Has your dog ever had an on-course accident? Quick has. He fell off the top of the dogwalk when he was first starting, and landed pretty hard. He was a scared puppy!!! Recovering from accidents and trip ups and slip ups is a vital part of agility training, and life learning!
Get back on the horse. This phrase is pretty old, but very true. While I could not ask Quick to simply retake the obstacle (he was still very new to the whole thing) I could reset the obstacle to a level he could complete. After a few repetitions of that, his confidence came back and he was ready to try the whole thing again! (I know I am blessed to have a very confident dog – those of you whose partners have confidence issues might have needed to go back to the most basic level – but it’s worth it!)
If there’s an injury, take care of it. That seems so simple, right? If Quick had been injured, I would have taken him to the vet, the chiro, or the dog massage therapist to fix it. His health is very important to me, and I was positive he hadn’t been hurt when he fell. However, some dogs aren’t so lucky! Good care can make a big difference on the bouncing back.
Learn! I was too far to the side of the dogwalk, and Quick was following me with his nose instead of looking at the board. I learned from that mistake (which my trainer caught – that’s why we need agility buddies!) and worked with him on footwork, send-aheads, and doing things without me directly next to him.
A mistake in training and practice isn’t the end of it – it can be the beginning of a whole new training experience, which you and your dog will come back from even stronger!