do I train my puppy to do it? Is it too late if she's 8 months and unruly?

This may sound silly, but I would love to enter agility competitions. However, Isabelle is an energetic pup who has received no formal training. She is also very submissive to other dogs and shy. However, training is not reinforced at my boyfriends house when I leave. What is the first step I need to take and how to you guide a pup to do obstacles? Is it at simple as learning just the basics or is there much more to it? Are there classes for agility?

Any suggestions? :)
Thanks ALOT!

Views: 165

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

We just signed up for agility classes and haven't had our first ones, so I'll let you know how it goes! Just so you know, not all trainers advertise. We found ours through a referral from our vet, and it turns out she's quite active in agility, training, and coaching, yet didn't come up on a search for "agility trainers" in our area. So you can ask for referrals.

I think many trainers would want your dog to be fairly reliable off-leash with the basics (come, sit, down, stay) before starting agility. If you want to do it just for fun it's easy enough to teach a dog to jump over an obstacle. However, no dog should be doing any major jumping til the growth plates close at around a year to 18 months.

If you want to compete, I'd definitely recommend lessons/classes. Honestly I've done all basic training myself and my dog knows a pretty long list of commands (back up, leave it, excuse me, walking on left or right, off, in addition to the traditional ones). He'll sit from a down or sit from across the room without coming to me first. I was quite comfortable training him through CGC on my own, but would not even know where to begin to start agility training! Can I get my dog to hop over a jump or run through a tunnel without formal instruction? Sure. But how to get a dog to follow your direction around a course, do a dog walk and A-frame and teeter-totter without having a panic attack--- for all that, I definitely need an instructor!

There are a few people here who do agility. You might get some good pointers. In the meantime, practice with those obedience commands and start working her off-leash in a secure place. Your dog should at minimum sit, stay, come, down and walk to heel off-lead.

Good luck!
You and Jack are going to have so much fun with agility! It has been so great for Sky (and me as a trainer). He is almost a different dog. It has improved his focus on me immensely, and just practicing together has strengthed our bond so much. He's much more in tune to me now and vice versa! You have to let us know how it all goes!
Oh, and to answer your first question, it's no where near too late to start her if she's eight months and unruly. Things have changed a lot and people now start obedience with young pups, but back in the "old days" an awful lot of people would never dream of doing serious training beyond housebreaking/socialization/ basic manners and "sit" and the like, until a dog was a year or so old and had a brain!! I kept all my training fun and informal til Jack was a year or so old, before working on long stays and the like.
They say not to start agility until they are at least 9 months of age so the bones are more developed. You really need to have a basic obedience course done too, so they know to listen to you with commands. Seanna really does well with agility and loves it. It has also helped her tremendously with her shyness, and she actually enjoys going to play with the other dogs. Somedays it's a chore to keep her focused on the agility and not the playing...
She's only 8 months old! No big worries as to whether she's too "unruley" or anything--they're puppies, they're supposed to be bundles of energy. :-)

Getting her into agility will give her confidence, which will help with the being submissive and shy. I would start with some basic obedience training--sit, down, stay, come--and other little tricks that'll teach her that'll help her (learn to spin, rollover, etc.). At this young age, you don't want to do too much hard training--she's still growing and developing. This is why ground training is very important. You can get a small tunnel (you can purchase a child's tunnel from any toy store) and start getting her to run through it for treats, etc.

I'd look into any local dog training clubs that do obedience, puppy classes, agility, etc. Check out web sites like, etc. There are many venues for agility competitions--Canine Performance Events (CPE,, American Kennel Club (AKC,, North American Dog Agility Association (NADAC), United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA), and the TeaCup Agility (can't remember the official title or letters). In any association, you can't compete until she's at least 18 months old to 2 years old.

Agility is a great way to keep her motivated, happy, in shape, etc. Best of luck!!
Yes there are classes for Agility and I highly suggest you take a class rather than try teaching on your own, especially if you've never trained a dog to agility before. I do Agility with my Aussie (our first competition will be in Feb) and there is no way I could have taught him half of what he knows without being in a class. In fact, there is a lot of groundwork to learn before you even start working on equipment! It's amazing to think now, but 6 months ago I didn't even know what I didn't know. There is SOO much more than running over equipment and jumping around.

