View Full Version : Agility Questions

Cicero's Mummy
4th January 2007, 07:56 PM
A few questions for those of you in-the-know:

1. At what age would it be fun for Cicero to start agility??
2. Can you just join up in classes for fun??
3. Can altered dogs compete in agility? I'm not sure if we would actually want to compete.
4. Are there any good places in Ohio that offer classes (preferably close to Columbus)?
5. How much work/when/how does a dog become a certified therapy dog?

Since I will be staying at home with Cicero, I thought it would be fun and help with socialization to have him (once he gets older) become a certified therapy dog and maybe do some fun agility for some exercise/fun with other doggies? It also would help my hubby and I make some friends with other dog owners, seeing as we only know two other families with dogs. The one family has a great dane and chihuahua, and the other has a puggle!

5th January 2007, 12:00 AM
wooo!! I am going to be watching this post because I want Wesley and Cody to do therapy work later on. :D

5th January 2007, 01:29 AM
1) Dogs should be at least 1 year to 18 months -- they need joints to be fully formed to do things like jumps with impact elements.

2) Yes lots of people do it just for fun, like me!

3) Yes, altered dogs and mixed breeds can all compete.

don't know answers to 4 or 5. There is a special certification for therapy dogs; I am sure someone knows. It is a full length course, 6-8 classes I think plus an exam.

5th January 2007, 01:54 AM
CGC can be taken anywhere a registered examiner is willing to give the test. My daughter took our 8 1/2 month old and never knew ahead of time what was required. The pup had been trained for conformation-- he passed. Many dog training places give the classes and tests.

5th January 2007, 06:05 AM
Since Cappy and I just got back from our first agility class, I think I'm qualified to answer your questions...NOT!!! But it sounds like we both have the same goal (therapy) and are interested in a fun way to get there (agility).

Cappy and I have taken several dog obedience classes. Rather than sign up for another round, the trainer, knowing that my goal is pet therapy, suggested that we sign up for beginner agility classes. She said this training really demands that the dog focus on its leader and would be a fun way to continue training. It sounded good, so I signed up for the "Puppy Agility Class." I got there about 2 minutes late (got lost!) and there were only two other dogs present: a scotty and a Australian Shepherd. And they were both running with there owners, jumping over/through/under stuff, following commands that I'd never heard of, and basically letting me know that we're in the wrong class! Nope, this was the right class, but the other dogs have come from champions and obviously been practicing i.e. cheating! prior to class.

The trainer assured me that we'd survive and no one would laugh at us (not to our faces, anyway). So while the other two dogs and owners were running all over the place, shouting commands, tossing balls, and doing a bunch of other stuff I've never seen before, Cappy and I were getting cold feet (literally, it was 40F degrees and misting) at the thought of going near that tunnel. All for naught. I had treats and he went right through that thing and scarfed down and handful of them. The chute was next, and Cappy didn't take a liking to that thing, no matter what kind of treats were offered. Better luck next week, I hope. BTW, pups have to be 12 months to work on some of the obstacles (or whatever they're called), but there are plenty of things they can do until then. Cappy is 9 months.

From what I've read, to be a certified therapy dog, the first step is to get your AKC Canine Good Citizenship. Classes and evaluators in your area can be found here:

Then you can move on to TDI or Delta Society, which ever is required by the institution you want to volunteer at, or which ever is available in your area. The CGC isn't very hard to pass for most dogs, and many pass with out ever taking any official training classes. TDI and Delta usually require some classes and training before testing.

Info on therapy Dog International testing in your area can be found here:
Info on Delta Society instructors and evaluators in your area can be found here:

There is a ton of info on those sites and hopefully some of it will answers your questions. Good luck!

Cicero's Mummy
5th January 2007, 01:48 PM
Gee! Thanks all! Very informational!

5th January 2007, 03:32 PM
Agility is a lot of fun...while the thinking is that your dog shouldn't be jumping full height or doing full height contact obstacles until they are 1 year or older for bigger dogs there is a lot you can do with a younger dog..first they need good basic obedience for agility..they need a sit and down and stays...they should have good focus on you..there is also a lot of ground work you can do in agility..tunnles, chutes bars on the ground, spread weave poles, board on the ground..

I was atteneded a seminar (it was actually an obedience seminar but she also did some agility and shutzhund (sp))...and she presented the idea that waiting until a dog was older could actually predispose them to injury..that is was more muscle memory that help prevent injury not growth...she likened it to two skiers.. one who started at 5 years old and the other who started at 35 years old...the 35 year old was more likely to injure themselves but the 5 year old who had been doing it had the muscle memory of the activity even tho the physcial structure hadn't fully developed...now she wasn't advocating full height before they were a year old but at least starting the activities

Now I don't know if this is coincidence or not but I started Riley at agility at 6 months..as I didn't know anything about it or that I shouldn't..LOL..and he started at full height in just about everything but jumps...he is now almost 9 years old and has never had an injury...I started Robbie as soon as I got him on ground work..tunnels etc...but waited til he was much older before jumping and full height contacts.