Intelligent Agility 
intelligentagility@gmail.com       

FAQs

FAQs:

1) Is obedience training a prerequisite for agility training?
2) Is a standard leash fine for agility?
3) How do you get my dog to use the agility equipment?
4) What sort of treats should I use in agility class?
5) How old does my dog need to be to start agility?
6) Do I have to want to compete in agility in order to participate in classes?
7) Is agility training safe?
8) Do I need to practice at home?
9) What is Intelligent Agility’s opinion of dog parks?
10) My dog does not like other dogs. Is this ok for agility class?
11) My dog is often fearful of new things. Would this be a problem in agility class?
12)
What if my dog does not like strangers coming near or touching my dog?
13) What is your policy on children in class?

Is obedience training a prerequisite for agility training?

Yes. Agility training is an extension of obedience training. Puppy and adult training classes are ideal before beginning agility, and in home training is acceptable as well. But we think obedience classes are best because of the socialization it provides the dogs. It also gets your dog used to being around other well behaved dogs.

 

Is a standard leash fine for agility?

Actually, after the first two weeks of beginning agility training your dog will need a harness in order to take on the contact equipment (A frame, dog walk, teeter-totter, etc.). During those first two weeks a standard leash is fine, but never bring a retractable leash to class.  We also do not allow choke chains or pinch collars in class.

 How do you get my dog to use the agility equipment?

Most dogs respond well to Praise, Encouragement and Treats (PET) and eventually verbal and non-verbal commands. If your dog is not food driven, then a favorite toy can be used.

 What sort of treats should I use in agility class?

Something that your dog really, really likes. Protein based treats are usually the most effective. Treats like Milk Bone Dog Biscuits are usually the least effective, and they make your dog very thirsty. Low fat turkey hot dogs, low fat cheese or even treats with a smokey smell like Buffalo Bites are great for getting your dog to conquer obstacles like the A frame and dog walk. You are welcome to bring your own treats, and we also sell treats in class. Always let us know if your dog is allergic to any types of food.

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 How old does my dog need to be to start agility?

That depends on the type of dog. Smaller breeds can start as young as 8 months, while larger breeds, because it takes more time for their bones to develop, can start as young as 9-10 months old. We can give you a better answer based on the breed or mix of your dog.

 

Do I have to want to compete in agility in order to participate in classes?

No. Most students start agility to have fun and bond with their dog. Some dogs will decide to go on to compete, but the vast majority of dogs and their partners can get all the benefits they are looking for from recreational agility. Competitive agility is a far more serious form of agility training and can lack the whimsy often associated with the environment of a recreational agility class.

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Is agility training safe?

There are some risks involved with agility, just like there can be risks taking your dog for a walk in the park. At Intelligent Agility, safety is a fundamental priority.  Harnesses are required so that your dog will not suffer any neck injuries. We use a breakaway tire jump. And we never use metal jumps, because it is just too easy, especially in beginning agility, for dogs and their handlers to run into jumps. We never push you or your dog beyond your limits. And your dog will be amongst other well behaved dogs in class who also have been through obedience training.


Do I need to practice at home?

The more you practice what you have learned in class, the faster your dog will improve. The most effective type of equipment to practice with at home are jumps, since there are more jumps on an agility course than any other obstacle. Improving obedience commands are the other most important things to practice at home. We will also give you exercises in class for you to work on at home.


What is Intelligent Agility’s opinion of dog parks?

We do not take our own dog to dog parks. That should answer the question. But to be more specific, despite their popularity, dog park environments sometimes lead to dogs becoming more aggressive and/or fearful of other dogs. Most of the time dog parks are probably fine, but we just are not willing to take that sort of risk with our dog. The problem is not usually with the dogs, but with people. We have witnessed first hand people bringing their dog to a dog park after their dog had previously attacked another dog at that dog park. We have also seen people and their dog banned from a dog park because of the dog's aggressive behavior, just to see the people take that same dog to different dog park. We don't consider this to be the dog's fault.

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My dog does not like other dogs. Is this ok for agility class?

It depends. Some breeds, such as the Schnauzer, generally do not like other dogs but usually aggression can be curbed through obedience training (we are not knocking Schnauzers – we had one at home. And they are generally very good at agility.). If after obedience training your dog still shows aggression towards other dogs, then private lessons would be more appropriate. Some agility trainers offer private classes, but we do not at this time.


My dog is often fearful of new things. Would this be a problem in agility class?

Not at all. Agility class is a great way to build your dog’s confidence and trust in you.


What is your policy on children in class?

Children may come to class as long as they are not a distraction to any of the dogs in class. At no time is a small child to be on the agility course or on any of the equipment.

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