Why online agility training is the best for my hunting breed

reetta
July 23, 2020

Everyone, meet Meiko! She’s a 3-year-old Kishu Inu, and my first dog. 

Ever since I was a child, I dreamt of getting my own dog. I had years to fantasize about my perfect companion, who I’d do all sorts of dog sports and hobbies with. And oh, how she has delivered – we’ve done search & rescue practice, nosework, scent recognition, and of course, agility. 

For people who don’t know Kishu Inus, they’re a calm, quiet and they know their own worth, to say the least… They were originally used for big game hunting in the rural, mountainous part of Japan, so as you’d expect, they are resilient and very athletic. Kishu’s make great sport dogs, as long as you keep things interesting for them — and that’s where our agility journey had it’s first roadblock.

Anyway, let’s go back a bit. Agility was the very first thing we started doing. It fascinated me a lot before even getting Meiko to live in (and destroy) my home. 

You see, she’s a very lively dog who needed an outlet for all that energy she had. Agility felt, and it is, the perfect solution: it’s a combination of mental and physical work for both the dog and the human. 

However, 6 months ago, we stopped going to agility classes. 

Why? Well, we just weren’t progressing anywhere, and I couldn’t put my finger on the reason why. 

Then we started doing OneMind Dogs Agility Foundations, and honestly, it’s all clear now. I’ll tell you why I feel that online agility training was the best for us. 

We don’t want to compete, but just do fun stuff together…

I knew all along that I don’t have what it takes to do agility in a serious, competitive manner. Many people attending classes want to compete, and I love rooting for them! But weekly talks about upcoming competitions were a bit too much for me. 

OneMind Dogs Agility Foundations offers me the chance to practice with just the two of us. This means we can just concentrate on what we know best – having fun together! 

… though we’d still love to see some progress

I’m not saying that I don’t like to see results. It’s nice to notice every week that our technique and collaboration is deepening. After a year of classes, however, our progress stopped. Meiko wasn’t gaining any speed, my handling was still very unsure, and — to be frank — all over the place. 

Now I realize I was just doing it wrong. My body positioning was all off, and I was relying a lot on oral cues. In physical classes, I was trying to copy other students but failed miserably. With online agility classes, I can stop and rewatch the techniques over and over again, until I nail it.

And what really counts is that the OneMind Dogs method makes so much sense. Meiko reads me and where I want her to go so much better now. Earlier I felt that she just runs off to whatever obstacle she likes – now I realize that I wasn’t telling her where to go, so she decided on her own! What a clever girl. 

Most importantly: we can do stuff at our own pace. 

It was always a bit problematic for us in physical classes because we repeated a single technique several times during the class. 

Meiko picks up new techniques quickly but also gets very bored very easily. I mean, VERY BORED. She does everything 100% once, maybe twice, and then loses interest if the same continues. 

So there I was, waving dog sausages like a madwoman to make my dog spark an interest to do one more repetition when it was our turn. No success. 

Now, I choose when we practice, how many times and where. Not being bound to a physical location, time, and a set number of repetitions make all the difference. 

Meiko does just a few repetitions a day, stays at the peak of her motivation, and I get to see us progress as a team again.

The OneMind Dogs method is based on us humans repeating the handling without the dog. Once we know what we are doing, we take the dog and do just a couple of repetitions. It’s perfect for Meiko and me!

I can’t wait for the summer holidays and having time to do agility daily — just a few minutes a day, with a couple of repetitions, without any pressure. Just enjoying each other’s company.

Want to try Agility Foundations for yourself? Learn more about the best online agility training for beginners right here.

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