As dog trainers, we can think about agility in terms of three broad categories: drive and motivation, individual obstacle performance, and handling. Note that each aspect can influence the other two. In general, you need to be solid in all three areas to get the best possible runs on course. Many of the problems you will encounter in training can be traced back to a weakness in one of these three areas. To learn more, we highly recommend listening to our special four-part podcast series:
- Three Aspects of Agility Training
- Drive for Agility (Three Aspects of Agility Training Part 2)
- Individual Obstacle Performance (Three Aspects of Agility Training Part 3)
- Handling (Three Aspects of Agility Training Part 4)
We have also taken the most common problems that people have in dog agility and categorized them below. For each category, there is a guide to our FREE content that will help you get started on fixing your problem.
Drive, Motivation, Focus
Problems: runs slower at trials, sniffs the ground, wanders off, shuts down, over aroused, distracted, uncontrolled.
Problems: breaks at trials but not at home, scoots forward, stays but looks around, sniffs the ground, slow to sit, slow to release, won’t sit at trials.
Problems: misses entries, weaves slowly, pops out early.
Problems: wide turns, refusals, off courses, dropped bars, backsides, threadles, front crosses, blind crosses, serpentines.
Problems with the a-frame, dogwalk, teeter, and table: creeps down slowly, flies off, won’t stop in trials, stops before tipping point of teeter.
Problems: lack of enthusiasm, weak grip, doesn’t let go, won’t bring the toy back, bites hands, won’t tug at trials.
Problems: information overwhelm, course memorization, handler anxiety, poor performance, lack of confidence.
Problems: not sure what to teach, socialization, recalls, tugging, tricks, body awareness.