Sure! Guests are always welcome to come watch classes! However, for the sake of consistency for the dog, we ask that you choose one "primary" handler to actually work with the dog in every class. For best results, choose the person the dog already "looks up to" the most to be the primary handler in class. (Please note that there is a legal requirement for a parent to accompany anyone under the age of 18. Please note that children under the age of 8 must be accompanied by another adult in class so that the primary handler can focus on training the dog.)
Excellent question! As a dog owner, you should be concerned about the training methods that are used in class. We use positive reinforcement training in this class. We don't use fear, intimidation or inhumane physical force methods because these methods cause aggression to increase and the relationship between the dog and handler to break down. We use lots of target training and lots of praise! We also believe in safety and conditioning. This means that dogs need to learn how to navigate an obstacle confidently at a lowered height and difficulty before moving on to full-height obstacles. We feel that with safety and confidence comes speed. We also believe in making sure the dog is well-conditioned for the athletic sport of dog agility and that the handler is well-educated about the important aspects of this sport.
Why is the Canine Good Citizen certification a pre-requisite?
In order to safely do the sport of dog agility, a dog must be able to:
Sit / Stay
Down / Stay
Come When Called
Obey command in spite of Distractions (other dogs, people, noises, objects)
Be predictable and relaxed in a class full of other people and dogs
These objectives are covered in the Canine Good Citizen test.
PLEASE NOTE: AT TEAMWORKS DOG TRAINING, YOUR DOG MAY TAKE THE CANINE GOOD CITIZEN TEST WEARING A HEAD HALTER (GENTLE LEADER®, HALTI®). WHILE YOUR DOG CANNOT RECEIVE AN OFFICIAL CANINE GOOD CITIZEN CERTIFICATE WEARING THE HEAD HALTER, TEAMWORKS WILL ACCEPT A PASSING SCORE WITH THE HEAD HALTER ON FOR OUR CLASS REQUIREMENTS, SINCE THE HEAD HALTER IS ALLOWED IN THE Carolina Canines for Therapy THERAPY DOG EVALUATION. DOGS WHO PASS THE CANINE GOOD CITIZEN EVALUATION WITH THE HEAD HALTER ON WILL BE REQUIRED TO WEAR THE HEAD HALTER TO THE NEXT CLASS. PRONG COLLARS AND CHOKE CHAINS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED, AS THEY ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE COLLARS FOR THERAPY WORK, AGILITY, OR TRACKING.
What if I have already taken agility lessons from another facility?
Please read the class descriptions to choose the most appropriate class. You may find that we offer more classes at the pre-competition levels than most other places -- this reflects our training philosophy, and our emphasis on safety and confidence. You will also still need to pass the Canine Good Citizen test to enroll in our agility classes. You can come take a test by checking out the testing dates on our Canine Good Citizen page.
Why is there an age minimum for the Agility classes?
Most dogs have bones in their legs that are still growing and forming until they are 18 months of age. For this reason, there are organizations in which dogs can't even compete in agility until they are 18 months. Injuries that occur while the dog's growth plates are still forming can cause serious and irreparable damage. It is highly recommended that dogs do not jump their full shoulder height until they are 18 months of age. Thus, we ask that dogs be 7 months of age to take the Pre-Agility class (where we do no real jumping) and 1 year of age to take the Novice level class (where dogs jump full height). We structure our Beginner, Intermediate, and Obstacle Proficiency classes so that dogs are not jumping full height if they are under 18 months of age.
Is there a maximum age for the Agility classes?
The maximum age to participate in agility depends on a dog's health and state of being, particularly as far as the limbs, back and joints are concerned. If your dog is over the age of 7 years old or has health problems, you should seek approval from your veterinarian before starting agility classes.
Typically, puppies 14 weeks to 6 months of age start with a Puppy Class. After that, many puppies enjoy the Puppy Agility and Confidence Class. After your dog over 6 months of age you can take our Canine Good Citizen Class. Next, to really proof the basic skills, handlers love our Distraction Proofing Class. After your dog has passed the Canine Good Citizen test you can enroll him in agility classes. The first class is Pre-Agility, then Beginner, Intermediate, Obstacle Proficiency, Advanced Obstacle Proficiency, Distance Class, Novice Agility, Open Agility, and Excellent Agility. Dogs are typically ready to try Course of the Week after Obstacle Proficiency class. Dogs are typically ready to try Show & Gos after Advanced Obstacle Proficiency class. Dogs are typically ready for competitions after Novice Agility class.