Get The Most Out Of Class!
Recently someone asked me how to get the most out of their agility classes – this is the list I came up with! Do you have any other ideas?
- Be on time for set up – and help set up! Most instructors require this, and it’s no fun when only one person comes in time to do set up and has to do it alone.
- Put away your cellphone, and turn it to vibrate Some dogs are frightened by loud cellphone tones. This can turn a little disastrous on contacts, and you’ll focus better if you put it away for a bit
- Listen to your instructor and use your crate: popup crates save the day in agility classes, since they’re not so heavy that dragging them around is backbreaking, and settling your dog in there while you’re listening to class instructions makes it easier to concentrate, instead of worrying about the other end of the leash.
- Have things handy! Have your treats already prepared and safely stored in a treat bag, your leash where you can find it, and everything else you can need organized. I just leave my trunk ready to go!
- Bring the best treats and toys. Sometimes, agility class is just so thrilling that dogs run off to see the sights and sniff the obstacles. Help keep their attention with the nicest treats and toys.
- Water I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but in almost every class I see a thirsty dog who is getting fussy.
- Let loose! Don’t obsess about perfect. Perfect will come with practice! Focus on getting your connection to your dog and having fun.
- Do your homework! It benefits you and your dog immensely, and helps you get your money’s worth out of the class. A five minute or less session once or twice a day is better than no practice – and actually is more fun for your dog than half-hour drills.
- Set up a Distance Sometimes a bit of a distance between crates is a good thing. For some dogs, it’s a must! Respect boundaries.
- Bring a Chair Agility is full of ‘hurry up and wait’. When you are waiting your turn with your dog crated, and are just watching, a chair can be a godsend. I can’t sit on Quick’s crate without fear of crushing him and the crate, so a collapsible chair is handy. It also holds all your ‘stuff’ while you are out on your turn!
How do you know when you are ready to start trialing?
Great ideas! I will use and adapt for my classes. I think a list like this will help keep focus too. This is a class not just a gab fest and dog party…:) I am lucky that I have old chairs around the arena exterior but crates are a must and can prevent redirected excitement/aggression for occuring…