Tag Archives: stay

3 Ways to Ruin Your Agility Dog’s Start Line Stay

Border Terrier Start Line Stay
(Photo Credit: cswtwo, Flickr)

As a handler, there are few things more frustrating in agility than an unreliable start line stay.

As a dog agility instructor, there are few things more frustrating¬†to me than a handler blaming their dog for a broken start line. Remember that your dog’s behavior is a reflection of your ability to teach¬†and maintain criteria.

Here are three common ways handlers deteriorate¬†their dog’s start line stay behavior. By learning to avoid these mistakes, you’ll keep your dog’s start line strong.

Release With a Flourish

In this scenario, the handler moves her hand (usually) or head at the same time she gives her dog’s release cue.

This deteriorates your dog’s start line because all dogs pay more attention to our body language than our verbal cues, unless they have been explicitly trained to ignore our bodies and only listen. (This is why it’s so difficult to train reliable verbal cues in agility that override our physical cues.)

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Don’t Ignore Your Dog! 5 Ways to Receive Instruction Without Losing Your Dog’s Focus

Does your dog get distracted when you stop to listen to your agility instructor? This is a bad habit that can quickly become a part of your dog’s agility performance. Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent this from becoming a big problem. Here are five ways to prevent your distracted dog from rehearsing unwanted behaviors like wandering off, sniffing, or leaving you to play with other dogs.

#1: Pack a Snack

With a little bit of pre-planning, this is an easy way to keep your distracted dog from taking off. Prepare a Kong, or pack a bully stick, pig ear, rawhide, or other high-value snack for your dog to enjoy while you receive instruction or walk the course.

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