Some answers to the most common questions that we get asked.
Q. Is the club only for those who want to do agility competitions?
A. No, all our competing members started for fun and we are very proud of all their achievements.
Competing just takes your training to the next level and is still fun! We take the welfare of all dogs seriously and only train on high quality equipment, not 'garden sets'.
We welcome anyone who wants to have some weekly fun with their dog and many of our long standing members are happy to progress within the club and are given the same training as our competition classes. There is no pressure to compete, however our training is designed so that if you decide you would like to at some point in the future then you will be prepared and we will be happy to help you.
Q. How long does it take to reach competition standard?
A. This will vary from dog to dog, there are lots of flatwork exercises that will be given as homework and can be fitted around your dog’s daily walks to help you progress, this is entirely optional.
Q. Do I have to be young & fit to take part in a dog agility class?
A. No, agility is a very inclusive activity and all exercises can be adapted to suit your fitness level. Our member age range is from 6 - 75 and we are very proud of member Pauline Angus who competes with her dog in her wheelchair - click here to see her in action at the start of our club video.
About Your Dog
Q. What age can puppies start dog agility?
A. Puppies can start pre-agility at 6 months, where they can safely have fun with tunnels, wings, wobble boards and many other confidence building exercises and skills to prepare them for agility training.
We care about the long term health and welfare of your puppy. 'Agility training' can be found at some training clubs for young dogs & puppies but beware as excessive repetitive exercise can damage bones and joints click here for more information.
We would not do anything with your dog that we would not do with our own dogs!
Most breeds reach maturity by 12 months so the puppy games will fully prepare you both when your dog is old enough. (large breeds take a little longer).
Q. Do I have to join a course?
A. We do not run 'drop in classes' if you are unable to commit to a full course then we recommend 1-2-1 sessions.
Q. Which breeds of dogs can do agility?
A. Almost all breeds can enjoy agility and we are very proud to have trained lots of breeds who are not considered ‘natural agility’ dogs. If you have a question about your breed of dog please call or email us.
Q. Are there any pre-requisites for dog agility?
A. To get the best out of dog agility classes and to be fair to your fellow class mates you will need to have some control of your dog: while we do not expect your dog to be 100% perfect he/she should have at least a recall most of the time as your dog will need to work "off lead" (we can set homework to help). If you require obedience classes before you start agility training please contact us for details.
Q. My dog is very nervous, or he doesn’t like other dogs, or he doesn’t like strangers, can he join a class?
A. We are experienced with working and owning all types of dogs and the answer is generally yes we can help. However we have a duty of care towards everyone who attends class, so any problems need to be managed carefully. If this would not be an option then 1-2-1 tuition is recommended.
Please telephone us to find out if we can help.
Q. Will agility help my dog lose weight?
A. If you are concerned about your dog’s weight then you should speak to your vet before you start agility. Asking an overweight dog to jump can have a long term effect on their joints. If you are unsure we are happy to offer advice.
Q. What equipment do I need for Dog Agility?
A. Sensible clothes & shoes, dog walking clothes and running shoes/boots are fine. Please note that wellies are not suitable footwear.
A soft flat collar for your dog, (no choke chains or correction collars please) and a lead which you can easily clip and un-clip. Haltis & harnesses can be used between exercises. High-value training treats or a toy to use as a reward during training and a sense of humour!
Q. What is a "High Value" treat or toy?
A. The dog's favourite Toy: a Tuggy Toy or Ball and/or Special treats: Liver Cake, Cheese, Sausage.
(we would suggest only using these when teaching & training your dog in order for the reward to stay 'high value').
By using a 'high value' reward during training sessions the dog will associate the desired behaviour with a positive experience and then through repetition learn the skills required for agility.