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Glue Skills for Performance Dogs

February 13

2:00 pm PT

This talk is eligible for CEUs from: IAABC, KPA


When dog trainers discuss training foundation skills for their particular dog sport, it usually involves developing flatwork or basic movement skills specifically for that sport. In addition, it involves introducing the dog to behaviors, equipment, obstacles, or experiences associated with that sport. While these things are critical for the preparation of any dog to compete in a dog sport, are there other skills that we can introduce to enhance communication, clarity and simplify future training?
Each sport has a framework of foundation skills that build reliable performance for the specific dog sport. But what about the glue that holds that sport-specific framework in place?
This presentation lays out the glue skills that your dog needs to build a better framework for teaching the skills needed for any dog sport. The good news is that glue skills can benefit all dog training, whether specific to training for performance or basic life skills.
Performance trainers dramatically overlook these skills because the specific sports training feels like it’s more fun for the dog. But is it? Or is this more how the trainer feels about these skills? However, these feelings go away during the glue skills training as the trainers witness how much the dogs love them.
Glue skills provide performance dogs with abilities that provide productive learning opportunities in classes, seminars and ultimately allow them to function at an optimal arousal level at the trials. Additionally, the glue will give your future performance star the resources and strengths to help create the necessary focus in the unique environment surrounding most dog sports. Without glue skills, dogs can develop unwanted habits which interfere with their learning. Furthermore, once habits are established, they can be more challenging to change.
The other benefit of glue skills is they will create more straightforward and defined training sessions. And, ultimately the training and the handling of performance skills go much faster when you have glue skills in place. Once you have had a chance to train glue skills, you will never return to performance training without them in your future dogs!

Presented By:

Nancy Gagliardi Little

Nancy (she/her) has been training dogs for dog sports since the early 1980’s when she started training her Novice A obedience dog, a Labrador Retriever. He went on to become Nancy’s first AKC Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH). He ranked in the top ten of all AKC breeds in the country, placed in national tournaments, and was inducted into the Flyball Hall of Fame. Nancy put four OTCH’s on her dogs following him (all Border Collies), and many of them qualified and placed in National Obedience competitions during their time. Nancy was licensed to judge all AKC obedience classes, and she judged three National Obedience tournaments during her judging career. She retired from judging in 2008 to spend more time training and competing with her dogs.

Nancy also trains her Border Collies for herding competitions. In the past, she put AKC Herding Championships on three of her dogs, accumulating points from both the A and B courses on sheep and ducks. In the past, she had sheep and gave herding lessons.

In addition, she has put multiple agility championships on her dogs in AKC and USDAA. Nancy has had four different dogs qualify and compete in eight AKC or USDAA Nationals. She made the AKC NAC Finals in 2017 in the most competitive jump height – the 20″ division.

Currently, she’s running three dogs in AKC and UKI agility – two Border Collies and a Chihuahua x Poodle mix she rescued in March 2020. She’s still competing in herding and obedience, but she spends most of her competition weekends at agility trials.

While Nancy loves competing in dog sports, she loves training her dogs more than anything else. Besides training her dogs, she also loves coaching her online and local dog sports students for agility and obedience competitions.

Nancy draws from her experience training and competing in multiple sports. That experience has given her the ability to find create creative solutions for training and handling dogs. She feels that many trainers lose sight of little details that are the foundation of communication and harmony with their dogs. Nancy loves working with different types of dogs and different training plans. She loves nothing more than obsessing about what’s needed for progress in training and handling—and then helping the student build that behavior.

Years ago, Nancy gradually transitioned from a traditional obedience training background into reward-based/positive methods for her and her students’ dogs. She teaches her students to train and handle with clear communication and a systematic approach based on the dog and the student’s needs.