What’s your dog’s best time?
I love the fact that getting legs (i.e. qualifying) in agility is not all about having the fastest run. Especially in the early stages of my career when my dog was performing obstacles accurately, but seemed to lack the drive. Because she was accurate I was able to qualify against those dogs who were speedy bullets, but sloppily knocking bars and running by obstacles (refusals).
But as I progressed in competing I discovered that speed was becoming increasingly more important. I was competing against other dogs who were also accurate, and now I needed that edge. We’ve blogged in the past about motivation techniques, and we’ll do more of that. Right now I just want to encourage you to start measuring the things you try. There is a quote I like that says,
“If you can measure it, you can own it. If you can own it, you can improve upon it”.
There is a place for winging it, and there is a place for planning. If you really want to succeed, consider recording your dog’s time going through the weaves, running through sequences, or running a course. Then try some new tricks to see if it doesn’t save you a few seconds. You’ll never know if your ideas work unless you start measuring them!
A helpful tool at this point is a stop watch. I suggest a stopwatch that also has a chronometer as well. Affordable Agility now offers an inexpensive stop watch that keeps time to 1/100 sec and also features a clock with time functions. So you can keep track of your dogs’ run speed, and know when you should head home from the park with him, too!