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Searching for an agility instructor.

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Lauren
Training Dog
Posts: 540
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:29 pm
Tell us about yourself: I am a wife, mother of 2 kids, 3 cats, 1 Standard Poodle (10 yrs) and Xena, a Dutch Shepherd Puppy.

Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by Lauren » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:21 pm

I contacted two agility instructors in my area to see who might (be crazy enough to ) have a class starting in December or January. I expected that no one would, but hoped for one crazy die hard.

Well, BOTH of them answered the same day. BOTH of them only teach individual lessons ... BOTH of them have set up a time to meet Xena and BOTH of them are going to the Eukanuba invitational... And now i have a stress headache. :|

Now, mind you I live in a small (maybe 3,000 people) town. I would have to drive 45 minutes to find a mall...and everyone knows everyone. So I came clean right away and told both of them that in my haste to find an instructor that I contacted them both at once. :oops:

I met with one today, who was very nice until it came to the "Well if I don't hear from you I'll know that you have chosen Jenny (name changed to protect the innocent). And "I didn't know that she actually TAUGHT lessons." And "I don't think that she is any closer than I am." etc. :duh: I meet with the other one on Wed.

For those who do agility how do you choose a good instructor? What should I look for? :dsdoubt:

I just want to climb under a rock.
Lauren from Western NC

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leih merigian
Working Dog
Posts: 1960
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:20 pm
Tell us about yourself: Had a GSD, am getting a DS puppy in a few weeks. Compete in agility, obedience, and cross train in tons of stuff. Found out about this site from the DS Rescue yahoo list.

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by leih merigian » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:57 am

Don't be silly. Of course you should check out any available instructor in your area. There's nothing to feel stupid or bad about!

Since these two don't teach classes, but rather individual lessons, I'd want to see them competing, if possible. I'd want to work with someone who impresses me with their handling techniques, with how well they work with their dog(s), etc. (If it were someone who teaches classes, I'd want to watch a couple of classes.)

It's kind of difficult to put in a nutshell if you don't know anything about agility :mrgreen: . I can watch a class and tell instantly if I'd want to work with that instructor; you can tell what they know by how they teach a class, what they have the class do, if the participants are ready for whatever they're doing, etc.

Probably one of the most important things is that you feel comfortable with the person who would be your instructor. I'd meet with each of them, see how it feels to you.

Are you doing this "just" for fun, or do you intend to compete? That may make a difference, too.
leih merigian
Vrijheid's H'Geyser
Zodiac vom Younghaus (over the bridge)
Central VA (near Charlottesville)
It's never too late to have a happy childhood...

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Dutchringgirl
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Posts: 5288
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:05 pm
Tell us about yourself: I am a mom of 6 life forces - 2 kids and 3 dogs 1 hamster. I live in Ct. I have trained Ringsport and Agility and have 2 DS, one 15 and 7 and a Basset Hound Cookie who is 2
Location: Ct, USA
Contact:

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by Dutchringgirl » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:29 am

When I was doing agility I didnt have much choice, there was only one in my area. She was really good though. I was only doing it for fun, I did want to complete but I decided to get a divorce instead. :whistle:

She understood Thalie and how she worked very well and worked great with us. They all did the food and clicker thing but was very open to me not doing that and using a tug with Thalie.

But I agree with Leigh, Talk to them both, you want to do whats best for you and your dog so dont ever feel stupid or let anyone talk to you in a way that you feel like you should just drop everyone and go with them. Even if you start with someone and dont like how they work with you, dont feel bad about leaving.
Lisa, Thalie CGC & Sadie, Cookie the Basset, CT
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Jbou
Puppy
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:10 pm
Tell us about yourself: I'm a person who is rally working hard with our dogs in many sports: Oddience, conformation, Sch, agility and Rally-O.
I breed standard schnauzer around 20 years.
I, also , work with my 4lbs pomeranian girl in those same activities.
I dream about a Dutch dog since a saw them in France in a frind house.
Location: North Montreal,Qc, Canada
Contact:

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by Jbou » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:17 am

For sure, I'm not in your area :-(
But when I choose a place to work with my dogs ( agility, obedience, Sch, rally-O)
I go with my feeling when i didn,t do it I feel mad after and yes i had "scrap"some dogs to DON'T HURT AN INSTRUCTOR.
Now,I confortable to look around an meet dog instructor before following him as a blind....

I have closely the same problem to find a french ring club now ,but I had meet 2 and be sure that I'll follow my feeling.....
yes,I'll have to make more drive but I feel highly more comfortable with one over the other one.

The first one was very interested to see my 3 months old GSD, he spends time to play with my girl speaking with me about their club and ring rules....

