We plan on trying to get Marcus into agility classes once he's 15 months old and all his growth plates are closed, and he's been through a good obedience class or three. Obviously, we're not going to pursue it if he doesn't like it, but considering his personality, I think he will like it. He's very well socialized, he loves learning new things, and he loves making his owners happy. Oh yeah - he loves jumping on everything too (even though he has steps for the couch since he's still young... he much prefers to jump like a big boy).
I'm completely unfamiliar to the whole "agility" scene. I know that he's relatively tall for a Corgi (12.5 at the withers last measure), so he'd be jumping over the higher obstacles. But how do I go about finding a "good" agility school, and what things should be done prior to him competing? I've seen some people recommend hip checks first - he's had a preliminary scan and they look good. Assuming he likes it, how does someone go about getting involved in competing at it? I know the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of the Potomac has competitions somewhat locally. Any other good links or tidbits of info people could recommend??
Finding classes will probably answer all of your questions about competing. A good trainer will be involved at the local and maybe even national level when it comes to competitions. Definitely check the AKC website and make sure to check the UKC (United Kennel Club) website too when looking for possible trainers. You can also talk to your vet. My vet actually told me about a woman in town who trains herding!
Rachel is right, having really strong recall skills is important. Making sure Marcus has a strong "wait" is also good too. Agilitynerd.com is a really fun website that has a lot of different skill level youbtube videos and articles. A lot of the basics used in agility don't require any equipment. Learning "flips" and "wraps" are really important to having good foundation foot work for both you and your dog. You can do these anywhere there is enough space to run around with your dog. At first learning them seemed really abstract to me because it was just Baxter and me and the tennis court running around. But now that we're really getting into actual courses and working with different contacts (a-frame, tunnels, etc.), we use it all the time and I can see how all our practice paid off.
Have fun!! It really is a blast to see these little guys enjoy it!
Will be going home after being away from home for work purposes...Am thinking of bringing Max for agility classes to make up for lost time :P
Anyone has any experience to share on attending agility class with their Corgis? Max has done obedience classes before and he was quite good...Able to wait and stay at a spot for minutes until called but he's a bit stubborn on the recall part... Can't actually imagine him going through the obstacle path...they look so complicated for a corgi :)
Our corgi and scotty do agility. They really like it. You may have to try several instructors, find one that taylors the training to your corgi. For instance, most agility trainers teach two-on two-off, when the dog stops at the bottom of the A frame with his two back feet on the A frame and two on the ground - this makes sure the dog hits the contact (the yellow part on the bottom of the A frame). Corgis and other long back dogs should not do this, as it not good for their backs. Find an instructor who takes into account that you are training your first agility dog (many people in your class will be on their second/third dog).
I recommend you get the book The Beginner's Guide to Dog Agility by Laurie Leach (she has a corgi), this will give you plenty of information about trials, the vocabulary, etc.
Go to an agility trial (take a chair as they are not provided). Here is a list of agility trials http://www.agilityevents.net/ just check CPE, AKC and or any other and your state (or the one next door is you're close to a border). The Premium List will give you all the info for when and where. Then go and watch. Don't take you dog the first time. Ask questions, agility people are friendly. they wil know about classes, trainers in your area.
Good luck, it's a lot of fun..
You also might check with your vet. A lot of times employees there are involved in such things or they have clients who are and they can help point you in the right direction.
Do lots of ground work. Work him off the right side as well as the left; many dogs who haven't been worked on the right will resist it and keep trying to swap back. Do a lot of off-leash heeling. Start with treats in your hand. Always have the treat on the side the dog is on, and treat directly from that hand without stopping or turning to face the dog. Change directions and speeds a lot and he should stay on the side you put him on. Most of the time. If you do a quick direction change you may want him to swap sides. So for instance if you go straight out with the dog on the left, and YOU do a 180 turn AWAY from the dog, he should stay on your left and loop around your outside. If you do a 180 turn TOWARDS the dog, he should turn around and now be on your right to follow you back.
Practice putting him on a "wait" and run away from him. When you say "ok" he should run up to whichever side he started on and get level with you.
You can also practice jogging at heel (off leash) and saying "wait" and have him stop and then say "ok" and have him go; it's VERY helpful if your dog is heading towards a wrong obstacle to be able to holler "WAIT" while he's in motion and have him stop, so this ground exercise is very useful. Corgis tend to be very speedy in agility and so you need brakes....
At his height he'd be competing in 12 inch if you go in standard. Honestly mine have no trouble with 12 inch jumps, but we sometimes lower to 8 in practice if we are doing jump drills.
I would not introduce him to obstacles til you start a class, since you can really mess up how they take them. For instance, you will probably start jumping with the dog going to a target plate. If he does it with you at his side, he learns to turn and look for you after the jump to get his treat, while you want him to drive straight ahead towards the next obstacle unless you call his name to get his attention and focus back on you for a turn or whatnot. So stick with lots and lots of groundwork til you get going.
Thanks for the advice...Will look around for suitable agility class for Max....Meanwhile I would need to work with him on his recall...Been away for months and it seems that he lost a bit of the discipline, and being alone with my wife (who's expecting) without much exercise.