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Puppy agility?

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Everyone here seems very knowledgeable about over exercising and limits for young joints and etc. I was hoping I might be able to get some feedback about this puppy agility class I am registered to start later this month (puppy will be 5 months) This is the description:


"Finished a puppy socialization class but ready to do more? Start your puppy in agility! Specially designed for growing pups, this class has modified puppy-friendly obstacles and content. We will also work on body awareness, introduce easy-to-understand agility cues, and lots and lots of come-when-called."


Does that sound reasonable for his age range? I hope this isn't a dumb question, I have just become so worried about harming his developing body after reading all the feedback people have gotten from various exercise related questions.


Thanks very much in advance. So much great information here.

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I would want to know the experience of the instructor and the venue.


My local pet stores now offer "agility" training, but they aren't picky about what they teach or the surface the dogs jump on. People interested in agility are better off with our local agility club, which is staffed by experienced volunteers who've trained and competed at different levels.


In general, a puppy agility class like the one you've described should be fine, though I am skeptical about "obstacles." I would be okay if they train body awareness using different fitness disks to get used to walking on uneven surfaces (this helps with the teeter) or ladder work for proprioception, but I would not want my puppy to jump. An older pup might be okay with a jump bump (basically a 4-inch piece of PVC cut in half lengthwise), but nothing more. Your pup can have a lot of fun learning what jump standards are for, learning to wrap around a cone, and learning to walk a travel plank (short board raised about 2-inches above ground and the same width as a dog walk).


Most of the agility people I know won't jump a dog until the growth plates have closed, typically around one year. You can have a lot of fun with obedience, pre-agility games, and recall (come when called) games in order to get the dog to listen to you and to follow you.


Others with more experience may chime in.


Best of luck.

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I'd contact and ask what they mean about obstacles. If they're hoops, tunnels, wobble boards and tippy plank like stuff, no hesitation at all. Basically anything with height (either jumps or off the ground) I'd nope right out of.

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One agility instructor I know (who has coached several world teams in the past) will not allow any dogs to attend her clinics that are less than 14 months of age. And even then, jumps are drastically lowered since the dogs are usually learning new skills.


I agree with the responders above - 4 feet on the floor at all times (which means they can go through jump standards when the bar is on the ground - to get the dogs used to going through standards), proprioception is great, ladder work, etc. There is so much to do without teaching the 'obstacles'.


Remember what the biggest obstacle in agility is --- the ground. Learning lines and learning the path are critical, and can be done without any jumping at all.

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Thanks very much for all of the information!! I'll be sure to look into the instructor. The class happens outside. I think based on what I have read here, I will just choose to opt out of any of the class work that happens off of the ground at all. I am most interested in the recall so hopefully it is mostly that type of thing. I'm glad to hear there is lots to do that does not involve jumping.


Thanks again for your responses.

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Mostly what they all said above, yes.

OTOH, I have a (rescue, but really doesn't matter!) one year old male BC. He's a bit of, um, a handful!

And we have been working on a LOT of foundation work (google that, I guess). He hasn't seen any agility obstacles, other than exposure to a banging teeter (he wasn't on it), a couple of passes through a tunnel, and a few hoops (not jumped).


It's not nearly as much fun for the hooman to do all that stuff. But in the long run, it is WELL worth the time.

So, as to sound like a broken record.....foundation, foundation, foundation!


Keep us posted!


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there are puppy agility obstacles out there, my club has a really cute set of miniature equipment all made to the same standards as regulation equipment rubber surfaces etc. It is mostly used for non-agility classes just to get pet-dogs doing different things, but it does get used by young dogs to get them comfortable going on the different stuff.

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