Hello,

I just joined this great online group and have a question for any of you experienced owners out there.  I just got a Pembroke Corgi for Christmas and am SO in love with her.  I have owned dogs in the past, but this is my first Corgi.  I am planning on doing agility with her.  Of course at this point we are just in a puppy obedience class.  Everything I have read says that they should be a year old before we begin training for agility so they are physically developed.  Are you guys in agreement with this theory?  I know she does need to have the basic obedience skills down but I am so excited to get started with her I was hoping I could start sooner than a year.  I have a training facility in mind but do any of you Michiganders have any suggestions?  I am kind of between Port Huron and Detroit areas.  Thanks.

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Comment by Geri & Sidney on January 22, 2013 at 10:41am

Exactly! You two can establish your system of hand signals and she'll learn to watch your every move. Sid's trainer loves to see the focus he has when we're out on the course. We haven't gone into competition yet, but soon I hope!

Comment by Becky Focht on January 22, 2013 at 9:17am

Thanks Geri, I have seen some information on Rally-O and you made a good point about it being a good thing for her and I to work on to strengthen our bond and obedience.

Comment by Geri & Sidney on January 22, 2013 at 2:14am

You might see if the place offers classes in Rally-O. It has a series of stations where you and the dog perform tasks, but there's no jumping etc. When we first got Sidney we intended to train in agility, but before long he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. He had surgery and is doing fine, but he has arthritis and I wanted something that had less impact on his joints. Rally is great for obedience, focus and bonding and would be a great start before starting agility down the road.

Comment by Marcie on January 17, 2013 at 5:56pm

Becca was 10 months old when we took "Fur Fun". It was an introduction to dog sports. The only obstacles were very low jumps and tunnels (and a low pause table). Our trainer put the jumps at the lowest level for all dogs. The emphasis was on impulse control, bonding and just having fun. I waited until she was 16 months before starting beginner agility.

Comment by Becky Focht on January 17, 2013 at 8:07am

Thank you for all the great tips and advice. 

Comment by John Wolff on January 17, 2013 at 12:02am

Also a good idea to discourage flying leaps off furniture, esp. onto slippery floors.  Provide nonskid landing surfaces -- throw rugs, like that.  If you injure a growth plate in the wrist, it fuses, the other bone keeps growing, and you have a deformed foreleg.  Knowing I'm a hiker, our breeder was quite firm with me:  "No big physical challenges until at least a year old".

Comment by Jane Christensen on January 16, 2013 at 10:43pm

At least a year or longer but there's many obedience classes you can take till it's time. Actually it was one of Livvy's obedience instructors that suggested agility. You can also introduce her tomany of the surfaces used in agility till she is ready.

Comment by Judith Andre on January 16, 2013 at 5:17pm

Most everybody I know who has already trained in agility starts them early, but they know what they're doing.  I didn't start Murray until he was 2 and wish I had started sooner.  I would think if you would google it you could find out more....or go to cleanrun.com and see what they have for videos etc. on puppy agility training. I would think very low jumps or just the uprights would be fine.  You could make a balance board.  I would think the 2x2 weaves would be fine.  Do it on a soft slip proof surface.  You could also probably go watch agility training classes and learn a lot.  Most of agility is learning how to handle your dog....so anything you can watch/read on handling would be good.  Go to trials and watch and listen to the audiences (handlers) comments!  Research some of the training methods that teach them HOW to jump properly.  You could probably start some of those exercises.  Good luck and have fun!  A year will go zooming by and you'll soon wonder where your puppy went..

Comment by Jane on January 16, 2013 at 1:15pm

I second everything Beth said. A lot of beginner agility classes won't even let you do obstacles for quite a long time anyway.

Comment by Beth on January 16, 2013 at 12:03pm
You should not do any jumping or weaving or A-frames/teeters until the growth plates have closed, somewhere between a year and 18 months. You CAN do ground work. Practice working her on left and right, practice "wait", practice having her follow you closely no matter which direction you turn. You can also do targeting. Honestly, though, unless you are a very experienced owner (meaning you have had obedience OR agility OR search and rescue OR service dogs) you will probably find that the two of you are not ready to do more advanced work until your pup is a year old. It takes a lot of work to socialize and learn basic obedience. Good luck!

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