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So- my Cuddy is 2 1/2 and a very active, busy basset girl. I had so wanted to start here in agility as a puppy but decided to go back to school to get my doctoral degree instead... so now I am finishing up school and thinking again of how much fun it would be to have a basset to train with. Is she too old to start training? We have a local group (non-basset) that I have though of contacting. She is only minimally trained... she knows the following commands... sit... yeah right mom, go to bed... She goes gets under the covers... do you need a cookie... and stands by the door hiding her milkbones... She is a bright, intelligent girl who I think would enjoy the extra activity. Any suggestions?
 

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She is definitely not too old! I've checked into agility training here and Snickers needs to be at least 1 year old to start to she doesn't hurt any of her still developing joints. Basic obedience will probably be required so you will need to teach her yourself or enroll in an obedience course first.

Good luck!
 

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Of the four basset I have trained in agility only one was younger than 2+ when they started agility training. one was well over 3 years old.

You should join bassetagility yahoo group for more insight.

Many agility training facilities often have two track one for those that just want to have fun and have no asperations of being competitive and those who whant to train for competition. The main difference is in the later there is much more emphysis on fundemental training. This often involve ground work (no obstacle) or equipment far remove from actual agility equipment, wobble/tippy boards, ladders and pedastal to teach rear end awareness ( something most basset are lacking in) etc. All this type of training can start when they are pups, but is often borring to those that are more interest in having fun than the bottom line competative success.

Some clubs and facilities do require a basic obedience class or two or a obedience class specifical designed for beginning agility teams, however IMHO formal style obedience training with emphysis on heeling can be more detrimental than helpful in agility training.

what is important from an obedience stand point is

1. Impulse control, they need to be able to work and focus under extreme distraction I thing the follow video is a good place to start,

2. A rock solid stay at a distance of more than 20 yards and under severe distraction

3. a solid recall (come)

Even the old standby sit and down which were once require by virtually every agility venue are fading. Many venues have adopted a single position (down) so that position can simply be incorporated as part of the obstacle training and not as a seperate command, Others have eliminated the table from competion. The AKC in April is seriously considering removing a need for a particular behavior on the table, the only requisite is the dog has four feet on the table.

Additional things that help

1. A dog that is toy motivated as well as food motaviated. Food is best used to reward position (i.e times the dog is not moving) toy which are thrown are best used for rewarding motion.

2. the ability to precisely throw the dog toy or food. This require practice away from the dog for yourself.

3. a basic understanding of clicker training and operant conditioning. There was a time in agility traing that a clicker was the most used tool used however as training methodologies have progressed it has been learned that it is better to preserve the precision of the clicker for only those instances that it is need and simply "chucking Food" is better for less percise behaviors that are much more commonly needed.

4. A money tree, agility if not the most costly dog sport ranks very near the top. To compentently train a dog in certain obstacle performance require equipment, weave and teeter in particular, in addition for bassets because of there reliance on the front end for proplulsion are often poor jumpers. The general need a jump train which includes jumps, jump bump etc as well.

For finding additional agility training facilities near by
you can check out
Agility Clubs and Schools Search

or
Googility
 
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