Today’s guest post comes to us from Linda Moore, Founder of Pet’s Second Chance Corgi rescue in St. Louis, Missouri. As a dedicated veteran of breed rescue, Linda has many years of experience to her credit, and happily numbers herself among the Corgi Agility obsessed.
Take it away, Linda!
What is dog agility, you ask? Even if you didn’t ask, I’m going to tell you all about it. Agility is the ultimate sport for dog and handler. A team of one person and one dog running a course designed by the judge of that particular venue. It is a race against the clock, making no errors. The handler cannot touch the dog or use any incentive like toys or food. Sound boring? Believe me, it is an exciting game!
If you’ve never seen agility, Google “dog agility” and your state. You will get a list of all agility clubs in your state; choose the closest club and visit their site. Attend some trials — they’re not called shows — and I believe you will soon be hooked on agility. It will look easy. Oh, just run with the dog and he/she knows where to go and what to do. Not on your life. Watch the advanced classes and observe the handler. Front crosses, rear crosses, blind crosses, post turns, and more. It’s deciding when and where to do what to achieve your goal. It’s hard work, planning, and lots of training.
Your dog will love it and so will you. After all, Corgis are working dogs. They love the excitement of the game and many are naturals. Agility builds a bond that can never be broken. If you are a couch potato, this probably isn’t the game for you.
Search for trainers in your area. Look for only positive reinforcement trainers. This means a trainer who uses only food and praise to train. Trainers train you, and you train your dog. Never, ever should harsh commands be given to your dog. Your dog wants to please you, so it is your job to kindly let the dog know what you want her to do. That is where a good trainer makes the difference between a winning team and the other team. A good trainer will watch you and your dog and tell you what YOU are doing wrong. Can’t take constructive criticism? Agility isn’t the sport for you. “Get out of your dog’s path.” “Don’t be behind your dog.” “Use your other hand”. These are just a few of the many corrections I heard in novice training. My dog did great! On the other hand, I couldn’t seem to get the right moves at the right time. I was either too late with my command or too early. I could go on, but why embarrass myself any further?
Within a few months you will be well on your way to the coveted MACH in AKC agility or the many other titles in different venues. You will paper your walls with winning ribbons. You will keep the agility photographers in business because you just have to have every photo taken of your dog. Did I mention that agility can be expensive? Your drawer will be filled with agility shirts and sweaters and your closet with good running shoes. When you earn the coveted MACH, all of your shirts will have MACH Someone embroidered front and back. Your house will be dusty and the grass tall, but you won’t miss practice or an agility trial.
I believe we call that Corgi Agility obsessed.
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Nice article. I especially like the part about treats… but it was not clear if that is only for the dog!
Daniel Clarke says
I’m 54 and will soon start training my 14 month Pembroke Welsh Corgi in agility. Because the handler (me) needs to get in shape too what advice do you have. I was never an athlete but now my “son” will be.
Laurie Eno says
I would suggest finding local folks who are involved dog agility. You could locate groups on FB, I’d imagine they have that issue come up every now and then.