Foundation Agility Training - Introduction
The most important part of Agility training is laying a solid foundation. Think of it as building a pyramid. The core foundation skills are at the base and once learnt provide the skills to develop equipment proficiency, improving handling skills and a competitive canine.
Throughout your Agility career you will continue to revisit, refresh and refine these foundation skills, they are that important!
Examples of foundation skills include learning to focus forward, left and rights, contact positions and how to teach the turns. You can practice foundation skills virtually anywhere, hence the alternative name ‘flat work’. All you need is some space, your dog, you and plenty of rewards!
We know that the equipment on the agility course can be very tempting and looks fun to do. It seems as though all you need to do is turn up, point your dog and they will naturally do everything. Like anything in life unfortunately it’s not that simple!
The flat work provides the basis for making the equipment training easier and ultimately more fun.
A typical First week of Foundation
What do you need to bring?
You and your dog! We recommend a lead / harness and rewards (treats, tuggys etc). We will try and work off lead but if you do need to use the lead then it is preferable that they are not attached directly to the dogs (neck) collar (hence need for harness).
What will we learn?
- Hierarchy of cues and what they mean, difference between extension and collection
- Working with your dog on the flat – following body movement
- The 4 basic turns and concept of ‘lead leg’
- Systematic approach to teaching stopped contacts
- Extension and ‘GO’ with pipe tunnel
- Shaping the ‘jumping’ type obstacles (note the dogs will not be doing any jumping at this stage)
What will we do in class?
Each week we will incorporate 1 or more new obstacles, obstacles from previous week, some flatwork and some discussion / demonstration on 'home work' in preparation for future classes. Obviously how much we progress depends on progress for the dogs.
The class will be limited in size to allow more time and focus on individual needs and questions.
- All contact equipment will either be on the ground or our specially made low training equipment.
- You will not be learning the See-Saw or Weaves in this class.
- From this class you will progress into the beginners class, where dogs will learn all the equipment and start to put together sequences.