It’s a sparkling fall day, you’ve gotten up at 4AM, packed up your car and your dog, and driven a couple of hours to a beautiful park for an agility trial. When you pull in, you see the equipment gleaming in the sunlight and it gives you a little thrill. You set up with your friends, and then go walk the course. Looking good! You’ve got all your handling moves planned out and memorized, and you can’t wait. You’re envisioning that perfect run with your best friend. You’re really excited because you’ve been working hard and you think this course is very do-able for you and your dog. You approach the start line with excited anticipation – this is everything you’ve worked for, this is going to be FUN! You take off the leash and…your dog puts his nose down, starts sniffing, and then runs away to visit the ring crew. Welcome to the Pigs Fly world of agility trials.
Click on the link below to see a video that should give you some hope:
What I want to tell you is, don’t get discouraged if your dog runs away from you in the ring. It’s part of running a Pigs Fly dog, and something that you will have to spend time training through. Other handlers may be working on the minutia of how to best cue a turn to shave 1/10 of a second off of their time, and you’re going to be teaching your dog to stay in the ring and run with you. That’s just the way it is, and there’s no reason to feel bad about it.
You love your dog, and you love running with him, and you’re willing the put the extra work in so that he can do agility. I applaud and understand that. I can tell you for sure that if you lay the proper foundation of attention before you go to the trial, your dog eventually will learn to stay in the ring and run with you. You can learn more about laying the proper foundation for attention in the “Attention as a Behavior” section of my book, “When Pigs Fly: Training Success With Impossible Dogs”
Stay calm and stick with it – you WILL succeed – When Pigs Fly!