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Training & Behaviour

What Happens at a Dog Agility Camp?

Camp photoJo has just finished her first Clear Q agility camp in the sunshine in Cheltenham and what a great four days! Here she tells us how it went, and what typically happens at a dog agility camp...

Who came up with the idea of Clear Q agility training camp?

Greg Derrett, Ant Clarke, Shaun Hunt and I are all agility seminar presenters and we hatched the idea over a year ago. The goal was to give agility handlers a camp that gave those who attended no conflicting methods or advice, helping them to take away a clear training strategy. We felt it was important that our camp had four trainers currently competing at the top of our sport, all teaching the same methods, with a camp structured in a way that allowed a clear progression of understanding and training over the four days.

Training picture

We spent time discussing our grouping and felt splitting by handler experience of the way we teach rather than size or grade helped to make the groups a comfortable yet challenging level for all.

How many people attended the agility camp?

We had forty handlers total on camp ten per group but also had some spectators. We ran over 4 days.

The excitement started to build as soon as I emailed out the group allocations a week before and built up to everyone’s arrival on the Sunday night.  When we went around the site visiting all the campers and caravans and delivering the camp clothing and welcome packs everyone was buzzing for the welcome brief at 8am the next morning.

Tell us about the camp schedule

The camp schedule was split in to two sections. Day one and two saw each of the four groups working with each trainer who was focusing on a specific handling manoeuvre. Day three and four took the knowledge learnt in the first part of the camp and then tested it by combining the handling skills, teaching decision making with the handling options and also going back to foundation skills to address any of the training issues we had uncovered.  Whilst lots of work was done, handlers remained in their groups the entire week and it was nice to hear the cheering when achievements were made around the camp at different times.

Reinforcement lectureDid everybody get on well?

A real camaraderie had developed between not just existing friends but those who had arrived on their own not knowing anyone or from abroad! The learning continued in the early evening with lectures on ‘Establishing Reinforcement’, ‘Preparing the dog and handler for events’ and ‘Understanding Games. ’ The days always ended for those that still had energy left with a nice cold drink at the bar as we had also been blessed with lovely warm weather!

Will you be running more agility training camps?

The four days flew past and in our final question and answer sessions on the last day of camp the first question thrown at us was ‘please can you do this again?’! So it seems we will! We already have one planned August (which is already full!) but we are planning to hold some next year too. Exact dates will be released soon but there will definitely be more Clear Q Camps in the future, keep your eyes peeled on Facebook and other agility press for news.

Lastly I must thank our sponsors who were great and so generous – Doggy Jumps by Poly Jumps, Muddy Paws online Shop, Burns Pet Nutrition, Clean Run, PetRehab, and Tace Allen-Hunt.

Accessories: Have a look at the Muddy Paws range of agility training equipment.

Jo Tristram

Jo Tristram is a dog trainer, seminar presenter, international agility handler and fully qualified ICAT Canine remedial massage therapist. She's been competing in agility for nearly nine years and owns three dogs. Jo travels to shows around Britain and has also travelled abroad to compete on several occasions. Find out more on Jo's website.

Jo Tristram

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