January 10, 2024

January 10th, 2024 Wednesday Wrap Up (Facebook Scams, Verbal Cues, Perry DeWitt)

Happy New Year!
While filling out some forms at a doctor’s appointment this week, I promptly wrote “2023” for the year. That’s going to happen a few more times before my brain makes the proper adjustment. In the meantime, Jennifer, Sarah, and I shared our personal dog agility goals for the upcoming year in the first podcast of 2024.

Here’s a quote from the podcast:
“They look back on 2023 and they think, ‘What did I get done?’ If they didn’t win all the things and get all the titles, and qualify for all the events, then that year wasn’t very good.”

It’s crucial to remember that your self-worth isn’t measured by the ribbons or titles you collect. Tying your self-esteem solely to performance outcomes puts a lot of pressure on you and your dogs and overshadows the joy and bonding that the sport offers.


Facebook Scams Target Dog Agility Community
Last week, Sarah hosted a MUST WATCH free webinar on Facebook safety, addressing the surge in fake pages, profiles, groups, and scams that often target her Facebook friends. These fraudulent accounts become particularly active during major events like the UKI US Open and AKC National Agility Championship. In her webinar, Sarah demonstrated how to spot scams by comparing several fake profiles, pages, and groups with the legitimate AKC NAC page. Following the session, our inbox was flooded with messages from people who had encountered the very scams discussed and, thanks to Sarah’s insights, avoided being duped. If you missed the live webinar, you can still catch up by CLICKING HERE FOR THE WEBINAR REPLAY.

Share this webinar with your students, friends, and practice buddies to help keep our agility community safe and informed!

Verbal Cues in 2024
Over the years, the use of verbal cues in dog agility has evolved significantly, adapting to the complexities of modern course designs. Handlers in different regions, like Europe and the U.S., have developed distinct systems of verbal cueing to meet the challenges that judges are presenting in the ring. More specifically, distance skills that were reserved mostly for gamblers’ challenges are now critical for success at all levels of the sport. With precision distance work, verbal cues become very important while positional and motion cues can become less important. Make sure you listen to our podcast where we explore this topic in depth, offering insights and our own personal takes on verbal cues. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

Perry DeWitt, Agility Superstar
Right before Christmas, we had the pleasure of interviewing the incredible Perry DeWitt on the podcast. Perry had a remarkable fall season in 2023 with two different dogs and dominated the major events here in the United States. On the podcast, Perry discussed the ups and downs of training with and competing against her spouse, Jessica Ajoux (also a top competitor). She also shared her experience in securing spots for both of her dogs, Wit and Genny, on the American teams for the World Agility Open (WAO) and FCI European Open. Additionally, she discussed how she deals with switching heights across organizations and offered invaluable advice for both beginners and seasoned competitors. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

Reader Mailbag
A reader emailed me the following question:
“I’m wondering how many people only trial their dogs, maybe a fun run or practice every few months but literally not taking any classes or seminars. I’m doing this with both my old and young dog, and am still seeing success in the ring so it continues to reinforce my more hands off approach. Wondering if I’m alone in this or not!”

I’ve had several dogs reach a level of proficiency where I felt that practices were no longer necessary, and indeed, might even take away from their physical and mental recovery between trials, especially during very heavy periods of showing, say a month-long stretch of three day trials. Age and injury history are big factors to consider in deciding to trial without training, but I think it’s a reasonable direction to take for many teams. You may find that your dog performs just as well without their weekly class, and some dogs will actually perform even better.

I’d love to get a sense of how many of you are trialing but not training. Email me at team@baddogagility.com and let me know why it does (or doesn’t) work for you.

Happy Training,

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