What Is An Agility Problematic Behaviour Specialist?

Katrina Bayliss


You may be wondering what the difference is between a standard agility trainer and what I do as an agility problem behaviour specialist. I have explained what I do below.

I am really passionate about building a fantastic relationship between the handler and the dog. I help owners to understand each piece of their dogs behaviour to enable them to build a trusting partnership where success is just the byproduct of the fun you are having together.

Dogs have been bred for many generations to please us and work with us in many roles. Agility should be enjoyed by both the dog and the handler, but in reality, sometimes the dog isn’t able to enjoy it as much as we intend them to. In some cases they enjoy the game too much, meaning they are not always able to follow instructions clearly. When either of those scenarios happen problematic behaviour occurs.

When we do not understand why our dog is behaving in a certain way it can lead to frustration and we put pressure on our dogs, this in turn harms the relationship and the trust, which are such important elements to agility as a sport.

Dogs don’t do things without a reason!

I want happy dogs in the agility ring, not ones who are clearly not enjoying it, too highly aroused to concentrate or ones being shouted or called names by their handlers – this makes me really sad when I see it as there is just no need!!!

My role as a problem behaviour specialist is to prevent problems before they arise and help to solve any problems that have developed. I do this by delving into your dogs behaviour and the reasons they are acting the way they are acting. Once handlers understand that their dog is struggling and why this is happening, we work on a plan to help them progress.

Most agility trainers just train skills. This is all well and good if you have a happy content dog who can focus, work around and disengage from distractions, think when in high excitement etc. The truth is many dogs really struggle in an agility environment and my role is to help these dogs by guiding their handlers with advice on how to work with their dog successfully.

If your dog is struggling emotionally or is too excited then there is little point just training agility skills. You need to look at the dogs emotional needs and look after these first before anything else! By repetitively training skills with a dog who is in the wrong mindset, your dog will grow a greater association of linking that mindset with the game of agility. If you don’t look after the emotional needs of your dog then the agility skills will fall down sooner or later.

Agility is about all the little pieces, glued together with the relationship you have with your dog. This is what will give you any success you desire!

I work with handlers who want to understand their dogs behaviour and who are open to training all the little pieces that are involved in the bigger picture of agility.

I do obviously train agility skills using the equipment, but this is done at a pace that is suitable for your dog, I will not compromise any dogs emotional needs for the sake of just putting them over kit!

If you would like any help with understanding your agility dog with the goal of eradicating any problematic behaviour, or if you would like to understand your dog to prevent any problems from ever occurring, hit the contact me button below and lets chat.


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