1 Beginner Agility Week 1 Introduce self, dogs and the sport of Agility! Goals for Beginner Agility class: o Build teamwork o Help your dog learn to work with distractions o Introduce all Agility obstacles o Learn basic handling o Continue advancing your dog in all basic obedience skills Canine reactivity to sports- Some dogs become extremely excited around other dogs when activity begins o Owner responsible for own dog s behavior! Maintain control over your dog, please. Don t be afraid to ask for help if your dog gets frightened, overly excited or aggressive o What to look for in your dog or others: Hard eye-contact with other dogs (hard stare) Standing tall, tail up, ears forward and up What to do if a dog runs over to your dog Throw treats at other dog Keep playing/feeding your dog Don t try to create a negative association with the situation, or your dog may begin to get nervous when this happens. o What to do if your dog runs over to another Go get your dog Put back on leash and establish attention, reward and engage the dog in a game, trick, tug or some basic obedience skill practice (sit, down). o Prevention! Habit: Please try to avoid having your dog greet other dogs while on leash Practice your attention work Practice your relationship work Use a crate when possible to prevent stressful interactions with other dogs o Reinforcement builds behavior! Don t let dog practice what you don t want. For example, if you don t want your dog barking at other dogs, then work hard to keep their attention while other dogs are close by or on the agility equipment. This prevents the inappropriate behavior and helps the dog learn to pay attention to you, versus barking at other dogs. FIND-IT Game: This game helps teach your dog to pay attention to you!! Any time your dog gets distracted, begin playing this game to get them re-focused on you.
2 Relationship Building Games- The following games can be used to build up trust and a good working relationship with your dog. These games can be started at home, then you can begin using those that work for you while you are in class to help your dog stay focused on you. Why? Helps the dog stay focused on you when in a variety of situations. Agility is a very exciting sport for both dogs and humans, but it s important that your dog learns to pay attention to you, even with so much fun going on around him. Pick up most of your dog s toys. Toys are special! I keep favorite toys and interactive toys (tug toys, and balls) away and only bring them out when I am training or playing. By doing this, you are then able to begin using favorite toys as a reward and to help get and keep your dogs attention. When they toy comes out, it is FUN, FUN, FUN for your dog. Games of Tug: (Tug and release with release word) Tug Release for reward out give release mine Dog must be rewarded with a food reward for releasing the toy. Then you can begin the game again. Teeth on skin is inappropriate and the game should end if your dog makes a mistake *Collar grabs and Hand targeting Hand Targeting: Very important foundation agility skill. Begins with your dog nose-touching your open hand for a food reward. You can use a clicker to help train this trick if you d like. Collar Grabs: Anytime you reach for your dog s collar, add a cue word such as Gotcha, along with treats so that your dog will associate your reach with treats rather than avoiding you. You can begin to do this along with your recalls as your dog begins advance. *Stay with Release Always practice your stays! Stays in agility are considered FUNDUMENTAL skills you dog must know to safely and successfully do agility! Practice your stays as often as possible. o Why? Stay at the start line Helps with contact behavior Self control anywhere o Choose release word- ok, release free break o Sit release reward: Practice the following at home or other situations Crate open door release reward Door open door release reward o What to do if dog moves before release- reposition, make easier, try again, and find success! Luring: When we begin teaching our dogs to do the agility obstacles, we use a training technique called: Lure and Reward. We use the treat (or toy) to lure your dog across, over and through. Then they earn their reward. We will gradually lose the lure, and begin rewarding the dog upon completion of the agility obstacle.
