Okay, so my dream was to get a dog into agility. I worked on a lot of home taught agility with Pepper as a kid. I loved every moment of it, though we never did anything formally. This is kind of going to be a journal that I'm hoping people can comment on and give advice. I'll be posting up videos when I can.
I don't exactly have the funds to enroll in formal classes right now, but I am taking a building confidence class with some agility equipment as well as doing foundation work right now. I'm also talking with my trainer and she wants to get her own dog into agility and is talking about setting up classes with a great trainer a little ways from us. I have a cheap agility set from outward hound that has a small tunnel, weave poles, a jump and a tire jump.
Aayla is only 6 months old so the jumping is very minimal and when she does do it, its very short, only 6 inches off the ground. I won't seriously be jumping until her vet says her growth plates have closed (I'm guessing around 16-18 months?)
Right now what I'm working on is equipment confidence, tug drive and sending.
She loves climbing up on things and overall seems confident with the tasks I give her. Already I ask her to walk along retaining walls, go up and down things on command. Though recently has developed some fears of man holes and storm drains which makes me think that height may play a thing for her. Yet she seems so confident otherwise that I think it will fade with time. I'm not expecting her to do a dogwalk or see saw anytime soon. Though I would love to get a wobble board. She does love platform training.
Tug drive is going pretty good, she is all willing to accept a tug as a reward 70% of the time. The other 30% is in situations when she decides that my toy is not one she wants, or no reward would outweigh the thing she wants (saying hello to dog...) I feel like I need a special toy that she would want above all things.
Her sending is going great I have to say. We play a game of sending her around and object in the way I tell her to go. I will stand in the middle of four pillars in our parking area and practice sending her around the poles in different orders. She loves it for sure. I have some exercises I want to do with her after reading some articles. I have to really work on my own handling which I honestly think is going to be the hardest part. For some reason I have been sloppy recently. My trainer noticed the other day that when I get frustrated because Aayla is distracted, I will say "sit down" and Aayla will lay down, when I actually wanted her to sit. She pointed out on how I need to be more careful with my cues.
We also did a pinwheel with jumps last week, all set about 4-6 inches off the ground. We were supposed to just go in a circle both ways and have our dogs go over the poles. (after warm up of jumping straight to a target) Aayla easily did it but I struggled with signalling with my closest hand to her, and working the leash over the standards. The best part was though after class I was able to stay and do another round where I tested to see if she would just do what was in front of her or if she would pay attention to me. She was so focused that I could be doing a clockwise circle, abruptly turn to do anti-clockwise and she would follow with ease, even skipping jumps to send across the circle on cue. I didn't take the exercise too seriously as agility training but it felt good to know she was in tune and that sending her and directing her is going to be easier than I thought.
Off leash work is going to be a task but I hope that comes with age.
Anyone know other good foundation exercises I can work on? Is there videos I can watch on handling so I can work on improving and not confuse her?