What is Pre-Agility?

Pumi Agility Training
One of the obstacles we introduce in Pre-Agility is a low table. The dog must get on and either sit or lie down, then stay for 5 seconds.

Are you new to dog agility? Do you live in Rhode Island? Our Pre-Agility group training class in Smithfield is perfect for you!

Beginner agility classes vary greatly from one training center to another. I have been answering a lot of questions about what goes on in this class, so here’s an unofficial FAQ for Pre-Agility!

Our Pre-Agility class meets weekly for one hour, and you have eight weeks to attend six classes. This flexible attendance policy means you can skip a week or two if you’re unable to make it to class, or you can be an over-achiever and attend for six consecutive weeks. It’s up to you!

Pre-Agility Goals

The goals of Pre-Agility are, in no particular order:

  • to safely introduce the dog and handler (that’s you!) to the skills necessary to enjoy dog agility
  • to improve the handler’s dog training skills
  • to improve the dog’s balance, flexibility, strength, and proprioception (awareness of limbs)

We accomplish these goals by coaching you to use clicker training in addition to well-timed praise and food rewards for your dog. At the same time, we introduce many simplified agility obstacles and fun tricks. We emphasize skills that can be practiced at home, so the fun isn’t just limited to one hour a week!

Sheltie Wobble Board Agility
Another obstacle we teach in Pre-Agility is the wobble board, which tips as the dog moves across it.

Class Curriculum

The equipment we use includes low jumps (including the tire), short tunnels, the chute (collapsed tunnel) fabric, a PVC ladder, a round board that wobbles when stepped on, narrow planks, and traffic cones.

The tricks we teach include hand targeting, beg, spins to the left and right, turning tightly around an object (“wrapping”), and backing up. We also teach an off-leash stay.

What Will I Learn?

Dog Agility Ladder PVC
While not part of competition agility, the ladder is a simple obstacle that teaches dogs hind-limb awareness.

In this class, you can expect to learn:

  • how to use clicker training to make training clearer and easier for your dog
  • which rewards to use while training your dog (treats, toys, praise, play)
  • how to raise criteria so your dog steadily makes more progress with each skill

Along the way, we begin to fade your dog’s leash by first training your dog on-leash, then with the leash dragging along the ground, then with a light line attached, and finally off-leash. (Off-leash control is necessary before you can progress to the next class, Foundation Agility.)

How Do I Sign Up?

Ready to join us? Great! The only pre-requisite is that your dog has graduated from a group training class in the past, such as basic manners or puppy class. (If you haven’t done that yet, contact us and we’ll connect you to a great training school near you.)

To join us, just fill out our online enrollment form – it’s the first step to enjoying agility with your canine companion.