Dog Agility Class or Clinic Etiquette

dog agility class etiquetteThere are some that show up to Dog Agility Class with the best intentions, but either from a lack of respect or plain ignorance end up being disruptive to the whole class. Most are there to learn, from the instructor and less distractions to both student and instructor will lead to better learning. Here is a short list of common etiquette practices.

  • Be early to help set up – Many hands make light work and most instructors require it. The less time spent on setup, height changes, and breakdown the more time for teaching, practicing and learning.
  • Unpack your equipment then your dog – This allows you to keep an eye on your dog, unless your dog needs a potty break first. Respect the host’s potty area rules for clean up. Bring your own crate, x-pen or stake for your dog(s).
  • Turn off your cellphone – Not only is it disruptive to a class when one goes off, some dogs are frightened by loud cellphone tones and it could cause them to crash if on course.  At the very least, put your phone on silent or vibrate.
  • Use your crate – settle your dog in there while you’re listening to class instructions. It makes it easier to concentrate, instead of worrying about the other end of the leash or other dogs or…
  • 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.  It can also hold your ‘stuff’ while you are running your turn!
  • Be ready to run – 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.  Once class starts be ready for your turn at the start line and get your dog leashed and off course in a timely manner.
  • Bring the best – Sometimes, agility class is just so thrilling that dogs run off to see the sights and sniff the obstacles.  Or maybe your dog is overwhelmed and wants to go back home.  Save those extra yummy or super fun toys for class only to help keep their attention amidst these high distraction times.  Some instructors will bypass your turn if your dog leaves the course.
  • Bring water for you and your dog – Even in winter your dog will become thirsty and dehydrated with agility work which can cause fussiness to health problems.
  • Don’t obsess about perfect – You are there to learn. If your dog is having more difficulty with an obstacle than the rest of the class, understand you need to do more work at home and move on.  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. Plus, it keeps the class moving forward when everyone keeps up with their training.

Do you have more helpful hints? Leave them below so we all can learn how to help keep class fun and moving forward.  For more helpful hints on dog agility class etiquette check out this packet by Clean Run.