You have an active dog that needs some way to use up that excess energy in a constructive way, you have a rescue dog and you want to build a bond with that dog, you saw a local event and thought it would be a lot of fun to play with your dog that way. There are as many reasons to start dog agility as there are dog owners and every single one is the best reason.
Whatever the reason, you get bit by the dog agility bug and you either locate a local group or start surfing the internet for videos on how to train your dog. You are excited and know it will be such fun for you and your dog and those videos and trainers make it look so terribly easy. But, they forgot to tell you that it takes two to make a partnership and your partner isn’t sharing your joy, what do you do.
You watch as other teams take off and their bond is amazing and they start competing and win while you are still struggling with your dog’s fear of the teeter. You feel left behind, like there is something wrong with you and/or your dog. You may even get frustrated and disappointed as you watch others glide through with seemingly little trouble. You even entertain the idea of quitting.
Stop right there. Go back to why you started dog agility. It was about you and your dog, not competing against other teams’ accomplishments. You don’t know their story, their obstacles they have or will have to overcome. The only story you are the author of is your own story and comparing your backstage real with their highlight real is unfair to you and your dog.
So reset your focus back onto your dog, your partnership, your team. Seek out help if you need it, become more creative in your training, break down lessons, spend less time on a lesson, spend more time, try different motivational techniques, test and try new things until something clicks for you and your dog. A reader shared with us that she had a Husky that was afraid of the teeter. She found out the breed has fear of breaking ice and that type of movement. Her dog’s fear was a breed issue. She was then able to change her training to accommodate that fear and help her dog gain trust on the teeter. And most of all remember to have fun and be patient. It takes as long as it takes for your team to advance and some issues may never be “fixed” nor do all of them need to be in order for you and your dog to go enjoy your time together on the agility field.