Agility is a fun activity for exercise, building off leash skills, and having a great time with your dog. The Living with Dogs agility class program focuses on the recreation aspect of agility (rather than the competitive aspect) and is taught with a “just for fun” approach. Our goal is to help you build a successful working relationship with your dog and to enjoy the sport of agility. That being said, our foundations classes will prepare you for more advanced training at a competitive atmosphere if the agility bug should bite (and we would be happy to direct you to a competition oriented training program if that happens!).

Please note: Agility can be fun for all dogs, but because agility creates so much over excitement, classes are not a good match for dogs that are afraid of people or other dogs or those who have aggression or reactivity towards other dogs. If you would like to try agility but your dog is not a good candidate for classes, please consider taking private lessons.


See the Agility Class Descriptions and photos below for details and prerequisites. 

Agility Class Descriptions

 

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Agility Prep School: Strong Foundations

Description: You and your dog will learn how to work and communicate as a team for agility and
other dog sports. We will brush up on basic obedience including attention, sit, down, stay, and come. We will go over learning strategies (shaping, luring, and capturing) and reinforcement strategies (using both food and toys). We will begin off leash skills needed for dog sports and introduce moving together with forward focus, acceleration, deceleration, and circle work. Please note: This class will not introduce your dog to agility equipment, but you must take this class or have equivalent skills to go into our recreation agility program Agility 1. Please plan on training outside of class for 15-30 minutes on most days to stay up with the class. You will be given information on supplies and equipment at your first class.

Prerequisites: Your dog must be at least 9 months of age (or have permission of the instructor) and be able to focus on you around other people and dogs. You should have at minimum completed Family Dog 1 or have equivalent skills using positive reinforcement training. Your dog should know sit, down, stay, and come. Crate training is a huge plus. You should have a basic understanding of positive reinforcement training using “yes” or a clicker and be able to comfortably move around a grass field with your dog. If you are not sure you and your dog are ready for this class, please ask for an evaluation.

Location: LWD Field, 8022 Soquel Drive, Aptos Village, CA, Directions
 

Agility 1: Introduction to Agility: Jumps, Tunnels, Tables, & Beginning Handling

Description: You and your dog will be introduced to jumps, tunnels and tables, and get a jumpstart on basic handling skills needed to move through a short 3-4 obstacle sequence. We will also introduce 2-on 2-off contacts and jumpstart shaping for weave poles. Please plan on training outside of class for 15-30 minutes on most days to stay up with the class. You may need some very basic backyard equipment for this class such as cones or a single jump. You will be given information on supplies and equipment at your first class.

Prerequisites: Your dog must be at least one year old, have completed Agility Prep School or have
equivalent skills

Location: LWD Field, 8022 Soquel Drive, Aptos Village, CA, Directions
Dogs who have proficiency in Agility Prep School and/or Family Dog 2 are the best prepared dogs for Agility 1.

Agility 2: Adding Contacts, Weaves & More Handling 
Take after Agility Basics: Prep School for Agility (Level 1)

Description: You and your dog will continue with foundation training and handling using jumps, tunnels, and tables. In addition we will introduce the contact equipment—dog walk, A-frame, and teeter—as well as the weave poles. This class is designed to be taken multiple times until the team is proficient on all of the equipment and understands basic handling. Please plan on training outside of class for 15-30 minutes on most days to stay up with the class. You may need some very basic backyard equipment such as six weave poles and a contact board or stairs. You will be given information on supplies and equipment at your first class.

Prerequisites: Proficiency in Agility 1 skills.

Location: LWD Field, 8022 Soquel Drive, Aptos Village, CA, Directions

Agility Fun Runs (Fun Match)  
Novice, Intermediate & Advanced Drills & Coursework

Please note: this is not a drop in class—you must sign up for a 6-week session.

Description: Running drills or full courses independently with less instruction. The goal of fun runs is to promote a working relationship between dogs and their people and prepare your dog for competition in mock trial conditions. Reinforcers are encouraged on the field for fun runs. 

Ongoing Class: Saturday 9AM, Aptos (except holidays and event days, see the Calendar)

Location: LWD Field, 8022 Soquel Drive, Aptos Village, CA, Directions

 

Fun Run Prerequisites: Safety is first in agility, so we do have some basic requirements for the fun runs.

Your dog must:

1) Be at least 1-year-old 

2) Not be aggressive with other, new dogs and people

3) Proficient and trained on all of the equipment (jumps, tunnels, full height contact equipment, weave poles, etc. trained through our Agility level 3),

4) Have  verification of proficiency from an agility trainer,

5) OR approval by evaluation. Book a private evaluation at current rates with us by using our contact form.

 

Open Field Time & Field Rentals

Please contact us if you are interested in renting the agility field. Specify dates and times. Look at our class calendar to see open times on the schedule. Your dog must have been competing for at least six months and you must be pre-approved for field rental by an evaluation. Field Rental is minimum 1 hour, $25/hour for 1 or 2 dogs, plus an additional $5 per dog for 3 or more dogs. Please contact us with specific times and days for an evaluation and rental or instead of an evaluation, the name and email address of your trainer.

 

Our Philosophy

Our philosophy is to use reinforcement & motivation for training. This means using rewards for desirable behavior, preventing undesirable behavior and being consistent. To protect the welfare of dogs harsh corrections are not allowed at our facility. Harsh corrections include: yelling, physical corrections, collar corrections or intimidating treatment of the dog during play or while on the property. The use of electronic, citronella, prong or slip (choke) collars are prohibited during classes and anywhere on the training property.

 

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Gypsy does tunnels!
Gypsy does tunnels!
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Pluto soars
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What is Agility?

Agility is a canine sport where you and your dog run a course set up with obstacles like jumps, tunnels, dog walks, see-saws, and A-Frames. You can do agility at any level – just to have fun, to enhance your relationship with your dog, to compete for your personal best, or to win titles by competing against other handlers. Any way you slice it, you and your dog win!

 

Perhaps you’ve seen agility on TV or heard about it from your dog-loving friends. You know your dog can jump high and run fast. You know she is really smart and needs an activity that will challenge her body and mind, something to look forward to where you engage intensely with each other to achieve a common goal.

 

So where do you start? Start by looking at our Aptos agility classes. Having fun with your dog and improving your fitness, handling, relationship, and communication can be just as rewarding for you and your best buddy as competing.

 

A good foundation class will instruct you on rewarding with toys to motivate your dog so she will happily drive through the course at top speed and with focus. You will learn how your body language helps guide her around the course. Your dog will learn exquisite control of her body so she can run “full tilt boogie” on narrow walk ways and turn or stop on a dime.

 

In competition, should you go that route, you will work your way through beginning, intermediate, and advanced courses. Jump heights will be adjusted for each dog’s height class, from 4 to 24 inches. With a perfect score you can earn points toward an agility title.

 

Of course, the dogs don’t care what color the ribbons are or even if they win any, they are just having a great time bonding with you on the course!

Agility Jump Height Calculator

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