All agility classes are personally led by Beth Ostrowski-Parks, the owner of It’s PAWSible®. Beth is truly addicted to agility! She has been teaching and competing in the sport for almost two decades. Her own dogs have earned numerous agility championships through the years. When she’s not competing, she loves bringing the sport to others. She has a knack for “reading” dogs and offering support, encouragement and constructive feedback to their handlers to help the improve their teamwork.
In addition to her 18 years of experience training and competing in agility, Beth has provided behavioral help and training to thousands of pet dogs since 1995. She has earned her behavior consulting certification, Certified Behavior Consultant Canine (CBCC-KA) and has also earned two certifications for Pet Dog Training: One in the state of Connecticut in 1996 and one national certification through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers in 2011, making her a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Agility is her hobby with her own dogs as well as part of her work at It's PAWSible!.
As far as agility credentials, she has earned 2 AKC Championships (MACH), 5 CPE Championships (C-ATCH), and a C-ATE (CPE Agility Team Extraordinare). Within those championships are multiple agility titles with 8 different dogs. In addition to the "pet dog" classes and behavior consultations that Beth does weekly, she also teaches 7 agility classes a week. Her students are always very successful in agility.
Even though Beth is a seasoned competitor, she still takes her own dogs to their own agility classes each week. There is always more to learn about agility and handling courses.
Beth competes with her dogs in AKC (American Kennel Club) Agility and CPE (Canine Performance Events) Agility.
A solid foundation of obedience training is a must when it comes to agility. Dogs should know how to stay reliably, come when called and have a strong connection to their handler. This is what keeps group classes safe and organized. Even if a dog has these skills, or has taken Basic Manners classes elsewhere, Beth requires completion of the Basic Manners class at It's PAWSible! before entering an agility class here. This way Beth can get to know both you and your dog, and personally assess when your dog is ready for agility. And we guarantee that no matter where you are with your training in basic manners and skills, you and your dog will be challenged and learn something new in our Basic Manners classes. Beth prides herself in challenging every dog and handler team.
Another important reason for this policy is safety! When dog and handler teams take their beginner agility at It's PAWSible! all students can rest assured that EVERY dog has been here for at least 6 classes and Beth and her assistants know them well. In over 25 years of holding group classes It's PAWSible! has a perfect record of NO injuries or dog/dog incidents. I hope everyone understands that is not by accident, but by organized planning.
If your dog is already competing in agility or has his/her CD (Companion Dog) title in AKC, call us at 413-527-7364 to discuss your situation. But generally, there are no other exceptions. This is a safety policy that works well for group training and for all of the participants in the class. Think of it this way: Beginner Agility is done off-leash. Do you want to risk your dog NOT coming when called in this situation? Would you want an unknown dog to run up to your dog when you are trying to work together?
This is an excellent question.
Years ago when Beth first started agility training with her beautiful Doberman Makana, teaching the obstacles and quickly moving to full height jumps was the training method taught everywhere.
The way Beth teaches agility (thanks to many of her courses and agility instructors) there are many foundations that are taught before the obstacles. Even when we present jumps or weave poles, they are presented in a way that is safe for all dogs.
So to answer this question: You can start agility at It's PAWSible! after completion of or during Basic Manners at It's PAWSible! It will be fun, safe and you will learn a lot!
The first answer to this is the level of instruction. Beth has taken classes at many facilities and she knows that agility training is very misunderstood. People often think that it's just about obstacle training, but there is so much more to it.
Teaching agility to Beth is about teaching a dog and handler to become a team. Agility is a team sport. Even at the Beginner Level this is emphasized. It takes more energy to teach this way, but it's worth it. By the time you finish Beginner Agility, the goal is not only that you enjoyed yourself, but also that you want to continue to Post Beginner agility and onwards. Beth has several students who take agility here just to keep training with their dogs. But many people decide that they want to compete in the ring. Beth teaches everyone from the beginning how to be successful. This takes a lot of energy on her part, but it's the only way we know how to do it!
The other reason is: Our facility was designed specifically with the health, happiness and safety of dogs (and people) in mind. Instead of concrete floors with rubber mats, our floor consists of tamped gravel covered by horse stall mats. During agility classes, this cushions the impact to a dog’s muscles and joints, helping prevent injuries. The building is well insulated for comfortable temperatures year-round, and has 34 4’x7’ windows and high casting ceiling fixtures that provide terrific lighting for both daytime and evening classes. Our 5000 square foot building is fully heated and air conditioned for your comfort. We also ONLY have one class going on at a time. The arena is used primarily as a classroom to one class at a time! It's peaceful, yet exciting and fun. It's also kept extremely clean which takes a lot of work.