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Random Things I Have Learned About Agility

Training is not something you 'do' to the dog

Heather Christenson encourages anyone and everyone who has a dog, no matter what breed, size or age, to get into agility.  It's been a real learning experience for her. She thinks there is nothing like communicating with your dog on an agility course!  What a rush! She's never felt so challenged.  Here are some things, in no particular order, she's learned since she took those first steps into agility.



  • Agility is a game (really!)
  • Agility is a wonderful way to communicate and deepen the relationship with your dog while having tons of fun in the process
  • Agility should not be a way to boost your ego by exploiting your dog.
  • You don't need a border collie to have fun and succeed in agility
  • Which brings us to: You don't have to win a single ribbon to have fun in agility
  • There really is no right way to train anything Use whatever hand signal/body movement/obstacle name that makes you happy
  • Barking is okay!
  • Just keep going, better a missed obstacle than a dog who feels she's done something wrong.
  • Agility is a team sport, which means 50/50, not 95/5.
  • If your dog isn't having fun, for god's sake, just stop! Tomorrow is another day.
  • Agility trials are for people, not dogs The dog should always have a choice as to whether she wants to play .
  • All the titles in the world won't make up for a damaged relationship.
  • Never force your dog over an obstacle -never.
  • Contacts should be fun.
  • Contrary to popular belief, it's not the dog's fault - it's yours for not training her properly.
  • Don't ever think of 'consequences', only think of rewards.
  • If your dog does not succeed, STOP, and go back to something easier And please, don't compete when your dog isn't ready!
  • Competing before the dog is ready makes for one very stressed, unhappy pooch.

From http://www.BrisbeeThe White.com

Heather and BrisbeeAbout the author...
Heather Christenson and her three mixed breed dogs live in Forest Grove, Oregon (USA) and enjoy agility, flyball and hiking as well as keeping the yard free of suspicious cats and squirrels at home.

She has worked previously as an adoption coordinator at the humane society and as a veterinary assistant.