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Clever sayings...

For those who are not familiar with French, the saying Bon Mots can be translated as 'clever sayings' or witty remarks. In our case, it would be things to think about to improve your training and ultimate performance. We've asked some of our best known instructors for their suggestions for helping you to agility success.

100% of the time!

When training or competing in agility make sure you are giving everything 100% all of the time. Dogs will gain confidence, speed and concentration if you give them it back. When turning up to an agility class, whether it be a competition or training no matter how hard or how easy the course is, give your dog everything they deserve.

Martin Reid - Start 2 Finish Agility

Go Clear in Your Mind

Competing successfully in Dog Agility is much more than the physical training of you and your dog. If, as you train/work your dog, your mind is focused on what might go wrong, then all too often it will! If, in your mind, you can only see, hear, feel, failure that is what you get!

Being the BEST you can be means you need to

  • Believe that success is possible

  • Expect to achieve much more

  • See yourself succeeding

  • Think & Tell yourself you can succeed 

This way you can enter the ring with a CLEAR Mind!

Coaching is available that will teach you the techniques and strategies to achieve that clear mind and clear round!

Anne Copley @

The Secret of Success is Consistency

As trainers, we all know that maintaining start lines, contacts and consistent handling cues is essential for the long term performance of our dogs. Each time we allow criteria to slip or are slightly out of position on a handling manoeuvre, we add a weakness and a question mark to our dog's understanding of what we want from him or her. If this becomes a regular occurrence, the cue will become poisoned, the understanding will be watered down and the deterioration in our once-great performance becomes ever more apparent.

Mathew Rouse Ultimate Agility

Train to Maintain

To be an Ultimate Handler, you need to to maintain your your start on the line and contacts, too. Consistent handling is essential for long term performance. Each time we allow criteria to slip or are slightly out of position on a handling manoeuvre, we add a weakness/question mark to our dog's understanding. If this becomes a regular occurrence, the cue will become poisoned, the understanding will be watered down and deterioration in our once-great performance becomes apparent.

Laura Derrett Ultimate Agility

Train like you compete. Compete like you train.

There should be no dividing line. This 'Oh my dog does it in training' should simply not exist. Competition runs shouldn't always be 'flat out' but, at the same time, training should not be half-hearted. It's better to do 10 minutes of hype than an hour of 'treadmill.'

Nigel Staines

If you do not sow in the spring,
you will not reap in the autumn.

If you have issues with certain pieces of equipment, courses or handling, don't forget about them in your off-season. Work on them. Train on them. Attack them. Your off-season is the time when you need to sow the seeds of success - success being your ability to do something tomorrow that you find difficult today. You will not improve unless you learn and adapt. Courses are not going to get easier. Contacts will not suddenly become perfect. They need time and focus.

Dairin Keating SWAT

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Watch and Learn

What does it mean? It is to your advantage to wait around at the start of a class to see the first few competitors go round in order gauge whether the course is 'easy' or not and whether there are any 'traps'. You can learn a great deal from watching others especially if many of them are making the same mistake. Be careful to watch dogs of the same speed and temperament as your dog. If you have a steady, careful dog you will handle him differently from handlers with faster dogs who may be inconsistent and even uncontrollable... the dogs that is!

Ian Smith BarkAway Agility

Don't Rush to Compete

What does it mean? Agility is all about fun. Let your dog learn to love working with you before you insist on accuracy. They have years to discover new and exciting things. It's not about the the first 18 months; it's all about the rest of your dog's life with you. Agility is fabulous. Give your dog time to discover just how much fun it can be.

Jo Fraser, sponsored by Green Dog Deli, suppliers of responsibly sourced, natural raw food for dogs

Assess, Review, Study, Entertain

What does it mean? Agility is about motion and movement. Metaphorically speaking if you are standing still you are going backwards. What worked for you in the 80s, 90s,  the noughties or even the present will not work in five years time. Look for constant improvement.

 Assess your training/handling

Review constantly what is working

Study top dogs/handlers

Entertain you and your dog

Assess, Review, Study, Entertain - and you won't make an acronym of yourself.

Lee Windeatt

The loftier the building,
the deeper must the foundation be laid.

What does it mean? I believe that success in our sport of dog agility is based on foundation training. It is one of those things where self-motivation can be so hard.  To help me, I always think of the following quotes:-

Greg Derrett

Dare to dream...

What does it mean? If you keep telling yourself you are a bad handler you will be. If you keep walking a course and  visualising  'failure' at a tricky point that is what you will do when it comes to running it. Better that you keep on replaying images of how you are going to do it right - and then run like you mean it ! It's amazing what you can do if you  really believe. This thought certainly helped in realising my dreams of getting to Olympia , the World Champs and Crufts.

Ronnie McAleese

Run with intent...

What does it mean? This statement was said to get people to show full commitment into their run, to give meaning to the hours of training and the miles spent travelling up and down the motorways. It is entering into the spirit of the game and not just hoping for the best, and above all for 40 seconds it is a testimonial to the unsurpassable bond between human and the dog. Run like the wind, stay focused, run with intent.

Dave Blackshaw


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