What a great contest we had last month! Thank you all for participating!
This month you can win a set of 101 Things to Do with Contacts cards! Awesome!!
Just share the best thing you’ve learned in Agility, whether it was in classes, from reading, or just working out back with your own obstacles! Was it handling? About yourself? Your dog? How was your learning curve? Tell us in the comments!
The winner will be chosen via random number generator on or around August 1st, and announced/emailed on or around the same.
How to enter this contest:
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Scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your comment/answer. Or, if there is no box, click on the “comments” in the upper right corner.
The most important thing I have learned this year from agility training with my dog, Festus, I actually learned from my dog! He gets SO EXCITED (he is a Wheatie but none the less) when we get close the the training field and his excitement only builds as we get out of the car and get to the field! By the time we get there, his excitmement has me ALL SMILES and ready to play too…no matter how hard a day I have had, it all disappears when we get to the field!! My best lessons are learned from my dog! 🙂 Thanks, Festus…you’re the bestest!
Agility has taught me that this sport is not all about winning ribbons and tallying Q’s. My girl had a major emotional setback and I thought I would have to quit doing this because she became so fearful at trials. After months of patience and positive support, she turned the corner and her first complete run with a smile on her face made me feel like we’d just won her championship, even though she didn’t even Q on the run. She gives me life lessons everyday and I’m so glad I have her.
The greatest thing I have learned in agility is that my dog and I are a team. I know my trainers have said that all along, but it wasn’t until the time I felt we went though the course like a knife through butter did I really understand. One of my friends told me it is a joy to see when my dog and I are working as a team. It isn’t always easy for me to “see” when that happens, but there is no frustration in the run when we are working together. I love my dog!
The most important thing that I have learned in agility would be that it’s almost always my fault and that blaming everything on the dog will just result in more NQ’s and more mistakes.
THe best thing I have learned from agility is how much I love my dogs, they will do what I ask of them for priase, treat and mostly because they love and trust me. Also it has taken me tothe world of judging and so I have met not anly amazing people here at home but all across the country and Canada.
I have learned that if I want Muffin to work, I have to make it exciting for her. When I have fun, she has fun and does a great job. When I am dragging, so is she. It is also very important that she doesn’t feel that I am disappointed with her–she will shut down immediately. There isn’t anything that we are doing that is worth hurting her feeings over.
I remember early on in our agility career, I needed one more Q to move up to a higher level. Well, we didnt get get it and as I walked out of the ring with my dog, I felt disappointed with my dog. I felt so ashamed of my self after that, that I vowed if I ever took it that seriously again, that was the time to quit. I now appreciate every run my little guy gives me and we are having fun!!
I’ve learned that with a clingy dog in the beginning you must keep moving like on the teeter or in tunnel or see will you turn or jump off . keep moving even if only tiny steps.
Practice makes permanent. If you don’t take the time to plan your training sessions or accept a sloppy or half-hearted performance from your dog while playing around in the yard, how can you expect to perform your best at shows?
This has been an extremely tough lesson for me because while I love to show and I love to practice what we’re already good at, I hate to practice what we really need to improve!
And of course, enjoy every moment with your dog, whether you’re doing agility or just hanging out together on the sofa. 🙂
The most valuable thing I have learned is to enjoy the journey. I had to retire my “first” agility partner this year and it just seem to have gone way too fast.
My second boy is 6 and in his prime but I savor every moment we can play together.He may need surgery for a luxtating patella..
Tricks of the trade…such as putting vanilla under my Cocker’s nose (so she keeps her nose of the floor); giving her a variety of treats (keeps her motivated) to name a few.
As others have mentioned, the most amazing thing I have learned from agility is how sensitive my dog is to everything I do. I know that if my dog takes a wrong course it’s usually because my feet or hand is pointing in the wrong direction, even though I think I’m indicating the right direction. They pick up on the smallest of clues.
