Agility and Fetch in One

An online course to build up your skills

Flygility is a combination of Agility and Flyball. In this sport we ask our dogs to travel across a number of agility obstacles in order to retrieve a ball and bring it back over these obstacles. While we are not building up for competition here we are using this game as an opportunity to teach your dog a combination of different skills along with building up your own as a handler.

Not every dog will be motivated by the game itself so we will base our teaching off of motivators that your dog cares about. It can take years to build up a competition level dog for this or other sports to really build the motivation but we are here to have some fun. It certainly will not take so long to start seeing gains. We will break this progress down into two main subjects: reliable retrieval; and directed agility. We work on both separately for a while until we are at a stage when we can bring them together again.

Session 1 - Reliable Fetch

A basic but reliable fetch is the first thing that we are going to teach our dogs. We will do this, somewhat in parallel to working on the agility end of things.

A solid fetch is a very useful tool, first off, we can, obviously, use it to play fetch with our dogs. It can also be honed to teach your dog to retrieve specified objects such as their toys, your shoes or car keys, or even carry in the groceries. The most important thing about it is that your dog is eager and willing to play the game and also happy to give the object back to you at the other end. The last thing we want to build up is a dog that wants to play keep-away the whole time.

Thankfully this is a relatively easy behaviour to teach once you are consistent and willing to practice it.
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Tools 1 - Jumps at Home

Not all of us have access to full agility jumps. In this short article we look at some simple hurdles that we can pull together from household articles and also look at building simple hurdles similar to those used in flyball.
We are not concerned here with getting lots of height, rather something stable but light that your dog can get over easily.

Session 2 - One Jump Basics

We need to teach our dogs to reliably go over jumps. We do this a little differently than how we do so for agility classes. Here we need to be able to send our dogs out over different obstacles while we stay in one spot rather than go with our dogs.
To start with we use just one jump but build up you and your dog's skills with that one jump.

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Session 3 - Fetch from a Defined Position

In the first session we worked on teaching your dog to fetch a specific item from our hand initially then from the ground and eventually after a throw. We need to work towards a retrieve after going over a number of agility obstacles, often the ball will be completely out of sight so they need to learn what to retrieve once they get to the end of all those obstacles.

To achieve this we start to build up the fetch where your dog always retrieves from a particular structure. From there we add on retrieving around a blind corner.

Session 4 - Start combining jumps & retrieve

At this point we can start to combine a single jump and a retrieve back over the same jump. Be mindful of the issues your dog may have had with the jumps on their own. Go back and set up to prevent those issues and phase them out over the session.
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Session 5 - Adding Around

We are not going to add specific directional cues just yet but we are going to add an 'around' cue. This means that you can send your dog around a specific object either direction (clockwise or counter clockwise). We are not adding a verbal cue yet as we want to work on your footwork this week. Your dog is very aware of your gestures and how your body moves as you ask them to do something. We are going to make use of that this week.