Our aim is for people to have as much fun with their dogs as we do with ours. We make training enjoyable but we teach as though people might want to have a go at competing at some point.
Most training is done in small groups of about 4 dogs.
Rather than wait for a beginner class we find the best way to start is to have some 1-2-1 lessons and when you and your dog are ready join a class that suits you.
Young Dog training
We start training young dogs from around 6 months old with exercises designed to prepare them for proper agility training which starts from around 12 months old depending on the breed of the dog. The lessons are for 1 hour with about 4 dogs in a group and cost £8 pay as you go,
Dogs of any age from 12 months onwards may be able to join one of our beginners groups. If the dogs have not been in one of our young dog classes we like to see them first for a half hour assessment to make sure we put them in the right group with the right training plan for them. The lessons are for 1 hour and cost £8 pay as you go.
This is for people who are keen to compete with their dogs. The training plan is based on a yearly training cycle. October - December refining basics, January - March preparing for competition, April - September practice, handling, motivation and winning.
Group lessons are for 1 hour with about 4 dogs in a group. Cost £8 pay as you go.
1-2-1 Training for 1 hour £30 an hour.
If you are serious about competition you could join Diamond Dog Agility Club a Kennel Club registered club based with us.
Agility is now over 30 years old and it is a great dog activity at all levels from those who want to have a bit of fun with their dog to the enthusiastic competitor.
Most breeds of dog are capable of some level of Agility and would benefit from the exercise, control, and partnership with the handler that is involved. There can be limitations for the giant and very small dogs but they are still able to enjoy some of the exercises. Owners and handlers of all ages and levels of fitness are able to take part in agility. Some of the best competition handlers are not able to run and do extremely well controlling their dog at a distance. After all if a shepherd can control several dogs half a mile away it must be possible to steer one dog in a ring 35m square.
If your dog has an athletic build and natural drive you will be able to do agility with it and it is very likely that you would be able to compete with it. If you donít have a dog but think you would like take up agility the most important thing is to do your research and look for a dog that you would enjoy living with first and is capable of agility second. The most successful breed is the Border Collie or Working Sheepdog, smaller breeds that do well include the Shetland Sheepdog and larger breeds the Belgian Shepherd Dog. The key thing to look for is a natural athleticism combined with a willingness to work with control.
There are many dogs that come from the rescue services that are good at agility and there is great satisfaction in re-homing and training one of these unfortunate creatures. However if you get one with problems you must be prepared for a difficult time, and this should not be undertaken by the fainthearted or inexperienced. If you would prefer a puppy look for a responsible breeder who has done the health checks for the breed and has reared the puppies in a suitable environment with lots of socialisation. Avoid puppy farms you will not be able to resist rescuing the puppies but could be taking on a load of problems and as long as people take the puppies these terrible places will thrive.
The next stage is to make sure the puppy gets lots of socialisation in a variety of locations without anything unpleasant happening, and start basic training in a fun, positive and rewarding way. If you are not sure how to go about this find a training club or private instructor. They are generally very busy so it is best to book well in advance. If you are intending to take up agility be wary of training based on competitive obedience, your dog will end up working very close and only on your left, and you will need to be a very fast runner. It is much better to be able to work the dog at a distance. There are people who successful compete in both activities but they are very committed trainers.
Once you puppy is a year old or if you already have an older dog you can start agility training properly. There are exercises you can start with earlier that help prepare the dog for agility. You may find a private trainer to help but most clubs will not take dogs until they are at least a year old. If you would like to compete eventually make sure the instructors have at least some experience of competing themselves.
Teaching the dog to do the equipment properly should take about 6-8 weeks with the exception of the seesaw and the weaves. The seesaw should only be done when the dog is totally confident on the dog walk and even then taken very slowly, as there is a big risk the dog can have mishap that will put it off for some time. The weaves are an unnatural thing for a dog to do and it can take them a while to learn how to do it properly.
Learning how to control a dog around a course at speed is the fun, beauty and essence of the sport. After about 6 months you should be able to get around a simple course but as you progress the courses get more complex and the handling more skilful. It takes many years and if done with the correct attitude is extremely satisfying for both handler and dog.