The Obedience & Agility Article Archive

I'm finally getting around to posting reprints of dog training columns that I have written for the English Setter Association of America newsletter. For anyone who doesn't know me, I am neither an animal behaviorist nor dog trainer by profession (actually, I'm a chemist). I, however, have trained and shown dogs in a variety of venues for more than 20 years. It's been my privilege to train under several excellent, highly successful mentors and much of what I write comes from the training foundation they provided. I have earned AKC, UKC, and CKC Utility Dog titles and have earned agility titles in five different agility organizations. I have worked with a number of breeds, but have the most experience with English Setters, Golden Retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs. I currently teach competition obedience and agility at Best Friends Obedience and Agility School and am a United Kennel Club obedience judge.

There are almost as many ways to train a dog as there are people to do the training. The columns reproduced here represent my opinions on how to train for obedience and agility. The methods that I describe have worked for me and my students. In my columns, I attempt to break each exercise into small elements which can be trained and then combined. In writing these columns, I provide a detailed description of how each of the elements might be approached and the sequence in which I would train them. Please realize that I have to do this without actually observing the behavior of your dog so my advice is somewhat generic. Not all dogs need to do every step along the way, and some may need the exercises broken into even smaller units. It is the challenge of each trainer to discover how his or her dog learns best and to make individual modifications. My ultimate goal is to get you to think about what you will do in training before you put a leash on your dog. As I get time, I will add links to these pages that probably were not part of the original publications. Hopefully, you can find something that will be of use to you in this archive.

Index of Articles

Direct suggestions, comments, and questions about this page to Arlene Courtney,
Last Modified December 24, 1998