Agility is a coordinated team effort to complete a group of set tasks within a specified time frame. The team, of course, is you and your dog. This is not something you just jump into, naturally there is a lot of training for both you and your furry teammate.
At the lowest level of training you will learn the different obstacles and safety, safety, safety. Because no sport is fun if somebody gets hurt!
As you progress through the upper levels we teach sequencing, timing, speed, various course combinations and a multitude of crossings (you and your dog “crossing” each others paths) with turns.
There are 10 organizations that sanction agility trials: we train and compete in both AKC and NADAC trials. The two types of competition for ACK are Standard and Jumpers with Weaves. NADAC, however, has seven types of runs: Chances, Regular, Jumpers, Touch-N-Go, Hoopers, Tunnelers, and Weavers.
Dog must be at least 6 months in age, controllable on a leash, friendly to people and other animals. All classes are sequential and build from each other: you must graduate from each level in order to move to the next course. Your Dog does NOT have to be a pure bred registered dog. All dogs, including mixed breeds are welcome.
Beginners: Learning the Obstacles
At this level you and your dog learn to negotiate obstacles safely. You will learn: left/right turn, lazing, verbal commands, sit/down, turnabout, targeting, chaining and drive work. The obstacles you will learn include: horizontal ladder, standard hurdle, wing hurdle, light tunnel, dark tunnel, A-Frame, jump tire, Chute, teeter totter, weave poles, doggie walk, broad jump, and table.
Intermediate: Beginning Sequencing/Courses
In addition to all obstacles learned in the beginners courses, here we add the double, triple, panel, and hoopers jumps. Added in to the techniques learned at level 1 you will learn left and right turn with focus on contact points, wrap, right turn, wide turn, figure eight, front turn, speed, lead out, and learn to work off leash,
In this level we will establish jump heights, and introduce track and lay. Also in intermediate level training we continue to work in and expand on all beginners training and as your expertise broadens we will introduce sequences and then begin courses.
Advance 1: Novice Level
Here we continue all previous training on obstacles learned and as always safety is stressed. We expand on knowledge of sequencing of course and negotiation of obstacles in a series. New techniques of front cross in depth, blind front cross, rear cross, send, directionals, pinwheel, and serpentine will all be introduced. You will be taught different methods of course analysis in addition to the use of Alignment in conjunction with Track and Lay. Here we will introduce the 6 types of course execution used in NADAC agility and AKC Novice courses will be trained.
Advanced II: Open Level
At this level we will start to focus a little more on speed and integrating speed with wraps, front crosses and weave poles. You will be introduced to false obstacles and running or delay contacts will be determined. You will work rear crosses, the send, directionals, pinwheel, and serpentine into open courses. The introduction to Excellence courses begins here, as well as introductions to the iron cross, the pentagon, weave pole speed drills, the out, and layering. As we expand on previous teachings of the NADAC and AKC open level courses, we will bring together lessons learned in control and speed for both dog and handler.
Advanced III: Excellent Level
In advanced III emphasis is still on speed but now we need precision in the Excellent level courses you will be taught. The rear cross with directionals will be mixed with speed exercises as the handler must master new methods of maneuvering obstacles. The Out in series, incorporating different obstacles with layering will also be introduced.
Advanced Handler Techniques: Excellent Level
Speed hurdles are introduced factoring in severe angle training with directionals and/or wrap. The long range lead out and lead out with direction changes with multiple layer outs will be covered. Directionals with pinwheel and serpentine, reverse rear crosses will round out the techniques. Lastly at this level we will show well developed methods for maintaining and furthering the dogs capability levels.