Posted Date: March 17, 2016
Get some ideas for training from some St. Patrick's Day themed courses.
Because it's St. Patrick's Day AND Training Thursday, we reached into our vault and brought back some fun training courses created by Deborah Davidson Harpur from an article published back in 2013.
Says Deborah, "Since St. Patrick's Day is the big holiday in March, I designed these drills for my students. Both can be done in reverse so you get a total of four drills of the four leaf clover and the course can be renumbered as you please."
For the first course below, she writes that, "My goal with this four-leaf clover-inspired course was for my students to reach outside their usual comfort zone and handle the course in multiple ways with the same dog. We used it on two different class nights. On week one, we used the course above and we broke it down and did #1-#7 first. The challenge was to find as many ways to handle the course successfully as you could. Even if things got a little scary doing it, the students had a fun time expanding their minds to think up options the others hadn't thought of."
She continues, "Handlers ran through the course the first time however they wanted. Then they were asked to find at least two different ways to handle the same sequence. The most common option for #1-#7 was changing from the lead-out that all of them had used to a running start. Another common option was to change the way the dog turned off #5 going to #6. We ended up doing four rounds of this (so they had to find two more different options) and then moved on to #7-#16. The most common option change in the second sequence was which side the dog turned after #8 and which side the handler ran on #11-#13. We also did the entire course and then broke it down do to the sections in reverse."
For the second St. Patrick's Day course she created, Deborah wrote that, "...I renumbered the course as shown above and before I even said what we were doing, my students were coming up with lots of options for #1-#10, #10-#18, the whole thing, and then the sections and course in reverse. I also gave them a "loaner dog" and had them see which options worked best with a dog of a size they were not used to running with."
She advises instructors that, "If this were a larger class [more than 3-4 students], you could break this down into more class sessions or send it as homework and have them bring back the different options they found. In my classes, the dogs were fast and happy on these drills."
We hope you enjoy these St. Patrick's Day inspired courses. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have course ideas based on other themes and holidays!
Thanks to Deborah Davidson Harpur for the information in this article. Deborah has been competing in agility since 1999 and is known as a handler of a wide variety of breeds of all shapes and sizes. She offers agility training classes in the Port of Los Angeles area for both recreational and competitive agility students.
Image courtesy of moomsabuy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net