Our training

My training is best known for fast, happy and healthy dogs, tight turns and of course,  running contacts and tricks.

My 10 Golden Rules:

1. develop a firm and trusting relationships with your dog

2. properly condition your dog: my dogs’ minimum is 2 hours off of leash running in the woods per day + one all-day-long hike in the mountains per week

3. teach your dog tricks – as many as you can think of: tricks teach you how to teach, they teach your dog how to learn and they also teach the dog that learning is fun, that you’re fun. Side effect is total awareness of his body, tricks teach a dog how to use his body. Rear end and overall body awareness, balance, strength, power, flexibility and agility that my dogs excel in so much are all the side-effects of all the tricks they’ve learned. “Too much tricks” doesn’t exist. If you don’t have any ideas, you can get some from our tricks videos.

4. teach your dog obedience. It’s very easy to motivate a dog for those 30s on agility course. It’s much harder to motivate your dog for long minutes of just heeling. If you want to learn about motivation, obedience is a way to go. If you can make those long minutes of heeling fun to a dog, then making agility fun for your dog should be a piece of cake.

5. boost your dog’s confidence – only confident dog will dare to run at his maximal speed. Make sure your dog knows he is World Champion before you let him do his first jump.

6. don’t be afraid to do things your way. Books, videos and seminars are helpful, but no one knows your dog better as you do, especially after teaching him those 100 tricks and playing and walking with him every day, so… Trust your intuition and do what YOU think is best for your dog. Avoid those that think there is just one best way. Wary those who want to make you believe you need particular breed/method/handling tool/video in order to succeed. Were you told too that you MUST have a lead-out in order to win? Well, I win at least 90% of my runs with La. And she doesn’t stay.

7. if something goes wrong, always remember it’s your fault, caused either by your training or handling. That’s a good news since it gives you a power to fix it yourself too. Things would be much harder if it was dog’s fault. Luckily, they, unlike people, come without mistakes.

8. never forget that results don’t count. Because of the speed of my dogs, I can have a very ugly run and still win. And I might go off-course sometimes, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of the run wasn’t perfect. Who would care about that off course then anyway? I always say that every good dog goes off-course sometimes – that’s not the case only if handler is perfect too. But I don’t know any of those, so…

9. dogs work best when they work for themselves. Don’t ask them for a favour to work with you. Make them ask you for a favour to work with them.

10. you want agility training tips? If you follow the advise from above, agility gets so easy that you don’t need those. Just go out and have fun with your dog!

photo by Maja Rokavec

 

Some articles on our training you can find on this page:

Agility is easy!

It’s all about the teamwork! 

Busting some myths on dog training: ending on a good note?

Busting the myths II: dealing with fears

Busting the myths III: too slow for your dog?

Heeling, my favourite trick

Cik&Cap, the easiest way to perfect turns 

Why teaching tricks?

Be generous with your rewards!

Large vs. Small/Medium

My sweet autistic Bu

BC vs. PyrShep

How it all began…

A question of enthusiasm

Let’s play!

World Championships 2011 

World Championships 2010

 

162 thoughts on “Our training

    • Or rather I am from Tyumen, Siberia) Even there is Agility) I do agility with their mongrel Bona. She is now 4 years. I found her on the street when she was about 8 months. It is difficult to study. However, the clicker works wonders! Bona knows all barriers to agility, but there is one problem -- the entrance to the slalom. I do not know whether to retrain its program 2X2. Help me, Silvia. if you need more information -- write, I’ll give it.
      P.S. Sorry for my English. I was not accustomed to speak and write on it.

  1. I was at agility training this evening and a new little glitch came to my attention regarding Sleet. Ok, bear with me because I have to describe this in words which won’t be too easy.

    Her problem is that she seems to have developed the idea that when I push her forward to jump a hurdle, she must go around the nearest wing and then jump back towards me. I have tried pulling back to make sure that I’m not pushing her around the wing but she seems to have made her mind up about it regardless of where I am, lol. I really had to cue her close to me and be REALLY careful and approach the hurdle slowly in order to get her into position to jump the hurdle from the right side…and not wip round that wing. She did it twice in two different places and it took several attempts both times to get her to do it the correct way round. My instructor said I wasn’t doing anything to push her round….that its something she has just decided needs to be done, lol. Even when I got her in closer to me to position her correctly for jumping the hurdle, she still thought she MUST go round and did the tightest, quickest little detour around that wing so she could jump back towards me. My instructor laughed that it would probably come very much in handy in some situations, haha. Just wondered if you’d come across this and how to rectify it?

