How to Win Your Agility Competitions!
Fresh from Crufts, Lauren and Blink from Devon Dogs had their best year at the competition, walking away with the coveted Crufts Singles Agility Title and the Crufts Championship Agility Title. Lauren would agree that aside from training, there’s a lot that goes in to prepping for competition on the competition day. Here at Devon Dogs we would like to share some of our top tips for achieving success at an Agility Show.
Warm up and cool down properly
Warming you and your dog up properly before you run is essential. Without an adequate warm up you run the risk of injury. Plan your warm up and take note so that you don’t miss anything out. Don’t forget that for your dog you need to warm them up physically and mentally. Once you have completed your run now is the time to cool you and your dog down. We just love loose lead walking for this (as it cools us and the dog down at the same time) and some stretching. At Devon Dogs we can show you some great tips! Book onto one of our workshops, or some 121 training for advice and guidance!
Help on the rings
If you are new to competition, one way to learn the ins and outs of an agility show is to help in a ring. Everyone who helps to run a show are volunteers. To make the day run smoothly, offer your help, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
Think about your A-B from vehicle to start-line
>When you reach the start line are you and your dog connected, are they with you? Your warm routine is all part and parcel in getting your dog physically and mentally prepared but you also need to consider the bit in between walking to the ring, queuing and then reaching the start line. We play lots of games with our dogs to keep them connected and motivated.
If your dog isn’t comfortable queuing get someone to queue for you
Agility is a highly exciting environment and some dogs don’t cope all that well being too close to the stimulus. Some dogs also find it difficult to be in close proximity to other dogs. If you have a dog that really doesn’t like being stuck in a queue, ask someone else to queue for you. If you have gone to a show alone, you can politely ask the people in the queue to save you a space – all you need to do is ask the person in front and the person behind to save your space.
Video your runs
One of the best forms of feedback is watching yourself back on video. Did something not quite go according to plan during your run? If you video yourself it will mean you can see what went well and what needs improving. Take the time to watch your videos back and take note of what you have observed. Take your videos to your trainer for their feedback so that you can come up with a training plan and new goals to reach. Here at Devon Dogs we love to help you to make improvements!
Practice makes Progress
Does the show have a practice ring as part of your experience? Training and practicing in a show environment is really beneficial for you and of course your dog.
Smile, it is just agility!
OK, so your run didn’t go so well and it seems that things aren’t going according to plan. Everyone has off days so just put it all down to experience. At the end of the day agility should be fun so don’t get down in the mouth if you didn’t come home with a ribbon or two. The main thing is that you and your dog had an awesome day out together and you had fun!