Frequently asked questions about the CTA Agility Program

What are the prerequisites for taking classes in the Agility program? 

There are 3 pre-requisites:

  1. Age: Your dog must be a year old or older and in good physical condition.
  2. Training: Prior to taking an agility class, you and the dog you are taking agility classes with, must graduate from a CTA Basic obedience class or complete a basic obedience class elsewhere from an organization with a similar curriculum.
  3. Temperament: Because of the off-lead aspect of agility training, no dog or people aggressive dogs are allowed to participate. If an instructor deems a dog too aggressive, they will be excused from class and the owner issued a refund.

 

Why does my dog have to be one or older to start agility?

Younger dogs can and should begin working on basic obedience and pre-agility exercises before starting Basic agility. However, young dogs have soft bones and unclosed growth plates that can be easily and permanently damaged so extra care needs to be taken. Additionally, puppies’ tendons and muscles are stronger than the soft bones and growth plate and stress and repetitive exercises can damage the tendon attachments and growth plates. Damaged growth plates can become stunted resulting in a dog with a shortened leg and a permanent limp. Even puppies lack of coordination can cause hard or sloppy landings resulting in spiral fractures and months of recovery. No responsible agility program will push young dogs onto the equipment prematurely.

 

Please explain the CTA agility class schedule

ALL agility classes whether Intro, Intermediate or Advanced run on a 10-week schedule. All classes held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays run for 8 weeks of classes with 2 weeks off between each session. Monday classes are 6 weeks long with 2 breaks each session and 2 weeks off at the end of the session. There are 5 sessions per year.

The 2019 Agility sessions schedule.

Click here for the Agility sessions calendar.

 

How do I know what level Agility class I should be in? 

Instructors will give students feedback at the end of each session suggesting what class they should take next. It is common for Basic or Intro level dogs to take the class 2-4 times before they are ready to advance to Intermediate.

Before any dog can take an advanced or performance level class, they must be proficient on all the equipment.

 

How do I get in a CTA Agility class?

Students currently in each agility class are allowed to sign up to take the next session of that class before new students. Because of this system, it can take several sessions before a spot opens up for new students. We are keeping a numbered wait list for all the Basic/Intro level and Intermediate agility classes and will let people know when a spot has opened up for them.

 

Why is agility so expensive? 

There are several reasons behind the price difference between Agility and Obedience classes.

  1. Class size. Because Agility is taught with one dog and handler on the equipment at a time, class sizes have to be small (6-8 dogs) so everyone can get their fair time to work one on one with the instructors and the equipment.
  2. Equipment is expensive. Professional level equipment costs thousands of dollars and is easily worn out and damaged. For example; PVC jumps cost @$70.00/each but you need many, Tire jump costs $550.00, Dog walks cost @$1,300.00, A-Frames cost @$1,300.00, See-saws cost @$650.00,Tunnels cost @$370.00  plus @$86.00 for sandbags to stop rolling.

 

What should I know before starting agility? 

Agility classes are taught using positive reward based methods. NO shock, prong or training (choke) collars.

Please bring a well-fitted buckle collar and a 6’ leash or a slip lead.

Bring enough high reward treats for your dog to get 30-100 treats for the duration of the class. With Intro level classes when the treats are given quickly and in great volume, it can be helpful to reduce your dog’s regular food on an agility training day.

 

What type of agility does CTA teach? 

CTA agility instruction is applicable to all agility, including AKC, UKC, USDAA, NADAC, ASCA, CPE.

 

What obedience commands should my dog know before taking an agility class?

Initially, the most important agility building block is the owner being able to get and keep their dog’s attention and knowing what are the best rewards for their dog.

Most of the initial agility training will be practiced on lead, but as obstacles are added it is potentially dangerous to work with a leash that can get tangled or caught on the equipment. At that point, your dog’s ability to work off-lead around other dogs becomes more important.

As sequences or distance work are added, it becomes more critical for your dog to have a solid stay.

 

How are the classes structured? 

While Agility classes are listed on the schedules as running a full hour or 1.5 hours, that time includes setting up the equipment for the exercises and equipment the instructor wants to focus on for the class. In the case of Basic and Intro level classes, putting away any extra gating or teaching aids is also part of the class time. As a student, you are expected to take turns helping set up and clear away equipment. The more you help, the more ring time you and your fellow students will have for class.

 

How do I practice Agility at home?

Practicing agility only during class time will significantly slow you and your dog’s progress. Intro and basic students can often use objects around the house to inexpensively train obstacles, contacts, weave and build body and foot awareness in the dog.

 

How do I rent the Agility ring for private practice? 

If you want to rent the Agility ring for private practice you must pass 3 criteria:

  1. Have a current CTA Agility or Dual membership.
  2. Have completed an intermediate level Agility class at CTA or similar training facility.
  3. Have the prior approval of a CTA Agility instructor or the Agility Training Director.

If you meet all 3 of these criteria, please contact Maureen Shea to arrange a rental time. While people are welcome to practice as a group (4 person limit), everyone practicing must meet the basic 3 criteria and everyone should sign the sign in form.

Contact Maureen Shea at Maureen.shea1210@gmail.com to sign up.

 

Note: Agility Ring Rental time is solely for the purpose of personal practice. No one may rent the Agility or any CTA buildings for the purpose of giving or receiving private (Paid) instruction without receiving permission from the CTA Board, signing a rental contract and providing proof of insurance.

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