I have been doing agility training for about 9 months now. Amber will do all the obstacles we are still worrking on weaves with the poles not spread out. I have come to the conclusion that most of what I have to work on now is me... I am learning to direct Amber to where I want her to go. The things I am having a hard time learning are the shades of gray. Things like taking an extera step out or knowing when to slow down slightly. It is the subtle things that sometimes escape me. Has anyone else here trained in agility? and does anyone compete?
Kelly G the not so graceful handler and Amber RN CGC
I have been training and competing occasionally for about 8 years with my lab..and training with my cavalier for about 6 months and finding those little nuances are different with each dog and sometimes its trial and error to find out what works for which dog...as I tell my students there is no one right way to run agility but you have to find what works for your dog...I can show them how to do a front cross, a rear cross, a 270 or a threadle etc but in the end they have to find out what works for their dog.
** I have come to the conclusion that most of what I have to work on now is me...
Kelly, you will find that is also true for obedience training.* That is why we actually work on handling along with the exercises and drills to get the dog ready for the ring.* Though I own my own training center and have been competing for 20 some years, all ready have one Utility Dog title and other titles, I am taking lessons from one of the top handler/judges/competitiors in the nation.* Most of the time if the dog messes up it is actually us.* Yes, they have brain farts, but often it can even go back to lack of distraction training.
Susan UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
I've been competing in agility with Murray for 2 yrs and I'm still learning those little nuances. It takes tons and tons of practice to figure out that you can't use a rear cross or your dog will drop bars, or that you have to run quiet and can't use the command "over" for jumps because your dog takes off EXACTLY when you say over which may be too far away from the jump, or that if you signal the jump but drop your arm slightly the dog will turn in toward you but may also drop the bar, that tunnels are your dog's most favorite obstacle so they become tunnel suckers, or that your dog has great running contacts even though everyone else uses 2o2o, or that your dog watches your feet/hips/shoulders more than your hands, or that we do off side weaves better than on side, or many other things. I'm still so learning so much. That's why when I walk a course I have at least 3 different plans in my head because everything doesn't always go according to plan.
I've been training, competing, and teaching agility for about five years now. You are correct in your observations. And the more you train your dog, the more you'll become attuned to what works for him. I've seen seasoned teams blow courses because of something as little as the handler over-rotates his shoulder, sending the dog the wrong way. At the top levels it gets pretty precise with a well oiled team.