My training is best known for fast, happy and healthy dogs, tight turns and of course, running contacts and tricks.
1. develop a firm and trusting relationships with your dog
2. properly condition your dog: my dogs’ minimum is 2 hours of off leash running in the woods per day + one all-day-long hike in the mountains per month
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 won at least 90% of my runs with La for years. 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