  2. Also, it seems that Wren loves the nice straight work but becomes quite slow and sluggish during the tighter turning work…any tips as to help her like the turning bits more?

  3. Hello, what do you do if the weather is hot? My dog loses all of his motivation when the weather is hot. He does not want to eat or play with his toys. He wants to do nothing. Do you train your dogs at dawn or in the evening? Or your dogs work in every weather? If they do, how did you reach it?

    • I walk and play with them even in very hot weather. Agility, I try to do in the evening, if it’s hot, I’ll do shorter and fewer sessions. They don’t mind hot weather at all, but of course tire faster. With a dog that has motivational problems, I would avoid agility when too hot, but would take him to walks and swimming in hot weather too.

  4. Hello! I have a sheltie who absolutely loves agility. She has a very high drive. I have recently noticed a problem about her barking though. She barks when we run a course. It has never really been a problem until now. When I make a mistake, no matter how small, she starts ‘fussing’ at me and I cannot get any of her attention back. I know the solution should be “Well, don’t make any mistakes!” but that is hard sometimes! Is there a better way to fix this without taking the fun out of it for her?

    • Well, what I do when I make a mistake and end on a wrong place is to throw a toy (another reason I like to keep it ready in my hand all the time) and reward the dog for doing such a wonderful job despite me:). Play and try again.

  5. Here are my two running at a demo yesterday. It was a really hot day and Wren hates the heat which makes her more sluggish and she can’t be bothered but note how she really slows down on the tighter turns. How can I improve that? Is it my handling or her just hating turns? I asked before but there was no answer.
    The video shows Sleets run first.

    • I would go back to just one cik & a ball, one cik and a ball, maybe two ciks and a ball… Wouldn’t run such long sequences at all, they still need more playing in between to improve their speed.

      • Hey, a breakthrough with Wren.

        Instead of using a ball as reward, I tried using grass. Yes, grass!!!! My two go absolutely bonkers when I pick some grass and toss it at them. Suddenly, Wren is much quicker working for grass instead of a ball. I’ve been doing Cap at the moment because it’s easier on our backs. I’m using a traffic cone that I found as a makeshift wing because I don’t have any actual equipment at home.

        Just goes to show the silly things you sometimes need to do to most reward your dog.:D

  6. Many thanks. It was a demo we were asked to do so the dogs were thrown in at the deep end somewhat in order to entertain the crowds…they still did well despite what was expected of them and the heat but definitely something to work on, especially with Wren. Sleet doesn’t seem to have the same issue and is getting faster. I used to use the goal posts on the local playing field to do cik and cap, before they took them out as they do in summer, and sleet was great at it but Wren was always hesitant and slow going round the posts even with a ball thrown each time for doing it. She was too busy just looking at me whereas sleet would just go rush round the post nice and tight.

    I’ll try and get some footage of Wren doing the cik/cap and ball exercise so you can see.

  7. Hello !

    We attended one of your seminars in CA in 2006 but I only recently discovered your website(s) and now am an ADDICT :-)

    My Qs is about refusals. I’m thinking the refusals have to do with contact equipment. I have two videos to demonstrate: in the first is a typical “I dont see any equipment” the refusal style I’m getting (we got whistled off and had to leave b/c I asked her to do the teeter after she touched it and bailed off) and in the second is a pretty typical jumpers performance (including my typical bad handling -- am certainly thankful for my forgiving dog). Any suggestions on how to handle the agility courses differently ? do I need to “support” more ? or am I going to be better with training (retraining) running contacts ? any thoughts are much appreciated! and once again I l-o-v-e the websites -- visiting simply brightens my day and makes me get off my chair and go do tricks with my dogs :-)

    THANKS!
    Noa (CA).

    • To me, he looks faster, more motivated and therefore more focused on jumpers course -- maybe because you look less worried as on agility course and run more? Try not to worry about the refusals, but instead run more and all the way to the obstacles. Also, make sure he is on the right line (he wasn’t for that see-saw). Running more normally fixes it all:).

  8. Hello I’m Tania from Belgium and it woul dbe lovely if anywone can give me some advice or tips for jumping technics.
    My girl is now 13 months and she really fast and this was no problem at all for cik & cap when we jumped o medium but now we took th ebars up on large they fall down like snow for the sun ;o(

    Below a little video from her when she was 9 months

    Greetings Tania

      • Silvia,
        At home I train between medium and large but in our dog shool it is large.
        I know for cik & cap you bust go slowly up but I didn’t know it’s also for just jumping, thanks I will try this.

        greetings Tania

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