3 Agility Equipment 101: Agility obstacles are divided into 3 main types: 1. Jumps- many types of jumps are used in agility courses including the tire jump 2. Contact Obstacles-teeter, dog walk, A-frame and the table 3. Tunnels- open tunnels and chute (closed tunnel) **Plus: Weave poles This class will expose you to all the agility equipment except the teeter-totter and with weave poles. These obstacles will have to wait until Advanced Beginner Agility. Today: planks on the ground, low jumps and jump uprights, scrunched tunnel, chute barrel, table, low A-Frame Homework Week 1 o Recalls Call dog Come!, when pup gets to you play interactively or reward rapid-fire-like treats (jackpot). Hide & seeko Collar grabs: Gotcha with food o Sit-stay and down-stay with release o Nose touch to hand-you can use your clicker o Body touches touch ears, toes, tails, etc. then while holding onto body part, reward with yummy treat. If your dog is particularly sensitive to any part, work on that part in small steps with high-value treats! o Follow the finger: Luring with food or toy o Walking and running on right side o Walking and running on left side o On Leash to Off Leash with rewards o Long, strenuous walk at least 3 times this week o Yard play: Ball fetching, running around, tug o Bring Target Plate for next week. This can be the top of a margarine, sour cream, yogurt, etc container. Bring this each week! This will be used to help us with our contact obstacles.
4 HOMEWORK WEEK 1 ~ INTERACTIVE GAMES TRAINING / PRACTICE CHART MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT SUN EXERCISE AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM Tug Sit-Tug Collar Grabs Gotcha Nose Touch- Stay with Release Recalls Get dat Ting! Send game Right side walking and circles Left side walking and circles Tug / Sit-Tug: encourage dog to tug on appropriate tug when asked. Reward with treat when toy dropped when asked (out, drop, give). To do so, let toy go dead, say out/drop/give, and reward. Stop playing if dog puts teeth on you and turn back for seconds. Try again. Collar grab: grab collar, give yummy treats while hand still in collar. Let go and repeat. Add cue when dog eagerly accepts grab with gimme that collar/collar/gotcha Nose touch: dog touches hand with nose, say yes or click and put treat in hand dog touched. Repeat many, many times! If strong to hand, use plexiglass or yogurt (preferably clear) as your next target. Stay Release: Stay in both sit and down. Release dog from multiple tasks getting out of crate, in/out of cars, doors, retrieving toy, etc. Release with word (OK, break, free) and reward with cookies, game of tug or send to toy to retrieve. The dog may need encouragement to move or take the toy the first few times. Soon they ll understand! Recalls: Practice recalls everywhere! When dog comes to you heavily reward with lots of small, yummy treats one after the other. Also try rewarding with a game of tug or favorite toy. Get that ting!: put dog on sit/stay. Start with toy placed about 12 from dog. Take collar and rev up (ready, steady, release word then say get dat ting! You may need to race the dog to the toy. Gradually increase distance of throwing toy. Send, recall and run with both sides of the dog when you play this game. Dog may only get the toy if you say get it.
5 Beginner Agility Week 2 Relationship / Foundation Building Games Continued Warm-up with sit, down, stay & release and eye-contact, Find-it, plus you can practice the following games to get your dog focused for class: o Hand targets hand to floor, above the dog, both sides o Target plates- begin by holding the target plate in your hand and ask for a nose touch on the target plate. Click/Treat. Then begin placing the target on the floor-click/treat a nose touch. Add distance if you dog picks this game up quickly. o Tug o Find It o Low A-Frame, Planks, jump poles, chute barrel, tunnel Jumping 101: Using jump uprights only we are preparing your dog to begin jumping- Single-Jump exercises: Each week, we will begin class by practicing these exercises and more using just one jump. These are fundamental agility skills!!! 1. call your dog over the jump (through the uprights) while he is being held on the other side of the jump 2. run beside your dog so he goes over the jump (between the uprights). You can switch sides so that you are practicing this on both sides. 3. call your dog over the jump (through the uprights) while he is on a stay on the other side of the jump Obstacles- Continue working on these obstacles from last week, and add in the new-tire and A-Frame. Practice a stop at the end of the planks and A-Frame. Have your dog stop at the end (Contact Zone) and reward. You can even have your dog sit at the end. We will eventually build this into our contact behavior as we advance. Practice having your dog both Sit and Down on the Table. o Planks o Tunnels and Chute. Stretched out tunnel and chute with material scrunched up o Tire Jump o Table; Sit and Down on the table. Add a stay and release off the table o A-Frame; Low o Jump uprights/bar at 4 o Ground poles Handling o Circle work- helps your dog to learn to be on Both your right and left side! Use your voice to get your dog excited, then release to a toy or treat. Begin to build up from 1 circle to multiple circles before releasing. o Circle work with a change in direction: this becomes a Front Cross Homework Week 2 o Recalls twice daily at least with increasing distraction o Fundamental obedience exercises: Sit, Down, Stay, Watch, Loose-leash walking,
