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Tips for improving your memory
Julia Lane, author, trainer and agilitator, found that her students were getting very
frustrated trying to remember a course, she turned to the
AgileTeach group for advice. The responses came
rolling in. She compiled a list of top tips which she discussed with her class. You could see
the light bulbs go on over their heads. All of her students greatly benefited from the advice.
They demonstrated improved memory skills which lead to increased confidence. She has kindly
agreed to share her list with us.
Walk the course from the
perspective of the dog. Crouch down at the end of the tunnel. Walk through the last weave
pole. Look for possible traps that your dog might see.
Walk the course from the
perspective of the handler. For tips, beg, buy or borrow the DVD Walking the Course by
Kathy Keats, available from
Identify patterns and shapes. Look
for loops, circles, straight lines, etc.
Backchain (start at the end). One
of the top agility competitors in the world, Ann Braue of Eau Claire, WI, always starts
from the end of the course to help her remember. She said it also helps her avoid the crowd
of people who all start at the beginning!
Try shadow handling. Outside of the
ring, close your eyes and imagine running the course. Say your cues aloud. Move your arms,
shoulders and feet as if you were actually running the course. You are mentally rehearsing
Watch the other teams. Note which
handling moves work and which ones don't. Always keep in mind your own team's strengths and
weaknesses and plan accordingly.
Be positive about your ability to
remember the course. If you tell yourself or your instructor before you've even started
that you'll never remember it or that you'll screw up, guess what? You will fulfill that
Take a deep breath at the start
line. Connect with your dog. Smile.
If you have any other comments ir
suggestions to pass on, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Julia Kamysz Lane was born and raised in the Midwest, but fell in love with New Orleans and
its sub-tropical climate while attending Tulane University. She and her husband lived there
for eight years during which time she honed her skills as a writer and editor at Gambit
Weekly, New Orleans’ alternative newsweekly and as a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly
and The Times-Picayune. She is the author of New Orleans for Dummies, 3rd &
4th ed. (Frommer’s/Wiley Publishing).
She has always enjoyed obedience
classes with her dogs. In 2003,she decided to try agility with Darby, her Dalmatian who had
energy to burn. They had a blast! They couldn’t learn fast enough. She started assisting her
instructor with classes and joined the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. A life-long animal
lover, she also volunteered at the LA/SPCA and two dog rescues. This inevitably lead to her own
mini zoo of four dogs and two cats and fostering many more.
On 29 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina
struck and the Army Corps of Engineers' faulty levees collapsed. Her home flooded and they lost
just about everything they owned, including their car, clothes, furniture and treasured photo
albums. They have since started over in the Chicago area near family. Currently, Julia is a
freelance writer and author, dog trainer and full-fledged agility addict.
You can read more about Julia and her
dogs on her website
First published January 2008