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I have been doing some research on agility as I am getting a puppy that I would like to compete with plus my older dog likes it for fun. So far we have just taken a class and done some training at home. I do have a couple questions.

Do the different agility venues (ie. CPE USDAA etc) have different levels of their classes for beginners? I am not saying I want to trial right now, but I was just trying to find out if when I start if I would be competing against alot more experienced handler dog teams.

I live in central illinois. Does anyone know the most common venue around here?

I've seen most people say don't even think about trialing until you are at least a year into trialing. Are there like fun trials that are hosted that aren't as competitive that you can get some experience in? (Kinda like with horse shows there are fun shows)
 

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Places around me have something called "RUN-THRUS" you pay 5$ and its like running at a trial but not as many people but its a course that would be set up like if you were trialing. Its also nice to run your dog at different places so when you get a new place your dog isn't going crazy and still remembers that he/she still has to listen to you. I heard NADAC trials are good for starters.

What kind of dog do you have?

How old?

I don't live in Illinois so i can't help you with that part.
 

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USDAA has intro trials which is awesome for dogs/handlers just now starting to trial... It's a much calmer/relaxed enviroment than an actual trial and there's generally less people/dogs than at a regular trial. With intro trials you can enter "FEO" where you can train in the ring

https://www.usdaa.com/article.cfm?newsID=1740

Some places also hold fun matches and there's also run thrus which are great! For run thrus just ask around and find out which facilities put them on. You could also look into ring rentals
 

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Sorry to interrupt this thread but if anyone could help me it would be very appreciated!
I’m a Product Design student studying at Bournemouth University. As part of my final year I will be redesigning some dog agility equipment. I need to carry out some research so that I can make good design choices, so if you're involved with agility I would be extremely grateful is you could fill out the following short survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/V2JKH7V

If you are a club organizer it would be great if you could fill out this short survey instead
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KRNKGBD


Many thanks
 

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Fun runs are an option. Depending on where you are geographically they may or may not be common (sadly not common here! It's frustrating because my dog really needs more casual ring experience)

Some places may have drop ins and open practices you can go to as well.

USDAA has an intro class, which I would definitely recommend. CPE supposedly is very beginner friendly too.

One thing to keep in mind is you're not running against the other dogs really. You are competing against the course for a 'Q'. It is best to just focus on you and your dog, in my opinion.
 

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If you contact your local agility clubs, they may be able to let you know if there are any fun runs around you. Unfortunately, like Laurelin, there really aren't a ton of fun runs around me. I've also come to love that if I am going to pay the money to attend a trial, I mind as well be entered so that god willing we do get a 'Q', it counts towards out titles.

I run AKC. Every group (AKC, CPE, USDAA, etc), have their own set of rules and classes. I know in AKC they have Novice A and Novice B. Novice A are new handlers and new dogs, meaning it is a handler that has never titled with a dog that has never titled. Novice B is a handler that has titled a dog with a dog that has never titled. So because I am running my first dog, I am currently a Novice A. But once I title her and move her up to Open, my next dog will be in Novice B. I hope that makes sense.

My biggest recommendation and something I wish I had the option to do in the beginning is go to as many trials as you can when you are training, even if you aren't trialing. If you can go and walk around and spend an hour or 2 there and getting your dog use to the environment it will help you in the long run. I just started trialing my lab (been training for a few years, just never had the finances) and our BIGGEST problem at trials is that she gets distracted at the trials. We can run Excellent and Master courses at home, but struggle with the simplest things at trials because the environment is so new.

Also, always remember to have fun. It's not always about the 'Q's. If you're having fun and your dog is having fun, that's all that matters!
 
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