7 Tips For Saving Time on Your Next Dog Agility Run
There is nothing as depressing as missing a Q by a few measly seconds, but sometimes that is how close a run is timed. Not all of us are “blessed” with fast, correct dogs that always come in well under standard time and not all of our dogs are “blessed” with handlers that can get them around the course in those times. But not to worry, we have seven tips to help you shave off those pesky seconds so you can be well on your way to your next qualifying time.
1. This may seem silly, but you need to remember to run with your dog! This is paramount when running, for whatever reason, unmotivated dogs. Make it a game of chase using your happy voice.
2. Not all dogs do well with a Start Line Stay and lead out. They need you to help build their motivation / confidence from the very first jump. Try getting your dog geared up at the start line and run with them.
3. Try saying dog’s name while they are in the tunnel before they exit so they know where you are before they come out. It is possible to shave off more than a full second by doing this. Just be careful with the chute that you don’t cause them to try and turn while in the fabric causing them to get tangled.
4. While planning your run strategy, use the table to your benefit by being aware of where your next obstacle is located. When your dog mounts the table be sure to sit/down them facing the next obstacle.
5. When running a big dog, it can sometimes be faster to sit them on the table before asking for the down. Make sure they sit in position that gives them room to take the down.
6. Know your team’s weakness and strengths on the agility course. Know what obstacles your dog needs more time on and plan how to make up that time between the slower obstacles with better lines that allow good ground speed or tighter turns.
7. Know the fine line between building speed and rushing your dog. Pushing your dog is one way to see what they have to offer, but avoid rushing them and causing dropped bars or missed contacts.
Keep these tips in mind as you study, walk and plan your courses. Not all teams, but for the majority, every second counts. You normally don’t miss or make a qualifying run by a tenth of a second and even if you do, these tips could put you under time with time to spare.