Long Distance Learning
I don’t have a local trainer or agility club 🙁 I want to learn how to do agility, and would be willing to travel for a trial. What should I do?
Finding a local trainer can be tough! I assume you’ve already checked googility.com. They have great resources for finding trainers/training centers.
I would recomment getting a few agility books and seeing if any particular style or author appeals to you. If something works, do it! If you don’t care for that idea, don’t do it. The same goes for agility blogs – I like to keep up with a wide variety so that I have options.
Build up a practice course for yourself – with Affordable Agility equipment, you can get a full course for you and your dog, even if you have limited space! If you have any friends who also enjoy being active with their dogs, consider pooling resources to get equipment and rent rings to practice. If there’s no agility club, maybe you can make one!
Finally, I would watch agility as much as I could! Crufts has hours of agility trial footage you can watch online (in fact, I’ve embedded a video here) that can help you see how the pros do it.
Hope this helps! Anybody else have tips for self-studying agility?
Find an agility trial in your driving range and just go for the day with out your dog or better yet volunteer to be a Ring Crew for half or all day… They will teach you what to do and you will be able to see it first hand (and you usually get a free lunch!) During breaks ask folks how they got started and who they train with. If you see someone with a dog like yours or someone you really admired …ask if you could talk to them when they have a free moment. You dont want to bother folks right before they go in the ring cause they are concentrating, but many folks will find a moment later in the day to share info. Make a list of questions… like where do you train, do you follow a handling system, do you know anyone in my area that does agility, etc. All the books and videos will make more sense once you see it first hand. The Clean Run website has many videos to rent on line…so you can try them out. Agilityevents.net can help you find events in your area. Good luck
Check out Agility University. It’s online training with various options. You can be an actual student, audit, or observe, I believe. Students set up courses at home, video tape their runs, and post the video online for the instructor to critique. Many top name trainers on Agility U, and lots of different classes. I believe the blog AgilityNerd is beginning to video critique as well (less formal and structured, and not in a “class” setting- more individual and you can tell him what you’re looking for help with).
Also, go to trials to watch and volunteer, and to network. Ask people who they train with. I thought there was no agility in my area- you certainly don’t see it advertised and no large training facilities. Turns out there are several options for trainers in the area- you just won’t find them in the yellow pages, is all…