Dog agility is a sport where not only must you KNOW a sequence of obstacles by in order. You must direct your dog along said series of obstacles, and run alongside them – AT SPEED!!!!! While being able to make decisions and corrections on the fly is a great skill to have, and can definitely come in handy for those moments on course when your dog surprises you by going the wrong way or for when things don’t go according to plan, it is no secret that having a clear image of the course and knowing exactly where you want to go and how you want to cue your dog AHEAD of time, is a huge benefit and advantage.
Through the 20 years I have been competing in this sport, I have witnessed many handlers lose control of a run simply because they didn’t know where they were going next, or didn’t have a clear idea of how to cue their dogs, and used their bodies incorrectly, or were in the wrong location. It happens to every one of us, but the goal should always be to improve.
I often hear from students and fellow competitors that they don’t know how to use their course maps, or how to “READ” a course, so I have set out to provide a guideline of how to do this, and perhaps help you gain some insight into how to VISUALIZE a course you want to run!
With this in mind, I have made some videos explaining how to analyze a course map, on an actual competition course designed and judged by myself and will provide a few other examples for you to work out on your own once you have read through the information. I will also be available to answer any questions you might have with the exercises.
SUGGESTED SUPPLIES – (optional)
- Clip Board or Binder Clip – to keep your courses safe and in easy to find. Judges make enough copies for the whole class of competitors, and yet somehow, maps often run out. I believe this happens because many people take extras, and others take copies of maps to “train on” or for all levels. Be polite and try to save your maps, so others can get theirs.
- Pencil with Eraser – I usually like to make my first pass at a map with pencil, and often erase and fix things as I go
- Pens (colored?) – I absolutely love school supplies so tend to go full geek on my courses if I can. I tend to use different colors for dog path, handler path, side changes and handling choice (don’t worry, we will go over all these terms next!)
Stage 1: Course Map Analysis
Stage 2: Course Walking Application
Let us know if you are interested in the form below or at email@example.com
Access to Online Course Analysis Class
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