Life is too serious and if the “big man” is keeping you down you need to break away from the mold and do what makes you happy. Even if that means the “big man” is your handler and you are the dog who just wants to take the damn tunnel 5xs in a row or you’d rather just run around in circles. Conformity if over-rated.
I have learned that agility is addicting. I (we) love the competition (we just qualified for the first time to run in next years AKC Nationals), we love going to classes, training in our backyard, and just the time we spend together doing this. I have also learned that my early agility instructors were right, there apparantly will always be things that you need to revisit/ re-train. That just adds to the challenge and the fun.
I learned from my sweet sister that after watching the video of Lucas and myself running the agility course, she thinks Lucas could run the course faster if his handler could run faster!
What I’ve learned is where has agility been all my life.I only discovered this about 2 years ago. I love everything about it,the wonderful people ,dogs, food venders, treats!!!! I love learning how very smart my sheltie is.I can’t wait to start my other dog at the trials.I thought I was confused now!!!!!!
My trainers have taught me many wonderful things about agility. Patience, perseverence, and above all kindness to my BC’s. They love the sport of agility more than life itself and it doesn’t matter to them whether they Q or not, they are always having fun because they are with me.
I have a rescue BC cross that is shy & sensitive. We have learned that trust & perseverence is the key. When we work together in training or at a trial she will try anything for me as long as I trust that she will do it. We have become best friends & we both love having FUN together at the agility ring. This started out as a confidence builder & just for fun a year and a half ago & has turned into consistantly good runs with several Qs along the way. I have to thank all my great agility friends that I have met on our journey that encouraged us to keep going & congratulated us on our progress no matter how small it was; for without their support I believe that I would not have tried competing. How wonderful to find such a FUN sport with so many Great people in it.
I’ve learned that I’m super competetive…to a fault! Errors take me to a new emotional level, and my dog totally picks up on that and then we end with a string of issues. Whether we Q or not, we’ve tried and usually learned something about working together (well, I learn about what I did wrong usually). I’ve learned that if I don’t KEEP it fun…….my dog won’t HAVE fun.
I have a velcro dog (or perhaps I am just a velcro handler), who is master-level agility. We had problems with rear crosses (takeoff side) resulting in a refusal until I was able to put a word to it — switch. When my dog hears the word “switch” she knows to go ahead without hesitation, like the GO command, and that she will end up on the other side of me moving in that direction. Of course dogs often run the course fine without verbal commands, or even without hand signals or verbal commands. However, this one verbal command has been great for our agility team. I understand that target training can also help with this goal.
My 4 year old Miniature Poodle used to have a problem with peeing on/in tunnels in the ring. Every single trial, he would be. It got to the point where I dreaded agility trials but went anyway because I was addicted to them haha. But at the startline I would always have a vision of my dog peeing or running to greet some people or just shutting down. I realized that I was the main problem, remaining positive and calm at the startline is the best way to go. We had a trial this weekend and we did fabulous. No Q but thats okay, I wasn’t running for a Q, I was running for a happy dog, who kept his leg down.
I have a rescued Newfoundland that was found 25 pounds underweight and chained to a trailer with two other Newfoundlands. She was afraid of everything (people, dogs, noises, you name it) and had severe separation anxiety. A friend recommended agility to me. It has been the best thing for her and has improved her confidence, stamina, trust in others, and love of life. I don’t think she’d be as far along in all those areas without the agility training. We do water work, draft work, rally, and obedience, as well, but there is nothing quite like seeing her joy when we get out of the car for training!
What have I learned from agility: Patience, perserverance, commitment and fun. We have learned that you get out of it what you put into it. Spending time together working on agility is quality time that is shared by the whole family – human and dog. At the end of the day it is all about having fun with your dog.
I agree with everyone who said that they are amazed at just how sensitive dogs are to everything we are feeling. My sheltie is very nervous and a huge perfectionist so any anxiety I show really affects him. Unfortunately, I am much like him so I really have to be careful to make him think I am calm and upbeat…I have people coaching me to keep my voice from getting tight and to cheerlead when necessary but run quietly the rest of the time. I also find it interesting to see how different people and dogs approach each course. There is almost always more than one way to handle things and we have to know our dogs. I also agree that most agility people are generous…they don’t tend to want to make you feel terrible when you make a mistake.
