Jane’s Thoughts Part 1

This is my first blog and I am a little nervous about writing it!

For those that don’t know me, I compete in agility with Zola who is my first agility dog. She is a 5 year old working cocker spaniel and hasn’t always been the easiest dog to train!

Having almost completed my Trainer Course from Agility 1st and in my first 6 months of teaching, I have become far more aware of watching handlers and dogs either at training or when competing. As a trainer, it is important to teach the foundations and impress upon your students why it is necessary to do this.

The following issues seem to crop up often…..

‘Wait’- this can be whatever position you choose and that your dog is happy to be in. Make sure that you choose 1 position and stick to it. I have had and still do on occasions have a problem with Zola standing from her sit but we are working on it.

‘Contacts’- there are 2 ways of executing these… Running and Stopped. I gather that running contacts are very difficult to teach and it is much more technical than just letting the dog run over and making contact with the bottom. Stopped are exactly that, ensuring that your dog stops at the bottom in a 2o2o position.

‘Driving to Tunnels’- the need for the dog to drive to a tunnel becomes more apparent as you move up the grades. You don’t want to be drawn to the tunnel entrance before you move to the next obstacle.

‘Training Plan’- These can run throughout the year but usually the winter gives you more time as there are fewer shows. The niggling things that are ‘Training Issues’ can be worked on frequently.

Rewards need to be given often and can be whatever your dog finds exciting.

Remember that this is Fun as well as being Competitive and you still take the best dog home!

There is NO criticism here, in fact I have been guilty of a couple of these issues.

Thanks for reading!

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4 Responses to “Jane’s Thoughts Part 1”

  1. You have summed up all my issues in your blog Jane, a constant work in progress.

  2. Guess who 😂 Says:

    Having read your comments you might think that yes we trained all that at the start. And we did but once you start competing and you get some good results, the competitive edge creeps in and the adrenalin fuels your desire to do well and it is so easy to let things slip. The fidgety behaviour on the startline begins, you think it’s ok he still didn’t go until I released him. So you ignore it. In my case the behaviour ended up with what looked like a performing sealion on the startline.

    Contacts were always good, but is he really only releasing when I say?

    Drive to tunnels have always been a challenge but is much better in training.

    Training plan – I think I have one but I guess I dont always follow it.

    So these mistakes that I have made with one of my dogs greatly affects our achievements now we are in gr 6. Much harder to put things right than sticking to your criteria in the first place.

    So Jane I totally agree with you that teaching our dogs good foundation skills and STICKING to our criteria 100% is the most important part of their training.

    So if anyone sees me making these mistakes with my young dog please remind me of what happened when I let things go before.

    Thankyou Jane.

  3. Thanks for your blog Jane – will definitely be working on waits over the winter and setting myself a training plan.

    Think what may help is to record my training sessions and competition runs to see what differences it shows up – also should help me see the reason why – when things do not go to plan!

    Looking forward to your next blog!

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