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Flatwork, foundation exercises?

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Looks like I might be able to afford 1 or 2 agility sessions per year, so I'm thinking of it for the winter when I can't otherwise socialize with dogs). In the meantime, I'm just doing basics with Sonic, but since he likes to run/play 'chase me' games, and still has no clue/desire to fetch (and tug is rare, unreliable), I thought adding in some of those 'no equipment' exercises might help make things more interesting.

I would need to work with treats (toss a treat) as, again, we are no where with fetch, and where and when he wants to tug is completely unpredictable.

I vaguely remember flatwork, but frankly, I skipped it with Dynamo and went straight to the equipment, but I had already done rally0 by that time, and I trained targets, and contacts & wobble board at home with her, so she had basic manners regarding the equipment by the time I took to agility (and I had a private classes).

I'm basically looking for fun fast things to do on a long line without equipment. Because of the long-line, I think I have trouble figuring out which hand does what (one hand is hanging on to the long line, one to the treat, so far, so I get confused with that, not to mention tripping hazards). Since I'm running about with him anyway, I thought it would be good to do it with agility in mind.

Still flummoxed to have a dog that is gung ho about chasing me but won't redirect to a toy, because I'm not athletic enough to keep him amused for long.



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Wing wraps I do with random tall obstacles such as trees, goal posts, bushes, etc. I do this all the time.


If you get two chairs and a stick, or even just two of something, you may not even need the stick, you can train probably a few of the handling techniques.


If you had 4 chairs or things your dog can run around, you can practically train most of the handling techniques.


(of course, instead of jumps, you can use the substitute, and just gently learn the techniques)


You could practise the dog walk with the target practise you did, and get the 2 on 2 off position on a stool or box or something, and then practise running into that position perhaps? Get it perfect, so that your dog doesn't break the position, and add speed to debug it.


For the dog walk, my dog really struggled with it due to him falling off or loosing balance, so we found a very low brick wall, and practised him running along there, and that pretty much worked fine.


For weaves, you could use sticks again, though they may not be straight enough, and use the 2 by 2 or channel weave method which you can find out about online.


Hmm, chairs and trees may be a bit difficult though if you have a long line, so perhaps you could try with 4 small cones and two long sticks? you could try to tie the long line to your belt or something perhaps? Im not sure if you would have any cones lying around though, sorry. I don't know, just offering suggestions.


You could also get some really cheap PVC pipe (which I did) and use them instead perhaps? could work well as the weaves, poles, and jump wings even by sticking them into the ground.

We got some cheap rigid PVC pipes, and they even cut them to the right length for us at the store for free. Was good :)


Sorry if none of these possible suggestions are what you're looking for, I may have misunderstood what you meant or something.

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Thanks so much. They are fabulous! A bit in the future (need to ditch the long line). I should have said that I don't have a fenced yard, but the ideas are great, will get there. I can train for some light weight 'contact targets' (foam pad?) and little stick in flags.

For the 'right now', maybe I'm not getting the words right. Circle work??? Run in a clockwise circle, dog on right, dog on left, and 'go out's' in a direction. I'm all muddled about that. I think there are names for these manoevres, front cross? etc... and I think it's something I could start now if I can get my hands and feet (and dog) co-ordinated. So far, I just run in different directions, point and toss treat. Mayhem, then I'm completely winded, done, and proceed to plod along...

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eah, there are different "handling techniques", front crosses like you mentioned. There are a bunch of different ones, and it varies between country and handling system

This video is in a different language I am afraid, but it does show quite a few different techniques

I wish I could do all these :(

Though I usually do wing wraps and front crosses though most the course haha, so Im fine using just two of those techniques mostly xD

They had 21 in that video, but most people don't learn that many from what I have seen! So yeah

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Thanks. Things are becoming clearer now. I think I asked, or should have asked, 2 different questions.


1. What exactly is a Agility Foundation Class or Pre-Agility Class (no equipment). As in, a list of behaviours that a dog must have before introduction to equipment.

Startline stay, contacts (2 on, 2 off), etc...


2. The circle work. Which is answered now. What I need to do for that is study those jump (1, 2, 3 jump) exercises, visualize how that would go and practice on the flat with go outs. Which leads me to realize I need to do a lot more work on targets, go outs, just plain old getting his eyeballs off and away from me and my treat hand, before I can really start.


So back to question 1, because I'm curious, has anyone taken an agility course that was, erm, 'equipment free'? What was the course outline?