The second one was hard to reach,i finallymeet him on his club field, he spoke with my about his own dogs and not really interested about my own dog or what I expect about French ring...

which one do you think will have my heart ?!? :wtg:

Follow you heart,

Best regards,
Josée

Lauren
Training Dog
Posts: 540
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:29 pm
Tell us about yourself: I am a wife, mother of 2 kids, 3 cats, 1 Standard Poodle (10 yrs) and Xena, a Dutch Shepherd Puppy.

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by Lauren » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:22 pm

Thanks, you all. I feel better. I am not sure yet if I would like to compete. I personally enjoy competition (maybe a little too much :twisted: ) but I have to see if it is something Xena really likes to to. I am still trying to find "her thing". That is the fun part about having such a versatile breed!

I don't think that I can go with that first instructor. She had some big lack of motivation going on with her competition dog and when she had some trouble sending him to the close side of the tunnel and she was having real trouble figuring out how to fix it. I know that she has had success with her students, but the fact that her own dog would rather be home spoke loud and clear.

I don't know why I worry so about choosing, I just don't want to hurt any feelings. :roll:
Lauren from Western NC

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Dutchringgirl
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Posts: 5288
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:05 pm
Tell us about yourself: I am a mom of 6 life forces - 2 kids and 3 dogs 1 hamster. I live in Ct. I have trained Ringsport and Agility and have 2 DS, one 15 and 7 and a Basset Hound Cookie who is 2
Location: Ct, USA
Contact:

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by Dutchringgirl » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:00 pm

I agree with Josee 100%!!! dont worry about hurting feelings, youll only be hurting your dog if you do. Go with your gut!!!!! The trainer I worked with could figure out any problem, most of mine was Thalie wsas too fast for me. :whistle:

Xenas "thing" will be anything you both enjoy doing together. She just wants to please you and work, whatever you end up doing will be fun for both of you. Thalie has had many jobs and she has loved each one.
Lisa, Thalie CGC & Sadie, Cookie the Basset, CT
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Choochi
Training Dog
Posts: 350
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:16 pm
Tell us about yourself: Love dogs and training.
Location: Toronto, ON

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by Choochi » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:44 pm

For sure if you're looking for a trainer in any sport, watch them compete or train with their own dog. There are people out there who can talk the talk but can't walk the walk. If their own dog is a mess, take that as an indication of their skills as a trainer. Just because some one offers lessons and calls themselves a trainer, doesn't automatically make them some one who's advice you should be following.

And don't ever feel bad about swapping trainers if you feel things aren't working out. You will learn more if you work with more people and are exposed to more then one way to fix a problem. If a "trainer" ever throws a hissy fit about you training with some one else, they're not very mature or professional.
Choochi

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k9katet
Training Dog
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:04 pm
Tell us about yourself: We current own 2 Dutch Shepherds - Vrijheid's Hafwen "Letty" and ThunderHawk's Child of Lilith "Mazikeen"
And we have loved and lost 2 - Vrijheid's Amie "Vada" and Sather's High On Life "Narcotic".
We train/compete in a variety of dog sports.
Location: Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by k9katet » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:54 am

You could also go to competitions in your area and if you see someone that you like (how they run, how the dog runs, how they treat the dog, etc) then you could ask them where they train. Maybe there are some other places in your area that you are not aware of? And if you want to start foundation stuff there are tons of foundation DVDs and some books. You can do alot of foundation handling stuff in the house in the winter.
Heather Sather
Dutch Shepherds: Vada, Narc and Letty
Mixed Breeds: Seven and Prozac
Border Collies: Sonic and Fringe
http://www.k9katet.com

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Choochi
Training Dog
Posts: 350
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:16 pm
Tell us about yourself: Love dogs and training.
Location: Toronto, ON

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by Choochi » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:30 pm

Yup!! There are some awesome agility DVDs out there and you could easily self teach at home if you're not really happy with either of the trainers you found. Then post vids on YouTube and get tips/advice on what you could/should be doing differently.

check out CleanRun.com, tons of great agility info on there
Choochi

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turnnburn52984
Training Dog
Posts: 274
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:12 am
Tell us about yourself: Lifelong animal person- I professionally trained horses before my children were born. New to DS's, but not new to high drive working dogs. :) Currently have a 1 1/2 yr old DS, Koenig, and a 2 yr old English Pointer Sara. They are both rescues. Oh yes, I work at a multi species non-profit animal rescue, on Bainbridge Island, WA

Want to know anything else, just ask!
Location: Tacoma, WA

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by turnnburn52984 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:12 am

It's AMAZING what you can teach at home. I've had Koenig 1 1/2 years now, and only had him on formal agility equipment twice. He needs to be lured through weaves, or have low channel weaves on... but other then that he's got it, and could be ready to start trialing in a couple of weeks if I got serious about it.

These brindle dogs are just SO smart, and catch on SO fast.

