Must haves before you start "agility" training
Ok, so there is nothing more joyful than helping a young team begin training agility specific behaviors - when the dog and handler have a strong foundation. You just know that the handler is going to be able to bring out the best in their dog- and their dog is going to love the learning process, feel confident, give their all and be stress-free and reliable in their ultimate performance. The handler is going to love working with their dog, be thrilled in their results and their dog is going to feel great energy from their handler.
If that sounds good to you, then take the time to build these foundation skills before you jump into your "agility" training. If you don't have these yet- build them. Work on them just like you would work on a sit or a down or a weave entry or a jump behavior.
Characteristics of a team ready to start formal agility training:
1. A handler who has a powerful reward system for their dog (fetch, tug, treats)
2. A dog who responds with enthusiasm to your invitation to play and understands your communication style.
3. A dog who understands to offer behaviors for the chance to earn rewards (Shaping)
4. A dog who loves hand-in-collar & restraint
5. A history of training & play being indistinguishable
6.A dog who loves to play self-restraint games in order to earn rewards
7. A handler who has a basic understanding of how to mark behaviors, how to differentially reward them, and how to react when mistakes happen.
8. A dog who understands how to make choices and be thoughtful even when highly aroused.
9. A trusting and confident relationship between dog and handler
10. A joy in working with each other