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10 Top Training Tips

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10 top training tips that could change your agility life. We asked ten of the best known trainers in the UK to share their secrets. Next time you go to training or into the ring, just try one of these suggestions. It could make all the difference.

The Contributors

Lu Candy Steve Croxford Leah Gardner Lee Gibson Mary Ann Nester David Munnings Lesley Olden Bob Sharpe Kathrin Tasker Dawn Weaver
Never blame your dog. If it goes it wrong, it is either the fault of your handling or a fault in your training of the dog. They only want to get it right. If the information we have trained into them or imparted to them on the day is wrong, it is our fault NOT theirs. Lu Candy
More: www.scramblesdts.com
Always have a plan before you start any training session. Have a clear idea about what you want to do and what you want to achieve. Never blame the dog for your inconsistency or poor results. What you see in the competition ring is normally the direct result of your training approach and methods. Steve Croxford
More: www.PACE-Agility.com
Invest time into play. It can be play with a toy or just with you. It's a great bond enforcer as well as a brilliant form of praise. And remember to drop your shoulders and look disappointed can be as bad as screaming at your dog so finish every round with a smile. Leah Gardner
: www.anjuagility.co.uk
One golden rule I use in my training is that no matter where you are in the course, your body language should be reinforcing what you are saying/instructing the dog to do. If it is not, you cannot blame the dog for perhaps choosing the wrong obstacle or making an error.

I always teach my dogs to read from verbal commands, and body language acts as reinforcement, not guidance. I know my dogs are far quicker than I am, and I want them to be 100% confident that they have my trust and belief when they are working the course, and making vital decisions based on my instructions. If they have that confidence, I know they will attack every element of that course without any doubt. Lee Gibson
: www.leegibsontraining.co.uk

Make it fun and never blame the dog for your handling and training mistakes. David Munnings
More: www.freewebs.com/davemunnings
If you are sick of finding biscuit crumbs and lumps of frankfurter in the lining of your pockets, buy a treat bag and fix it to your belt or waist band. Keeps your clothes clean and stops you smelling like the dog's dinner! Mary Ann Nester
More: www.aslanagility.com
Be Fair - before criticising your dog remember who taught it! Lesley Olden
More: LESLEYOLDEN@aol.com
The next time you get annoyed that your dog has not followed your instruction and you are ready to accuse it of being naughty, remember who trained it ? The fault almost certainly lies with you. Bob Sharpe
: www.fieldofdreamsdogtraining.co.uk
Train hard, train every day, learn all possible agility positions and movements, then train some more! Sort out all your arms and legs, get them doing the right signal at the right time in the right place, do this again and again... on your own with an imaginary dog. Then ask your dog if you are good enough to join him and have fun together! Kathrin Tasker
More: www.madkathagility.com
Learn from your dog in training. When he goes in the 'wrong' direction, realize that you have cued him incorrectly. You should not withhold from rewarding the dog when it is the handlers error. How many times does a sequence go wrong and you go back, change your handling and try again without rewarding your dog? Dawn Weaver
More: www.dawnweaveragility.com

More tips...

Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail.
Blair Cochrane

Dogs will only do what is rewarding to them so always make sure that whatever you are training is worth their while. Remember to the dogs work should equal reward. Therefore work will become rewarding to them. Don't be stingy!  This way you will ensure a good working relationship between the two of you. Lauren Langman
More: www.devondogs.co.uk

Failure is the key to success. If I try something one thousand times and fail, but on the one thousandth and one time I find a method that works, have I really failed?
Kenny Spottiswoode
: www.agilityzone.co.uk

Consistency, consistency consistency. Ensure to the best of your ability you are consistent in any environment which will promote your dogs confidence in you, creating accurate and motivated results. Natasha Wise