Frequently Asked Questions...
Q. How do I join Good Dog Agility?
A. Contact our secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org) and show an interest in joining the club. She will provide you with information and send you an application for membership or you may download the membership application. The annual membership fee is $16 ($8 if joining in the Spring). Annual membership runs from September 1st to August 31st.
Q. Does my dog need to be obedience trained before I come to class?
A. While obedience training does help, it is not a prerequisite for Good Dog Agility classes. Your dog should be able to cope in a large dog/handler setting without it causing undo stress/distraction. Please know a highly reactive dog could experience more stress in a class situation such as this which could cause a setback in your socilization training. Continue to work on recalls and basic obedience such as sits and downs at home. Recalls are especially important. Our classes are held in fenced-in areas, but our demos and shows are usually held in unfenced areas.
Q. Can I have my dog in obedience and agility classes at the same time?
A. Absolutely! Your dog can benefit from both classes. Obedience provides a good foundation for your dog, whereas agility allows you and your dog to form a team and to have some fun. Many dogs have successful obedience and agility careers and have no problem differentiating between the two.
Q. Should I practice with my dog at home? If so, what type of practice?
A. Practice at home is encouraged by our instructors, especially if you plan to compete. Homework may be assigned by your instructor. You can build some simple jumps and weave poles using equipment plans. You might want to talk to an instructor during class to find out what would be beneficial for you to practice at home. Keep in mind, never go too far with your dog and keep training sessions short and fun. You may think your dog is ready for "the next step", but in reality, your dog needs more training and confidence at the current step.
Q. Are some breeds better at the sport than others?
A. The herding breeds (border collies, shelties, Australian shepherds, corgis) seem to have a natural instinct for the sport and do very well in competition. However, all breeds are encouraged to participate, as long as they are healthy and in good shape.
Q. Can I start an older dog in agility?
A. You bet! A Good Dog member started training her dog at 10 years of age, and he has successfully competed in the Veterans divisions in NADAC and USDAA agility. He is still going at 13 1/2 years! Older dogs become young again when training and enjoying time with their owners! :) And if you want to compete, you can do so in the Veterans divisions in the two associations mentioned above. A "veteran" is a dog 7 years old or older.
Q. Is agility training only for those who want to compete seriously?
A. Not at all! While our trainers must have a goal in mind (to train dogs as if they are going to compete), that doesn't mean that you MUST compete. Our training classes are very fun and motivational. We hope that in bringing your dog to class and learning something new and fun, it will strengthen the bond you have with your canine companion.
Q. Is agility training something local to Arizona, or is it available all over the United States?
A. There are agility clubs all across the United States...even in Alaska! In fact on the east coast, often times people get turned away from trials because there are way too many entries. I think it's safe to say that a good 2/3 of the states in the US offer agility training of some sort, somewhere!