6 o Trick: Teach your dog a trick such as roll-over, weave through your legs, spin, highfive Demonstration o Nose-touch to hand; add in target plate. Practice until you can send your dog to the target plate and have him do a nose touch o At least 3 long, strenuous walks with your dog o As much interactive playtime with your dog o Tug and ball/frisbee play in your yard if possible o Circles: Both directions then throw toy o Interactive games that both you and your dog enjoys
7 Beginner Agility Week 3 Relationship / Foundation Building Games and Warm-up: o Sit, down, stay-release, Find-it o Practice and show: Hand targets and Target plates-target Challenge! See which dog can go the furthest to Touch the target plate. o Trick Showcase (remember, you were to teach your dog a trick this week) o Single Jump warm-ups. Call over and run with (both sides) o Contact planks and low A-fame with Stop in the contact zone. o Tunnels, Tire, Chute, Table Jumping Skills 101: Single jump at low height-running beside and call over **How high should I jump my dog? Young dogs should jump low heights! If your dog is under 9 months of age, severely restrict jumping for agility to below elbow height! If over 9 months (12 months in some cases), you can gradually increase jump height as your dog gains confidence and good jumping skills. For competition, your dog will be measured in order to determine his jump height. His height is from his shoulder/withers to the ground. Jump heights range from 4-26 depending on your dog and the organization you are competing in. Obviously, tall dogs jump higher than short dogs. Rear End Awareness- Helping your dog learn to jump properly o Bounce grid (at 8 ) 3 jumps in a row Calling over/recall Obstacles o Tunnel-stretched out and curved o Chute with Material (stretched out) o Table-add distance to the table (send your dog to the table) with sit or down o A-Frame (higher) with stop at the bottom. Add nose touch to either hand or target plate at the end of the A-Frame. o Tire jump-practice both sides running beside o Dog Walk (Low) if time permits this week and if your dogs are ready** Handling o Circle work- Right and Left o Circles with a switch in direction (Front Cross) o Spins-Right and Left-(Beginning of your Rear Cross) Motivational Sequences Tunnel-Tunnel loops Tunnel-Chute-Table (sit or down and Stay) Tunnel-Jump-Tunnel-Jump
8 Homework Week 3 o Recalls twice daily (3 times better if you can fit in schedule)! Increase distractions and distance of the recall o Nose touch to hand / target plate o Sit-Stay, Down-Stay with release o Stair contact behavior practice- (2-on-2-off) o Spins-Right and Left at your side. o Front cross on flat-remember to turn into your dog to switch sides o Circles right and left-increase your dog s speed and focus o At least 3x long, strenuous walk with your dog o As much yard play with motivational games, tricks, fetching and training as you can
9 Beginner Agility Week 4 Relationship / Foundation Building Games and Warm-up: Hand targets Both hands Target plate on the floor Sit-stay in front of obstacles; Jump (1 and 2 jumps), Tunnel, Tire and Chute Barrel Attention Game (Find it) Tricks: Weave through Legs, Spin, etc. Single-jump warm-ups (call over and beside jump) Circles right and left Obstacles-practice on your own o Dog Walk (low height) Practice nose touch/contact behavior at the end of the down contact o A-frame (low) with contact behavior/target plate/stop o Table with sit and down at a distance. Add Stay and release o Tire Jump-call through with sit, run beside. Single jump exercises with the tire jump o Tunnel: stretched out and bent o Chute with material Jumping Skills 101: Single Jump exercises Bounce Grid with low jumps: Call over and running beside Handling Circle work-right and Left Rear cross Spins first, then on flat Front cross- on the flat, and around the jump uprights (or low jump) both on the right and left, at the tunnel Motivational Sequences Straight Tunnel, Jump, Tunnel Straight Tunnel, Curve Tunnel, Chute Homework Week 4 o Recalls twice daily, sit-stay, down-stay with release Increase distractions and distance o Nose touch to hand / target plate while in position on stairs at home o Front cross and rear cross on flat o Extra exercise for you and your dog! At least 3 long, strenuous walks this week! o Heeling on Left and Right; Circles to Left and Right o Trick and motivational games you enjoy playing o Yard play, fetching, etc.