As a trainer I have again learned to be humble. I started learning agility after training for over 15 years and am now almost 60 years old. How fun to learn with your clients a new sport that we all can cheer each other on and laugh at our mistakes! It has created wonderful comradary! Some of my mistakes have been doozies!
What I have learned from my dog, (who was also middleaged) a Rottweiler who is very fast…is that I need to read a course totally different than most people because she is fast but also a heavy dog and I cannot always get out of her way. It has made me very aware of the importance of walking and planning a course and that has helped me be a better teacher for my students and also my 4H kids.
I learned to trust my dog and listen to what she tells me, both on and off the course. Most of the time, she’s right and I’m wrong!
Even though I know dogs are intune with their owners, I didn’t realize how much until I started running agility. Dogs are so senitive to the slightess change in our emotions and are greatly effected by them.
I also learned that agility dog people are the best. They are willing to help each other and most of all they cheer for the victories and awwwwwhhhhh when a run goes wrong. I love the camaraderie with great people that have the same interests.
I agree that patience is key! I think I need to keep patience in mind when training my dog, and my dog needs to keep patience in mind when working with me. Since we are both pretty new to agility we still have much to learn.
Since my dogs did not get any lessons on English or schooling on obedience, agility, or any other human game from their mothers, I consider everything they makes mistakes on or are confused by my fault. Dogs have taught me (above all) patience and step by step instruction is the key to success. How good of a teacher you are is how good your dog will turn out.
I learned that it is important for a novice handler to try and run an experienced dog once in a while to build the confidence of the handler. I wasn’t getting very far with my novice dog because I was a novice handler. A friend let me run her CATCH dog in a trial for a few runs and immediately I felt more confident in the ring. My novice dog benefited greatly from my new confidence and went on to Q in the following runs. (I also learned that my lack of confidence was holding my pup back.)
Becasue of agility, I’ve now read a lot of literature about dog, dog/human interaction and have quite a library. In spite of all my reading and studying, the dog can read me better than I can read the dog. Does this mean that the dog is smarter than I am? Probably.
The first time I competed in agility, I learned that I CAN remember a course when we’re out there running. I’ve more recently learned that I can also forget a course, but I’m proud of my dog when she does what I tell her, even if I am wrong about it.
It’s all about the FUN! My dogs can’t contain their enthusiasm when I pick up the “jump, jump” bag. I didn’t discover agility until about 3 years ago. A gentleman I know still competes at 79. I want that to be me in 25 years. I’ve learned that agility helps keep you young at heart.
My dogs “know me” so well. They sense my stress, frustration , excitement and joy even before I’m aware of it at times. There’s no fooling them! Upbet is the real key–we just enjoy running the course; regardless of whether is is the defined course or one of their choosing! If the tail isn’t wagging and eyes aren’t snapping, it’s time to stop. Even on our worst days of practice, we all enjoy the workout and they seem to sense just how much I need to get up and move!
I learned that I needed to be very consistent with a terrier that learns very quickly! Otherwise he would be training me!
What I have learned from my dog, trainers, and agility buddies is that agility is FUN. It is not about winnning or having the perfect run, but about bonding with your dog, learning each other’s ways, and having a great time. Speed and clean runs will come.
My dog has taught me to “just have fun”. Whether she runs the course correctly or not, she just has a great time and I have learned to do so as well.
I learned that click n treats work for training people as well as training dogs.
I know that’s true, Janet! I’m operantly conditioned to want a cookie when I hear a click.
The most important aspect I have learned in agility it that my dog is sensitive to my emotions so I need to be very up beat when I train and compete. It has really helped me become more in tune with my feelings.
Love the pic. It inspires me to go out and start Frisbee training.