FLAOA's agility czar, Celeste Rega, is on sabbatic until fall. In her absence, we're fortunate enough to tap into the skills and knowledge of Fernando Soberon, talking him into offering some Just For Fun (JFF) agility classes. We've named them "JFF" because he does not use the same methods and techniques in his training that Celeste does. Those who enroll in the spring JFF Agility classes that we offer, and then decide to continue on with classes with us in the fall, may find themselves having to retrain some things; hence we wanted to make a distinction between Fernando's classes and the classes that are regularly offered by Celeste. Prior to moving to the Ithaca area, Fernando trained and competed quite successfully in agility in Mexico with his Australian Cattle Dogs. (Wife Melanie brings the Golden to the mix!)
For the summer of 2009, FLAOA will NOT offer any agility classes.
Hopefully, we won't have any of the white stuff shown above during our classes; however, given the area's reputation for less-than-wonderful weather...
Agility is a great way to have fun with your canine companion. It can instill confidence in the shy dog and teach self-control to the over-zealous. In brief, it's a sport in which a dog runs through a timed obstacle course as directed by the handler. Agility training strengthens the bond between dog and handler, and provides fun and exercise for both.
All FLAOA agility classes are taught in a positive, reward-based atmosphere. The use of the clicker training method is taught and encouraged but not mandatory.
7 week (1 hour) class that introduces dogs and handlers to the various agility equipment used in competition and allows them to become familiar with its execution. It begins teaching the basic handling skills necessary for directing the dog to perform individual obstacles. NOTE: No dogs 1st week.
Equipment performance that will be covered:
find the opening of the chute, tire and tunnel
chute fast and straight
tunnels dealing with the bend
contacts methods target, word or clicker
weave poles introduced
moving objects are OK - Buja board and low teetering planks
jump chutes (intro of jumping skills and parallel motion)
follow the hand
learning to target
motivation and teamwork (dog needs to work with handler, but not to the point of being velcro)
small sequences 2-3 obstacles
table (automatic down /sit on command)
Then and Now
6 week (1 hour) class that picks up where the Beginner Agility class ended. This class further familiarizes the dogs with the equipment and starts teaching the handler some of the basic techniques of agility handling required to execute sequences of obstacles. Some of the things that will be covered:
contact obstacles introduced low and raised
weave poles continued
jumping skills continued
handler skills introduced front and back crosses
go on (continue in front of handler)
get out (move side ways to handler)
tunnel dog can find either side
6 week (1 hour) This class will move from obstacle familiarization to working as a team. Each handler must become familiar with how their individual dog works in order to properly address areas of the agility courses that might cause a handling problem.
incorporating handling skills smooth arms, shoulders, etc.
how to walk a course
independent performance of obstacles
6 week (1 hour) class that teaches handlers how to maneuver their dogs through more difficult sequences than previously seen and trains the dogs how to execute those sequences in the process.
4 week (2 hour) class that introduces potential competitors, who are considering entering a trial for the first time, to the methods of getting information about trials, trial entries, what they need to do to meet entry requirements (AKC, NADAC, USDAA), what equipment they will need for themselves and their dogs, what to expect, how they can help out and other valuable information. Each week a Course will be set up by the participants, they will act as ring crew, timers, scribes, gate stewards and fill other jobs for experience and take turns running the course with their dogs.