10 Beginner Agility Week 5 Warm-up: Sit, down, stay, circles, find-it, tricks, target plates (touch), follow the finger over single jump, call over single jump, stay in front of single jump, tunnels, chute Foundation Building Skills: Lead outs w/jump and tunnel Call over/through Stand laterally (both sides) Lead outs w/dog walk; stand laterally (both sides) and call dog to do the walk Handling: Circles-both directions, then switch Front cross: On flat, over low jump or jump uprights. Both sides. Front cross: At end of tunnel Rear cross: spin dog on the flat. Rear cross at tunnel Jumping Skills 101: o Bend Jump Grid o Bounce Jump Grid Obstacles: Dogwalk: Contact behavior at end or target plate Aframe: Contact behavior at end or target plate Tunnels: Stretched out and bent. Try sending your dog through the tunnel from a distance Chute: Encourage your dog to push quickly out to get their reward Table: Sit and down with stay and release Sequences: Tunnel, tire, table Jump grid to tunnel Jump grid to table Jump grid to chute Homework Week 5 o Recalls as many times as possible!! **Increase distractions and distance o Nose touch to hand / target plate while in contact position on stairs / plank o Crosses and circles, follow the finger o Exercise!!! At least 3 long, strenuous walks o Play, Play, Play (tug, fetch, get-it, tricks) o Check out:
11 Beginner Agility Week 6 Graduation Day!! Warm-up: Sit, down, stay, circles, find-it, tricks, target plates (touch), follow the finger over single jump, call over single jump, stay in front of single jump, tunnels, chute Lead outs w/jump and tunnel Call over/through Stand laterally (both sides) Lead outs w/dog walk; stand laterally (both sides) and call dog to do the walk Handling: Circles-both directions, then switch Front cross: Over low jump. Both sides. Front cross: At end of tunnel Rear cross: spin dog on the flat. Rear cross at tunnel Jumping Skills 101: o Bend Jump Grid o Curved Jump Grid Obstacles: Dogwalk: Contact behavior at end or target plate Aframe: Contact behavior at end or target plate Tunnels: Stretched out and bent. Try sending your dog through the tunnel from a distance Chute: Encourage your dog to push quickly out to get their reward Table: Sit and down with stay and release Sequences: Tunnel, tire, table, tire, tunnel Jump grid to tunnel to jump grid Dog Walk to tunnel to jump grid Jump grid to A-Frame to jump grid Homework Week 6 o Exercise- you and your dog o Motivational Games (fetch, circles) o Interactive Games (tug) o Play agility with anything you can put together in your yard- kids play tunnels, wood planks on cinderblocks, broomsticks on chairs, etc. o Go to an agility trial to watch! o Basic Obedience practice: sit, down, stay, recalls, attention o Tricks o Consider continuing with agility classes!!! Advanced Beginner 1 begins soon!