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 $20 ($10 for Jr Handlers). Annual membership runs from September 1st to August 31st.
Q. When are training sessions offered?
A. We offer two 16-week training sessions per year. One starts mid-September and one in February.
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 socialization 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. How much are the classes?
A. A 16-week session is $190 which includes a bi-annual membership fee. We will accept up to 50% in Doggie Dollars and/or Doggie Bytes which can be earned by volunteering at shows. Jr Handlers (17 yrs or younger) pay 50%. Electronic payment options will be available soon.
Q. Are classes held in an enclosed area?
A. Yes. The training field at Faith Family Church is fully fenced and gated.
Q. Is the crate required?
A. Yes. The crate or pen will be needed to confine your dog while setting up for agility classes and during class when needed. For both the safety of your own dog and others, WE ABSOLUTELY CANNOT ALLOW A DOG TO BE TIED TO THE FENCE, A CHAIR OR OTHER OBSTACLE AND LEFT UNATTENDED. A tie down stake is not sufficient since it leaves your dog vulnerable. Crates and pens of all types and sizes are available in pet stores, on the Internet, or by catalog. Let us know if you are having trouble locating one.
Q. Can I make up a missed class?
A. We do not offer make-up classes for individuals who miss classes. If you miss a class, you can continue to work on the homework to strengthen your skills and come back the following week to work at you and your dog's pace.
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. How old should my puppy be to do agility?
A. Your puppy needs to be at least 9 months old to do agility. A dog's growth plates take time to close and it is important to limit repetitive stress to those areas as they grow to prevent damage and injury.
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 division. A "veteran" is a dog 7 years old or older.
Q. I've come from another club. Which class do I sign up for?
A. Contact the Secretary at email@example.com and they will work with you to decide which class to sign up for. It will depend on the skills you have learned at the other club. Many times an evaluation will be scheduled so we can see where you are with your training.
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.