Which Comes First in Dog Agility Speed or Drive

sheltie jumpingWe talk about dog agility and what it does for us as dog and handler teams.  All walks of life get involved in dog agility for a huge variety of reasons and may get involved in a training group that has fair to good training techniques.  For most that is enough.  A way to build a better bond with their dog, grow confidence in them and their dog, get some exercise and enjoy the company of other dog owners.  But for others it is like a first kiss.  You have to have more…more training, more speed, more dogs, more agility!

You start watching every video you can and start having dreams of competing at the world and national levels.  You notice that in order to get that far you need Speed but, you also need accuracy and a dog with Drive.  Then you start to wonder what is more important Speed, Drive or Accuracy.  And this is where ships part.  Some will tell you that speed is the most important as it is hard to build speed back into your dog once you teach them to “take it slow” in order to learn obstacles.  Others will tell you that the dog needs to start slow to learn then build speed into it.

There is one thing they agree on and that is Drive.  Drive is the desire to complete a task and you need to learn how to harness your dog’s drive without losing focus.  This doesn’t answer the question of which comes first, Speed or Drive or does it?  In order to gain speed on your dog’s run whether you opt to teach speed first then obstacles or teach obstacles then add speed, you have to have something that gets your dog aroused without losing control.  It could be food, a special toy or play such as tug that will build Drive, the desire to complete a task.  Once you have built value into one of these as well as yourself, it will allow you to create that Drive which you can then use to build speed.

So do you get Speed without Drive?  I am going to say, No.  Just like humans, dogs tend to be lazy by nature and if there is no Drive there is no need for speed.  Can you have Drive without speed?  I am going to say, Yes.  Not all Drive creates speed as can be seen in obedience, therapy and even search and rescue dogs.  That Drive leads to focus and precision.  Which comes first, Speed or Drive?  I am going with Drive.  Just like a car, you have to put your dog in Drive in order to get Speed.  What do you think?  Scroll down and leave your comments below if you are so Driven.