Let us know how it goes!
Kelly
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Koenig

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Choochi
Training Dog
Posts: 350
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:16 pm
Tell us about yourself: Love dogs and training.
Location: Toronto, ON

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by Choochi » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:23 pm

oh it's scary how fast they pick up new things compared to any other dog I've known! My Ripp especially generally needs 1-3 successful repetitions of a new behaviour and she's got it. We're back to doing some shaping training. She's never seen a targeting stick, within a couple min of her first session with it she was targeting the tip. Another thing we did was shaping her to go around a construction cone. Within two 5min sessions with a break in between, she would leave me go to the cone a few feet away go around it like a barrel racer and come back, and this was all through shaping (putting together a set of behaviours like look at the cone, walk towards the cone, walk towards and behind the cone..etc), no luring and no cues. What's probably even cooler then how fast she learns things is that she absolutely loves to learn, her face lights up trying to figure things out.

There is so much work you can do with your dog at home before your dog ever sees any agility equipment. Shadow handling, building drive and impulse control, teaching your dog to be aware of you without having to keep their eyes glued on you, targeting, recalls, send outs, then repeat all that under distractions such as at a dog park, you can do basic jump grids or one jump exercises with just a pile of PVC pipes, you can teach the 2 on 2 off you would use on contact equipment using a set of stairs...
Choochi

Lauren
Training Dog
Posts: 540
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:29 pm
Tell us about yourself: I am a wife, mother of 2 kids, 3 cats, 1 Standard Poodle (10 yrs) and Xena, a Dutch Shepherd Puppy.

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by Lauren » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:59 pm

Lots of great ideas! thanks!

I really do enjoy watching Xena figure things out (except for the door knob :shock: ). We are going to meet the other instructor on Wed. but will start the back end awareness, two on two off contacts etc. She already loves running along the tops of rock walls and hopping up on any platform.

Since she is 6 months old I can't really do any jumping with her, can I?
Lauren from Western NC

Lauren
Training Dog
Posts: 540
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:29 pm
Tell us about yourself: I am a wife, mother of 2 kids, 3 cats, 1 Standard Poodle (10 yrs) and Xena, a Dutch Shepherd Puppy.

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by Lauren » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:08 am

UPDATE: I went to meet the other instructor today. She was great. :) I liked her set up a lot better and she certainly was very interested in Xena. She has recently brought back two Stabyhouns from the Netherlands to do agility with and begin a breeding program.

I am a little concerned that she has horses right there. some full sized and two mini's . Xena was VERY curious. :? I can see her going for them when she is working off leash.

The CRAZY thing is that for two nights I have had agility dreams.... (I know, i know) and she was in them. I described the lady in my dreams on the way over and my husband said "Won't you freak out if she actually looks like that?!" And she DID! :shock:

Xena thought it was all great fun... We didn't have a lesson, but she kept trying things to see if I would treat it. Judy talked about wondering if she was noise sensitive and pointed to the seesaw, and Xena walked right up it, and hopped off the other side. I treated her. So she walked over to the A frame , walked over it and looked at me. She got another treat. >Ka CHING!< :dsshock: She looked around like WHOA! this is a cash cow! She proceeded to got through the tunnel, over the A frame several more times and walk the dog walk...

The only concern we had was her left hind leg. but that is another thread.
Lauren from Western NC

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Sugars Mom
Working Dog
Posts: 1734
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:16 am
Tell us about yourself: I adopted a Dutch Shepherd mix (without knowing what she was) from the SPCA here in Victoria BC and am now trying to learn everything I can about this breed. My husband and I work from home most of the time so I thought it was time to get a puppy! We have his 2 boys here half the time and we wanted a nice family dog.

Sugar looks like a miniature Dutch Shepherd with floppy ears, and has every ounce of DS traits in her little body!

I hope to learn from other DS owners and share doggy experiences.
Location: Victoria BC

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by Sugars Mom » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:37 am

Sounds like it will be a lot of fun. Hopefully her knee will be ok!
Sue (and Sugar)

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Dutchringgirl
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Posts: 5288
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:05 pm
Tell us about yourself: I am a mom of 6 life forces - 2 kids and 3 dogs 1 hamster. I live in Ct. I have trained Ringsport and Agility and have 2 DS, one 15 and 7 and a Basset Hound Cookie who is 2
Location: Ct, USA
Contact:

Re: Searching for an agility instructor.

Post by Dutchringgirl » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:32 am

Choochi wrote:
check out CleanRun.com, tons of great agility info on there

YES!! I had the Clean Run magazine when I was doing agility and it was so great, they have excersises each edition to practice, I got some PVC form the hardware store and built some of my own jumps. I actually just built a teeter from a log and a 2x10x12, some pvc pipe. Ill take a picture of how I hinged it, very easy.
Lisa, Thalie CGC & Sadie, Cookie the Basset, CT
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