For Beginners or Seasoned Competitors
Fall Classes Starting September 21st.
NEW Skills & Drills Classes on Wednesdays!
Contact Zonies offers an extensive and comprehensive agility training program that takes its students from raw beginners to advanced competitors. Hour-long classes are offered three nights per week, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, at the club’s outdoor training site located at the Melrose Swim Club, near 32nd Street and Cactus Boulevard, in Phoenix. Due to the coronovirus pandemic, we have modified our class schedule and limited the number of participants to accommodate CDC guidelines.
Contact Zonies offers three class sessions each training year, broken into 9-week sessions, with a long break for the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays and a week-long break in the spring. Beginners will be offered three times a year in 9 week sessions, with the first class starting in mid September and running into November. The second Beginners class will start in January. Check the club Calendar for session start dates.
Beginner Class Mondays 6:45 pm to 8:00 pm, 9/21 to 11/ 16
The Beginner class is a 9-week program that concentrates on building engagement, focus and impulse control in the dog and introduces the dog to most of the agility equipment. Handlers will learn how to shape behavior and encourage and foster the dog’s willingness to learn, building the dog’s confidence to tackle the challenges of agility and desire to work with its handler.
The Beginner class is game-based to teach dog and handler skills that provide an excellent agility foundation, but also translate into everyday life and create a great dog to live with even if the team does not ultimately pursue an agility career. The class is designed for dogs and handlers with limited or no training in agility and also for young dogs just starting their agility careers with more experienced handlers. Generally, dogs must be at least 9 months or older to participate. Handlers must be at least 15 years of age.
Novice Class, Mondays, 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm, 9/21 to 11/16
Novice is a continuation of the Beginners class and students are highly encouraged to enroll in Novice in the session immediately following completion of Beginners.
In Novice, teams will continue to build the proficiency on all the agility equipment started in the Beginners class, including learning the contact obstacles and weave poles. Dogs are also introduced to jumping skills, including grids, bend work and increased jump heights. Teams are eligible to register for Novice if they have completed Beginners and received approval to advance from the lead instructor. If the team’s initial training occurred elsewhere, separate evaluation and approval by the Training Director will be required before registering for Novice.
Novice is offered only in Session 1 and Session 3 for teams graduating from Beginners. After completing Novice students can move to Intermediate.
Specialty Classes - Skills & Drills, Wednesdays, 6:30 pm-8:15 pm, 9/23 to 11/18
Skills & Drills Prerequisite : Dogs must be able to sequence 6 obstacles. Each session is $30.00, Registration Form
1. Stays & Sends – Start line stays, lead outs, and other ways to get up that line. We will work various options and give you some tools for your toolkit
2. Find Your Foot – Start line stays, lead outs, and other ways to get up that line. We will work various options and give you some tools for your tooDid your dog go in an unexpected direction? Might be your feet! We’ll discuss the hierarchy of what the dog ‘reads’ from your handling and address the sometimes unintentional messages your feet send.
3. Clarifying Crosses – So many crosses! Front cross, rear cross, blind cross – plus reverse spins, backside sends, etc. What works best and where? Refine your motion to sharpen your dog’s response.
4. Where’s My Line? – What’s the best line for your dog? Where’s the best line for you? We’ll work to identify the lines and then put them into practice.
5. Cue That! – What’s the right time to start and finish your cue sequence? What is a cue sequence? Come and work on making your dog SO HAPPY with clear and timely handling.
6.Spotting Serpentines (& Threadles) – We typically think of serps and threadles as being a straight line of jumps. But these patterns aren’t always so straight-forward. Learn to spot those ‘hiding’ patterns on the course.
7. Out of the Box (180s & 270s) – We’ll break out the Hobday box and work those corners, then take those skills out onto the larger course.
8. Ready, Steady, Trial! – What do you need to start trialing? Where do you begin? We’ll talk about the different venues, the paperwork, what you can expect your first day at a trial, and whatprep your dog may need to get your team into the ring. No dogs for this one. Bring a comfortable chair.
9. Get Your Gamble On – Are you ready for gamblers? Work on the skills needed to complete the gamble. We will have several ‘just the gamble’ setups and will work on building your team’s confidence.
Handling, Two classes, Thursdays, 6:45 pm to 8:00 pm & 8:00 to 9:15 pm, 9/24 to 11/16
Intermediate - not offered Fall session
Intermediate presents teams with longer sequences and more challenging approaches to the obstacles, such as crosses before and after obstacles. More emphasis will be placed on handling maneuvers while ensuring the dog’s thorough understanding of independent obstacle performance. Obstacle discrimination and lateral and forward distance handling are incorporated into the lesson plans, along with commonly occurring sequences such as 180s, 270s, pinwheels and serpentines. Handlers will increase their use of front and rear crosses, turn away cues and similar handling moves. Intermediate class should be repeated until dogs are proficient on all obstacles, especially 12-weave poles, teeter or other contact obstacles, before moving to Advanced.
