Hi,
I own a 16 month old Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and I am a kid who’s really interested in agility. We have started agility classes and know the A-Frame, Teeter, Table, Dog Walk, Chute, Tunnel, Jumps, Tire, and are starting off leash and weave poles.
I would really like to compete in trials one day…. any suggestions for training, starting off competing, tips, tricks, etc?
All comments appreciated!

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  1. Agility Man

    First, it’s good that you’re in a class. It’s so easy to acquire bad habits early. So good instruction when you start out is critical.
    Second, you probably know that most organizations will have a “junior” handler level that you’re eligible to compete in. And even if they don’t here’s the deal–right now you’re probably faster and quicker and more agile than 80% of the handlers you’ll be going against in Novice and Open levels.
    Third, okay, tips for right now….
    –before you do agility, your dog is your pet. Never forget that. Show love to your dog every day in some way. Do tricks (which is great prep for agility anyway). Go have some fun–get silly, play tag or chase or “gotcha” every day. Let your dog realize that time with you is the ultimate, the best possible place to be on the planet. This kind of relationship with your dog will be good for both of you and it will make you a better agility team as well.
    –get your flatwork down. You can never do too much flatwork. When I started out, I was too eager to get on the obstacles. If I could start over, I’d have spent more time on flatwork and foundation work.
    –you compete like you train. Be organized, train at a rocket-speed tempo, keep it short and always end on a good note. That way, you will not teach your dog to pace itself (“okay, we’re going to spend an hour now doing weaves”) but will learn to always approach the equipment at fullspeed. And by ending on a positive note, your dog will always be eager to do agility. If it’s just not working out today, ask your dog to give you some palm touches or a sit-stay and then reward enthusiastically and end the session. And start and end your sessions like you would a run. That way, your dog starts associating your warmup/start activities with “damn–I GET TO DO AGILITY–YEEHAH!” and will automatically get revvedup. For instance, I have my dog do some tricks (weaves between legs), we tug, then at the start line I go “ready? ready? ready? GO!”. It’s at the point now where when I saw the first “ready” it’s like he gets a jolt of electricity.
    –subscribe to Clean Run magazine. And visit Steve Schwarz’ website (www.agilitynerd.com) on a regular basis. Those are the two best resources out there on a continuing basis for agility.
    –train every day. It doesn’t have to be long. But for instance, I’d practice weaves EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even if it’s just two runs. Practice different entries. Add distractions (smells, toys, sounds). Put obstacles before and after. Each side. From distance.
    Good luck!

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Hi,
I own a 16 month old Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and I am a kid who’s really interested in agility. We have started agility classes and know the A-Frame, Teeter, Table, Dog Walk, Chute, Tunnel, Jumps, Tire, and are starting off leash and weave poles.
I would really like to compete in trials one day…. any suggestions for training, starting off competing, tips, tricks, etc?
All comments appreciated!

About The Author

Comments

  1. Agility Man

    First, it’s good that you’re in a class. It’s so easy to acquire bad habits early. So good instruction when you start out is critical.
    Second, you probably know that most organizations will have a “junior” handler level that you’re eligible to compete in. And even if they don’t here’s the deal–right now you’re probably faster and quicker and more agile than 80% of the handlers you’ll be going against in Novice and Open levels.
    Third, okay, tips for right now….
    –before you do agility, your dog is your pet. Never forget that. Show love to your dog every day in some way. Do tricks (which is great prep for agility anyway). Go have some fun–get silly, play tag or chase or “gotcha” every day. Let your dog realize that time with you is the ultimate, the best possible place to be on the planet. This kind of relationship with your dog will be good for both of you and it will make you a better agility team as well.
    –get your flatwork down. You can never do too much flatwork. When I started out, I was too eager to get on the obstacles. If I could start over, I’d have spent more time on flatwork and foundation work.
    –you compete like you train. Be organized, train at a rocket-speed tempo, keep it short and always end on a good note. That way, you will not teach your dog to pace itself (“okay, we’re going to spend an hour now doing weaves”) but will learn to always approach the equipment at fullspeed. And by ending on a positive note, your dog will always be eager to do agility. If it’s just not working out today, ask your dog to give you some palm touches or a sit-stay and then reward enthusiastically and end the session. And start and end your sessions like you would a run. That way, your dog starts associating your warmup/start activities with “damn–I GET TO DO AGILITY–YEEHAH!” and will automatically get revvedup. For instance, I have my dog do some tricks (weaves between legs), we tug, then at the start line I go “ready? ready? ready? GO!”. It’s at the point now where when I saw the first “ready” it’s like he gets a jolt of electricity.
    –subscribe to Clean Run magazine. And visit Steve Schwarz’ website (www.agilitynerd.com) on a regular basis. Those are the two best resources out there on a continuing basis for agility.
    –train every day. It doesn’t have to be long. But for instance, I’d practice weaves EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even if it’s just two runs. Practice different entries. Add distractions (smells, toys, sounds). Put obstacles before and after. Each side. From distance.
    Good luck!

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *