Friday, May 25, 2012

What's Next?

You may have read my post in March about my success with my Australian Shepherd Abby.  We have since followed that success with a couple more Q's in recent trials and plenty of great runs with little mistakes.  However, the question that had been nagging me was, what's next?  We have achieved the goals we set when we pulled out of competition in the fall.  The easy thing would be to come to the field to practice without any goal in mind and practice whatever was set up of the field.  That doesn't address the many problems we still have, though.  So I did what I do best and I made a plan.

I sat down and watched videos from recent trials and thought about what we struggled with in classes.  From that I made a list obstacle performance and handling we need to work on.  If you were curious, here is my list:

Abby’s Training 
Obstacle Performance 
Chute: Work on getting head down when exiting.
Weaves: Work entry angles and continue having at least one obstacle after weaves to reduce toy anticipation.  Put on wires if necessary.  Proof saying yes at entry.  Also use other words.
Contacts: Proof end position.  Put fencing at the end of contact and work on getting on straight.
*Run past
*Stay behind
*Throw toy
*Use other words to proof release
*Stop at the end
Table: Work on fast down and hanging onto table with speed.

Wraps: Work on cueing early.
Front crosses: Tighten.  Make her honor them and offer treat.
Accel, decel, and combos on flat.
Foundation work with toy: Do this before every training session.  Work on start line stays, release word, fast sits and downs, directionals.  Use a combo of rewards – food, toy, release to the next obstacle.  Add in some obstacles with foundation work.

After doing this I felt REALLY overwhelmed, but organized.  I now keep this list in my car and review it when we get to the field.  No more doing random sequences because it is convenient.

My apologies to the club members who have been doing agility for years and this kind of list is something you already use.  To the new club members this might be something you look into putting together.  I will be constantly adding and changing this list, but I will become a better handler and we will become a better team.


Lindsay Shuler
Rascal and Abby  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Online Resources

This week's blog post has a list of online dog agility resources that you're probably familiar with (USDAA and Clean Run) as well as a list of some of the agility blogs I follow. You might be interested in popping in on these sites, too. Please leave URLs for other sites that you find helpful in the comments section!


USDAA: United States Dog Agility Association
The USDAA website has information about upcoming events, rules and regulations, an online shop, and competitor services.

Clean Run
The Clean Run magazine website has a store where you can buy agility items for you and your dog, the magazine forum with discussions, videos, and articles, a course designer tool, and a list of competitions.


Affordable Agility
Online source for agility equipment.

Camp Bandy Pet Resort
Good directions for build-it-yourself agility equipment.
Great online shop for treats, toys, collars/leashes, etc. Most items at a fraction of the cost of pet stores.

Tugs of Fun
Lindsay's website for those awesome, mostly indestructible tugs!


Aside from our club's own agility blog that you're reading now, I also follow these blogs:

Agility Nerd
AgilityNerd is written by Steve Schwarz. Living and training in Chicago, I've found that there are unique challenges for performance dog trainers and handlers living in a big city.
(***This has a recent post about rubberized contacts you all might be interested in reading!)

Awesome Agility Adventures
By our own Erin Queen: The adventures and misadventures of a two year old Cocker Spaniel and "green" handler as they make their way in the growing sport of dog agility. Enjoy their "trials" and tribulations as dog agility newbies

Bentley and Lexi
Modestly described as "The story of two agility dogs and their very novice handler(s)" by our very own Ashley Wooten (even if they left, they're still "ours").

Bud Houston's Blog
"Dog Agility Training and Occasional Crazy Rambling." 

"Everything about running contacts for dog agility competitors."

Susan Garrett's Dog Agility Blog
Susan is a dog trainer that specializes in a co-operative approach to dog training.

The 2-Minute Dog Trainer Blog
Training blog written by Marsha Houston.