Thanks so much,

maybe I'll get to run a course one day again.

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Our agility foundations classes only really had a tunnel, and I think it was mostly there to keep owners from rebelling and leaving.


Otherwise it was:

Driving to a target.
Startline stays and restrained recalls.

Recalling past distractions

Front, rear, and blind crosses on the flat (you can do these going around corners or just on walks)

Fast downs for the table (not just down but lift your arm and have the dog hit the ground fast)

Send outs around a cone or bucket from both directions and at increasing distances.

And a foot target with a disc/bowl for 2o2o later.

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I never took an official Foundations course, but our trainer had a ton of equipment-free things we had to have trained before we could get on equipment. I should say, by equipment-free I mean without standard equipment, we still had lots of props like buckets, wobble boards, trash cans, etc. I hope that counts....


In theory, a Foundations course should give you all of the behaviors necessary on a course. You're right in thinking about 2o2o and start line stays. I think it also includes some guiding things like following your hand and shoulders, as well as an intro to moving equipment. I'd say body awareness is part of it, as well as teaching your dog to want to interact with objects. I'll try to think of some of the things we had to do as a foundation:


-Sitting in a bucket/standing on a bucket with a stay

-Sending to the bucket

-teaching left/right, spin/twirl, whatever you call it

-2o2o on a small board

-2o2o on a longer board with speed, starting to build the drive to a contact point as well as proofing the position with more excitement

-2o2o on a wobble board

-there's an exercise we had to do, it was awesome. It was basically doing a square around the edge of the wobble board with the 2o2o. It was sort of like heel work, where the dog would be in either a heel or side position and would pivot around the board, without ever leaving the 2o2o position.

-teaching "out", both sending to an obstacle as well as going to the outside of one. We'd walk towards a trash can, and the "out" would mean the dog would push to the outside of the trash can, so the can would pass in between the dog and I.

-going around an object, go look at Bandit's agility thread, she has an AWESOME cone drill. Her drill includes some crosses and more advanced behaviors, but it's a good start. I'm starting that exercise in bits and pieces with my mom's 6 month old pup, crosses included.

-going through NADAC style hoops. I'm not sure this is totally a foundation skill, but I think it's pretty basic.


I can't seem to think of any more, even though there are TONS of exercises and skills out there. As I said, I didn't take a course, I did as much as I could think of by myself before we took our class. I basically wanted to create a dog that steers, understands his positions (2o2o), and really wanted to take obstacles. Not everyone may agree with me, but I'd much rather have a dog that REALLY wants to take obstacles than one that you had to spoon feed to every jump. It may cause off courses eventually, but it is SO nice having a dog that's still a novice in every sense of the word but who will still take every line he can possibly see. I may screw him up, but he's so honest. Some people in my class have dogs that won't take a jump if their handler is not making it the only option. I'm rambling a bit, but that drive is something I really tried to build with Keeper, and I'm trying to build it in my mom's pup. And I think that starts at a foundation level. Making obstacles (even just cone sat a foundation level) FUN!!!

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I followed a book called agility right from the start, it is now available as an E-book, with my current dog and it might really help you understand what agility foundation is. I would recommend finding some type of guide or program that will help you build the skills. I worked with my dog at home mostly using the book as a template (he was my second agility dog so I had an idea of my goals) he did not see real agility equipment till he was 11 months, and moving those skills onto equipment was quick. My next dog will not see real equipment untill he has loads of foundation skills.

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You are awesome. I just had to ask the right question!


Now I have homework to keep us busy for months.


Much of it I can work on, some is already getting worked on. Now if only I can get him to chase a toy instead of me. I am not athletic enough to be his toy.


I'll look up that book. I'm hoping to skip the 'foundations' class just because I can only afford a few classes, so it would be very slow going otherwise.

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Yes, tracking down a good book would be awesome. I'll be checking out suggestions; I would like to keep it down to one or two though.

If I end up needing that foundation class, no biggie. In winter, I won't be able to find 'practice dogs' on walks, so getting him in regular group class would be the goal.

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Clean Run sells a very good foundation DVD set by Mary Ellen Barry. Unfortunately, I had purchased the set well after I started taking the local foundation classes, which sucked in comparison to the DVD set.. If I had to do it again, I would put the pup into a group obedience class just to get him working around other dogs and work on the agility foundation stuff on my own using that DVD set. I think that this, in combination with Sylvia Trkman's online tricks class would give an agility prospect a really good start for under $200.

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