What are your trial routines like? OneMind Dogs Coach Megan Foster interviewed a group of OneMind Dogs Coaches, Assistant Coaches, and Instructors on the topic.
Routines are important to dogs. It gives them a way to predict what is going to happen! Using the same routines in training that you plan to use in competition helps your dog feel comfortable, even if the environment is different, and perhaps your own nerves are different!
An example of a routine could be:
- Warm Up! Once you have your dog out of the crate, you give a good amount of time to just walk around, do some light jogging, and maybe some stretching! Warm muscles are good for your dog and yourself before running an agility course!
- Let your dog check out the competition or training area and observe their body language/responses to things in the environment. How is their state of mind? Can they take food/play with their toy?
- Does your dog need jazzing up or calming down before training/competing? When waiting your turn, how you pass the time has an effect on your dog.
- After your training or competition run, a party of cookies or toy play and a cool down walk
This routine is easy to replicate no matter the situation - training or trialing, and your dog can rely on agility happening when you start the routine the same every time! Each team can choose their own routine, as long as it is consistent!
Coaches / Instructors that contributed to Megan’s post:
Karen Holik, Laura Bussing, Stephen McKay, Anna Eifert, Jen Pinder, Ivette White