Advanced - not offered Fall session
The subject matter for Advanced puts more emphasis on training the handler a wide variety of cues and signals for directing our dogs around a course. Sequences are longer and more difficult than in the lower level classes. Lesson plans will focus on turning cues such as wraps, turn aways, outs, lead outs, serpentines, and false turns. Students will also be introduced to other advanced handling cues such as blind crosses, backsides, and a variety of collection and tight turn cues. Improved obstacle skills and proofing are also incorporated into the lesson plans such as obstacle discrimination exercises, handling contact obstacle from a distance and challenging weave pole entrances and exits. Teams in Advanced are expected to have full proficiency on all equipment, including 12-weave poles, teeter, dogwalk and A-frame. Dogs should be jumping close to their competition height.
Two Advanced classes are offered on Wednesday nights. The same lesson plans will be offered in each class, so students can register for the time slot most convenient for them.
Advanced is a good class choice for teams that have basic obstacle skills but are not interested in competing or for someone who wants to keep an aging dog active.
Open Practice - not offered Fall session
How do I Find Out if a Class in Cancelled?
Your primary form of communication regarding class cancellation is email. Since weather in different areas of the valley can vary, it is best to check the forecast and if rain is a possibility or the field too wet to run, check your email before leaving home to see if your instructor has cancelled class.
You can also check the Contact Zonies Facebook Group page to see if there are any updates there.
General Class Information
Classes are taught by volunteers and not paid professional staff, although all instructors have a range of experience both in competing in agility and teaching the sport. Class lessons follow a written curriculum that is carefully designed to provide a cohesive, consistent and progressive approach to training all of the agility obstacles and handling maneuvers. Lesson plans are updated for each new training season.
Contact Zonies’ training philosophy is based on a positive reinforcement methodology. No force or coercion is used in our training approach. Food, toy play and praise are the primary reinforcers employed to creating a positive learning environment for both the dog and handler.
Safety is also of utmost importance to us. Dog-to-dog or dog-to-people aggression is not tolerated and any incidents will be promptly assessed with the possibility of dogs being excused from class without refund of fees. Beginner dogs and new dogs to the program are required to be evaluated through a questionnaire and in-person evaluation for their ability to work in a stimulating environment without aggression to other dogs or people.
We know that many dogs will be excited by the class setting and the activity of agility itself, especially for the new and inexperienced dogs. Lesson plans are designed to teach dogs and handlers methods to cultivate engagement, focus and impulse control along with the skills associated with obstacle performance and handling. Management techniques such as crating, the use of long line leashes and other tools are also employed in the class setting as teams are building their attention capability.
New students will be expected to enroll in classes according to the above hierarchy, unless separately approved by the Training Director to enroll out of sequence. Moving on to the next higher class level is determined by the dog/handler team’s satisfying criteria for the next level. Moving on to the next higher class level is determined by the dog/handler team’s meeting the criteria for the next level. Advancement criteria for each class can be found here. Criteria for Class Advancement.
Classes are generally comprised of up to 16 dog/handler teams. A class will be divided into two, three or four groups. Each group will rotate through exercise stations containing one or two exercises assigned to an instructor. All groups will be active at the same time. At the Beginners level, the exercises may allow more than one team in a group to work at the same time. Often an assistant instructor is also assigned to a group as well. In the higher level classes, usually only one dog is working at a time on that group’s exercise. Teams may be given additional exercises to work on or are expected to observe the working dog in their group.
Much can be learned by observing other teams performing the exercise and students are expected to take advantage of this opportunity while waiting their turn. Handlers are not allowed to take their dog on equipment outside the group exercise and must avoid being disruptive to other teams working. Handlers can bring transportable crates to carry with them as they rotate between exercises and place the dog in the crate while waiting their turn. About a dozen permanent kennels are available for handlers to use to secure their dogs, especially during set-up and tear down. No dogs are allowed to be tied to fences or chairs or left unaccompanied before, during or after class.
Set Up & Tear Down
Classes are one hour in length with students required to arrive at least 15 minutes early to help set up equipment for the first class of the evening, or to stay after the last class is finished to put equipment away. Set-up and tear-down are integral components of the class requirements and all students are expected to contribute to this element of the class. We understand that not all people are capable of assisting with moving heavy equipment, but there are many tasks that students can assist with that do not require lifting heavy weigh
My mom learned so much! And I loved the treats and seeing my friends each week!
Joe the Collie
So glad my dad finally was able to get the hang of rear and front crosses.
Cali the Corgi