As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we had been thinking about joining an agility class. We visited two different clubs in the area, more or less at the same distance from our home. The people in both clubs were very nice and helpful, but there were important differences between the two.
In today’s post I will talk about the differences between these two clubs and the points we took into consideration before deciding which one to join. I hope that this will be useful and that it can extrapolated to other countries or regions.
You should also consider that the main reason why we wanted Nix to work on something else apart from frisbee catching. A colleague of Manel’s had also told him that he had seen an improvement in his dog’s obedience after joining an agility class, which is also something that Nix needs to work on. We are not particularly interested in taking part in competitions or winning a championship, so we don’t care much about how many competitions the members of the club have won.
The first club we checked was located in the middle of the mountains, and to get there you had to go through a narrow, dirt road. Before joining the club, the dogs have to either take an obedience exam or attend obedience course. The obedience classes take place once a week, during 1.5 hours and last for about two months, if I remember correctly. The price for the course was about €200.
Then, once the dog is obedient enough, he can take part in the agility classes, which take place once a week. There are different levels and the dog will advance through them at his own pace. In this case, you don’t pay for the classes, which are run by volunteers, but rather for membership to the club. This has the advantage that they give you a key and you can train with your dog when you like. If I’m not mistaken, the membership was about €100 for three months.
Classes always take place in the evening, so during winter it’s always dark.
The second club, although it’s also in the middle of nowhere, it’s much closer to a main road: you only drive for about 200 metres through a dirt road.
Instead of having to attend an obedience course first, the club offers 5 different levels, and at all of these levels both agility and obedience are practised, although the emphasis on each changes. So, in the first levels, the focus is on obedience, whereas in the upper levels the dogs practice agility most of the time.
Since this is a much bigger club than the first one, there are many more options. For each level, they usually offer classes three days a week, and on two of these days there’s class in the morning and in the evening. Each class lasts for 1.5 hours. The main advantage is that you don’t have to choose a day and a time: you can attend as many classes of your dog’s level as you want to. So one can actually attend 5 classes each week.
As an added bonus, there are other activities such as dog dancing or disc dogging in which the dogs can participate. I’m sure Nix would love to practice disc dogging since she loves playing fetch, but I’m not sure she’d behave properly with other dogs around.
Overall, joining this club is more expensive, as you pay a monthly fee of €50 for the beginner levels and an enrolment fee of €100. However, it offers more flexibility and you can get good value for money if you attend as many classes as you can.
In the end, we decided to join the second club. There were two main reasons:
- Flexibility: The fact that you can choose from five different times a week to attend, and that you can actually attend five times a week, is what we valued the most.
- Location: Although both clubs are in the outskirts of cities close to industrial estates, getting to the second club in the evening is easier and, honestly, less scary.