Welcome to Agility Addicts, home of the AGILITY FORUM

Agility Addicts is one of the top dog agility clubs in the West Midlands. Check our Training page for class times and available spaces.

Both for you, and for your dog

Dedication's what you need!

Agility is like everything else in life (but more fun!) - you get out of it what you put in. Dedication's what you need!

Dedication to put in the time to train until you have dealt with those weaknesses in your handling etc, rather than use them as excuses.

Dedication, after a long day at work, to head out to training with a smile on your face and a bounce in your step.

Dedication to spend those 3 minutes of the commercial break doing some clicker work rather than putting the kettle on.

Dedication to ensure that both you and your dog are in good enough shape to cope with the physical demands of agility.

Dedication to get up 10 minutes earlier and put your dog through the channel weaves before you head off to work.

Dedication to walk that competition course a few more times and reconsider handling options, rather than have a chat with friends.

And most importantly ... dedication to your dog, without whom this whole agility lark just wouldn't be possible!

Goalsetting - What Motivates You?

What drives you? What do you want so badly that you would sell you soul (not your dog of course!) to get it?

Handler rewards can be very subtle - a 'well done' from your trainer, a round of applause, a bright-eyed grin from your dog. Often these are the rewards that mean the most to us.

Or they can be more obvious - a new piece of training kit, a rosette that celebrates a success or milestone achieved.

Don't be afraid to give yourself a big pat on the back, and a reward, when you and your dog have succeeded. Share it with the world! Relax with a bottle of your favourite plonk!

And what are your goals? What are the things you want to achieve in this agility game for you and your dog?

Maybe you want to improve your bond with your dog, and inject some fun into the relationship with your pet.

Maybe you see yourself going all the way to the top - fame and glory await as you head off to Olympia. But as you set your goals, remember to consider what your dog's are!

What Gets Your Dog Going?

Dogs are like humans, they all find different things rewarding. But there are some things they all have in common.

There are fundamental drives beneath the most pampered of pooches. Survival and procreation. Food, shelter, safety, sex. The right to mate, the ability to hunt successfully.

Of these, food and the prey drive are the easiest to harness for training purposes. Your dog isn't chasing a ball, he's running down a rabbit. That tuggie game is serious business, getting your share of a kill. Did she pounce on a toy or a mouse?

Dogs are wired for survival. They'll scavenge on horse droppings at the equestrian centre, raid the bin, and mug the 'soft touches' in the park who carry bags of liver cake.

They'll play games as youngsters, and into adulthood if encouraged by us, honing the skills they need to survive.

As your dog's teacher, it's up to you to make the best use you can of all this. Find what your dog really goes wild for. It'll vary from dog to dog, they'll all individuals just like us.

Make the interaction with you and toys fun for your dog! Or don't be surprised if s/he finds someone else to play with. Be prepared to get down on your knees in a play bow.

Or if your dog's really into food, don't use bits of kibble or plain biscuit as training treats. What would you rather work for, a piece of bread or cake? Get out the sausage or cheese. Cut up into lots of small pieces and keep it coming!

Working Together as a Team

So you're pretty sure about what you find motivating and rewarding. And you're also confident you have identified the motivators and rewards that work best with your dog.

But is your dog on the same wavelength? Is s/he willing to go along with your agility or other weird training plans?

Success in agility, as any discipline, involves teamwork. You and your dog shouldn't just be thinking of your individual rewards, you should also delight in working together.

What is your dog's reaction when you pick up a toy? Or a tasty tidbit? Hopefully excitement and pleasure. Work on getting that same reaction when you invite your dog to join in any training game with you. Yes, a game - not an ordeal!

Get a strong working bond going, and lots of reward for the dog when interacting with you. Then s/he'll be jumping at the chance to learn another trick, rather than running for cover.

If your dog is already smiling, bright-eyed and enthusiastic whenever there's the prospect of working (or playing) with you, that's brilliant. But if that's not the case yet, you can get there with patience, kindness and lots of reward.

Remember that using rewards is not a sign of weakness (would you go to work without a salary?), it is a sign that you understand motivation and can use it to your advantage.

Once you and your dog are working as a team, the sky's the limit. Have fun - you both have great things ahead!

Know your training goals at each stage - and also know the rewards that will keep you and your dog feeling happy and motivated despite any setbacks along the way.

The copyright of all photographs, images, video clips and text on this website resides with the original photographer/designer/author.
No unauthorised reproduction. If you are interested in using any items on this website, please contact Agility Addicts first!
Over 805,000 visitors in 2008, and visitors (not hits) to Agility Addicts since 1/1/2009.