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  


  1. This is perfect. Everyone should strive to be as organized as you. Good Job!!

  2. It has been a joy to watch Lindsay and Abby progress during Mike Adam's Handling 2 Class (I believe for the second time). Lindsay put so much time getting Abby's attention and getting Abby to honoring her handling. We (her Handling 2 classmates) were thrilled to see Abby at the May trial. If I had known when I started training my partner, Parker, for agility how important flatwork would be I know I would have put as much emphasis on how to get to, around, out of, and off jumps and obstacles as I did getting over and through them. I will use Lindsay's list to help us get over the "zoomies". Until Parker starts honoring me on the flat all the work on jumps and obstacles will be a mute point. Thank you Lindsay and Abby for being an inspiration. You let us know it can be done and it can be fun!