to Agility Course.
Even if you already know you’d like to register, we’d encourage you to have a quick read of this information. If you’re ready to sign-up, please fill in the Intro Interest Form, and we’ll be in touch as soon as we can.
Even though our agility classes start at 12 months, there are a lot of things that are helpful to teach your pre-agility dog:
- Come when called around distractions
- Wait until released
- To follow you and your movements if you change direction
Yes! Dogs will stay on leash for the first couple of weeks of introductory class, but quickly move to working off leash so it’s important that your dog comes when called – even around distractions. Agility class is not the environment for your dog to learn how to come when called.
We allow dogs 12 months and over that are in good health to participate in our agility classes.
The New Zealand Kennel Club has specific rules around what age dogs can do certain obstacles due to physical immaturity. Dogs must be 16 months old to graduate from our introductory course into our skills course with weaves and contact equipment – if they started at 4 months in introductory it would be a long 12 months repeating the introductory course!
Your dog should be in good physical condition before starting agility. Jumping puts stress on the joints and if your dog is carrying excess weight this adds to the strain on those joints. As for the handler, the fitter you are, the easier it is to keep up with your dog. In saying that, there are training techniques you can learn and use if you find keeping up with your dog a physical challenge. We have members of all ages, fitness levels and physical abilities competing in agility.
No. Your dog needs to be in good shape prior to starting agility training. Jumping is physically hard on dogs, and this is made even harder by any extra weight they are carrying. It is in your dog’s best interest to ensure they are trim and fit before starting agility training.
No-- we do train at all times of year, but if the grounds are wet, we cancel the nights training, and post this information to our Facebook page. Your instructor will then notify you of the plan to make up the time by possibly adding sessions to the course after the finish date.
That's okay-- while we don't offer additional make-up sessions, if you let our Instructors know, they can give you a sense of what you might be missing, and even give you a bit of homework so you don't get behind!
Not really. Agility is all about you and your dog learning to play and work together. Your dog should learn to think you are the most exciting thing at training, not the other dogs.
Any breed of dog can participate in and enjoying agility! At our club we have a wide range of breeds. Unfortunately, under Schedule 4 of the New Zealand Dog Control Act (1966) we cannot allow the following breeds/types to attend training at our club: Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa, Perro de Presa Canario and American Pit Bull Terrier.
The more you practice what you learn in class, the faster you will improve. Many skills do not require equipment and some things can be taught with objects from around the house and a little imagination.
The short answer is little but often. Ideally, you should train something (any trick or behaviour) almost every day but only for short sessions, 5 – 10 min max. This is easy enough to do in an advert break while watching your favourite TV show! You can even practice your ‘wait’ training every time you give your dog their dinner.
This really depends on how much time you put into your dog. If you complete the 8 week Introductory Agility class you should have the basic foundation skills to get around a simple course at competition, however, this just provides you with the basic skills. Most people usually start competing after they have learned a few more handling skills and have built up their confidence as a dog-handler team. This is usually around 6-12 months.
Throughout the intro class, you’ll build up the skills and the knowledge you need to start feel confident doing dog agility with your dog. As the course progresses, we’ll also provide you with access to many resources to help better your understanding of how agility events and competitions work, as well as how you might like to continue on in your agility journey.
No! Many of our members decide to go on to compete, but you will never be pressured to! We also have members who simply want a challenge with their dog in a fun and positive training environment. We’ll support you no matter what your goals are!