Formal Agility

Beginners Agility (Level 1)

Now that your pup has taken Puppy Agility/Socialization and Clicker Obedience (and maybe even Pre-Agility) – and is at least a year old – he’s ready to start Beginners Agility!

Each student/dog team starts their formal agility career with a 6-week session (Level 1) that includes valuable groundwork and then moves to introduction of the agility obstacles.  Training methods are always positive, and food, toys, and praise are used abundantly.

Class Prerequisites:

  • Dogs must be at least one year old.
  • Completion of PAWS Clicker Obedience Class or equivalent (evaluation by a PAWS instructor required).

Handler & Dog Skills:

  • Tugging
  • Motivation
  • Targeting to the hand and to a target plate
  • Stretching
  • Circle Work
  • Straight-line running
  • Reinforcement & reinforcement zone
  • Front crosses
  • Rear crosses
  • Start-line stays
  • Introduction to agility obstacles (except teeter)

Again, there will be some overlap with both the Puppy Agility/Socialization and Clicker Obedience Classes, but in Beginners Agility, we’ll take what you’ve learned in previous classes to yet another level.  Think about Beginners Agility as being junior high school for you and your dog.

Advanced Beginners Agility (Level 2)

In Beginners Agility, you and your dog established the foundation work necessary to be a successful agility team.  You and your dog have decided agility is going to be lots of fun, so let’s go on to high school.

Class Prerequisite:

  • Completion of Beginners Agility.

Handler & Dog Skills:

  • Obstacle sequencing (negotiating a series of obstacles)
  • Body language
  • Verbal cues
  • Determining where to put a front or rear cross
  • Finding the most efficient path for your dog
  • Handling

After completing both Beginners and Advanced Beginners Agility, teams move to Level 3 (college!) and continue to progress to each higher level (Level 4 through Level 6) based on their handling skills, teamwork, and space availability at the next level.  All training continues to be positive with emphasis on teamwork and having fun.

Handler & Dog Skills:

  • Using body language to direct your dog
  • When to use verbal cues
  • How and when to do front & rear crosses
  • Proper footwork for positional cues
  • Decision-making to develop the best course strategy
  • Finding the most efficient path for your dog
  • Finding and working the dog’s line
  • Obstacle discrimination
  • Lead-outs and lead-out pivots
  • Straight lines vs. turns
  • Serpentines and threadles
  • 180’s and 270’s
  • Push-throughs
    • Working your dog from a distance
    • Acceleration and deceleration

Class Promotion Prerequisites

  • To Level 4
    • Solid start-line stay.
    • Under off-leash control.
    • Competent 2 x 2 weave pole skills (with the dog on left and on the right of handler).
    • Quick and reliable “sit” or “down” on table.
    • Reliable contact zone behavior on A-frame and dogwalk.
    • Confidence on teeter.
    • Good front cross and rear cross skills by dog and handler.
    • Ability to successfully execute sequences of 6-7 obstacles.
    • Dog at good working weight.
  • To Level 5
    • Performance of competition (straight) weave poles.
    • Solid A-frame, dogwalk, and teeter skills at speed and full competition height.
    • Ability to read sequences/courses and understand where to put front crosses, rear crosses, serpentines, and threadles.
  • To Level 6
    • Independent weave pole skills
    • Independent contact skills
    • Ability to work dog at a distance

Class Structure:

Debbie personally instructs all of the agility classes at PAWS with the help of several experienced instructors.  Most agility classes are split into two groups of students and dogs, and both instructors have an opportunity to work with each group during the class (classes average 90 minutes in length).  This teaching plan allows each student/dog team generous practice time on the agility equipment (5 or 6 sequences per class), as well as more individualized attention from the instructors.

Class Fees:

  • Beginners Agility (Level 1):
    • Start dates each year are tentatively scheduled for January, May, and September.
    • $120 for the 6-week session.
    • Full payment and a completed Registration Form are required to reserve a spot.
    • All dogs must complete a PAWS Clicker Obedience Class prior to registering.
    • Note:  Read additional information that pertains to all classes here.
  • Advanced Beginners Agility (Level 2):
    • Classes start the week following the final Beginners Agility Class.
    • $120 for the 6-week session.
    • Full payment is required to reserve a spot.   Note: All dogs must complete Beginners Agility prior to attending.
    • Note:  Read additional information that pertains to all classes here.
  • Level 3 through Level 5:
    • Class fees will be due on the 1st of each month for the upper level courses.
    • $90 per month (regardless of whether the month has 4 or 5 weeks).
      • If two dogs are training, cost is $85 per month per dog.
    • For each class cancellation by instructor, a $18 deduction will be made from the following month’s class fees.
      • If two dogs are training, a $17 deduction per dog per month will be made from the following month’s class fees.
    • Individual classes may be attended on a space-available basis (with prior approval) at a cost of $30 per class.
    • If class fees are not paid at the beginning of the month, classes attended during that month will cost $30 per class.
    • Private lessons are available by appointment only. Cost is $80 per hour.
    • Read additional information that pertains to all classes here.