Why did they do that?! Training dog agility requires one to wear many hats. Between our handling mechanics, obstacle training and arousal management, it can be difficult to step back and assess what happens when errors occur, much less how to fix it! In this webinar, a flowchart is presented to help handlers diagnose issues when unexpected errors come up during your agility practice. We will discuss why common errors happen, lay out troubleshooting protocols, and apply them to several case studies.
The proposed troubleshooting template can lessen frustration in both the human and dog by encouraging handlers to reframe their perspective of “mistakes.” It will also limit the number of repetitions necessary to accomplish your goals by building on success, not repeated failure.
While there are several factors one must consider before applying any problem-solving protocol, however, this template will provide handlers a process to self-assess and move through their training struggles in a positive way. Common handling errors that this process is best suited for are mistakes that happen spur of the moment during agility training like:
- Wrong Courses
- Wide turns
- Dogs turning the wrong way
The process will always provide valuable feedback to the handler about why their dog is doing what they’re doing and help prevent the same mistakes from happening in the future.
Rather than attempting the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome, students should strive to pause, take a moment to assess the situation, and learn from the mistake. The process will teach you to evaluate three key areas of your training:
- How your reinforcement is impacting the dog’s behavior
- How your handling/cues are impacting the dog’s behaviors
- Which basic skills need to be on a more frequent maintenance schedule
And, we’ll cover when it’s a good idea to use props in our training and how to get back to the original agenda of the training session!