Your best bet is to take an advanced obedience class with your pup first, or if you've never done any obedience classes do a basic and then a more advanced class... but definitely do at least two different obedience classes before starting agiltiy. It it SOOO vitally important to have your basics pretty well cemented before starting any agility training. Your dog does need to be pretty reliable off leash and be able to focus on you with other dogs running around. From there, many obedience instructors will be able to tell you where to find an agility class even if they don't offer it themselves.

Also your pup should be at least a year old before starting agility. Many instructors won't accept dogs younger than this because their bones are still growing and they absolutely should not be jumping yet! If your dog has some trouble with focus under distractions (my Aussie is this way so I understand) I have had the book Control Unleashed recommended to me. It was written especially for dogs that run agility since there is so much going on during a run and they need to be 110% focused on you (very hard for a young dog to do). I just ordered it last week, so I hope to get it in soon, but I trust my instructors opinion when she suggests it. You can find it at
Also, if you want to start on some basic commands you will need, I would suggest you start training your dog to touch a target stick. Get a dow rod from a hardware store and paint the end 2-3 inches either a very dark or very bright color so it is easily visible (I just used black nail polish for mine). The rod should be just long enough for your to hold and the end will be at your dog's nose.

Hold the stick out right in front of your dog's nose and when he goes to sniff it click (I use clicker training, and I think a lot of Agility people do) and treat. Soon your dog will realize that just touching the end of this silly stick gets him a treat. Once he starts to get the hang of it, only click when he touches on the painted part of the stick. He will very quickly learn to follow the painted end of the stick. Then you can start moving the stick around and he will follow it. Every single time he touches it click and treat. Once he really has it down, start saying the word "touch" everytime he touches it. The touch command will be important when you start running courses and can be transferred to touching your hand when you get into more advance agility training.
Hi Lexi!

Pet Expo also owns the PAW resort and they offer obedience classes, have a pool and I am guessing but don't know if they do agility.

KEYCity ( AKC) kennel club is also in Mankato, they do everything and have have been to several different classes there and I really like them! They also have at least 2 rallies a year in St. Peter. They offer several different times about 4 different session a year. I would recommend this club! The agility here your dog has to have at least passed basic obedience(and may still have to test out) and then they have an intro to agility class Livvy and I went to this and found out we'll stick to obedience as Livvy didn't enjoy it!
Then there's something called Me and My Master and I'm not sure what they do here but I could find out more if you are
.interested or maybe you can look for it online.

When we did agility we just started right away with the touch to our hand...
Here's a fun thing you can do to get really fast recalls, if you haven't done it already.

Go to a safe field, either fenced in or far from traffic (NOT the dog park or another area where your dog usually roams and plays).

You go to one end with the dog and your boyfriend goes to the other. You should both have a pocket full of very yummy treats. Hold the dog and have your boyfriend wave the treats and when Isabelle gets excited and starts to pull towards your boyfriend, have him call "Come come come come" in an excited, happy, high-pitched voice. Some dogs love if you clap your hands too.

When she gets to him, he should give her two or three of the treats (break into small pieces; three little bits will seem more exciting to her than one bigger piece). Then have him grab her and hold her by the collar or leash, and then call her name and wave your treats, and when she starts pulling call "Come come come" again. She should come flying. After just a couple times, don't show the treats til AFTER you start saying "come come come".

Most commands should be given once and not repeated, but for some reason "come" is the exception. With this game, you'll have the fastest recall in the state and your dog will think it's a game the whole time.
I took my corgis to the neighborhood schoolgrounds when they were pups... They ran up the slides- through the tunnels- across the bridges- and up the towers in their first visit! No training or treats- they are natural, agile dogs who are ready to train when presented with obstacles: Have fun!!
Madoc (who is nearly 10 months old) is in a beginning agility class, and it is a blast. The instructor is very careful about some of them being puppies and making sure they don't jump too high or have any injuries to growth plates. And some of the class members are older dogs just out to have fun and bond with owners in a new activity. Corgis are wonderful on the weave poles-- that seems to be Mad's best event! I think corgis are indeed naturals as Kristen said-- bold and quick reflexes. Great exercise for the owner-- I am panting harder than him when we head for the car after a class.
Again, thanks so much for everyone's advice!


Rescue Store

Stay Connected


FDA Recall

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Recall

We support...



© 2023   Created by Sam Tsang.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report a boo boo  |  Terms of Service