Is your dog too focused on you? Or, does your dog ignore your handling as they race to the next obstacle they see? Developing a balance between handler focus and obstacle focus is an important skill for every agility dog.
Regardless of your handling system, the goal of most handlers is to get the two types of focus as close to 50-50 as possible. Actually achieving this is rare, but thinking about focus in the context of “keeping the balance” will improve your training.
Mobility-challenged handlers are the biggest exception to the 50-50 goal. They typically need a greater percentage of obstacle focus to keep the dog aiming for obstacles despite their distance from the dog’s path. The trade-off is that these dogs are more likely to take off-course obstacles.
Certain breeds or types of dogs veer one way or the other. In my experience, herding dogs tend to be more handler focused, whereas hounds and terriers tend to be more obstacle focused.
Which Do You Have?
Your dog is more obstacle focused if he…