Agility is a sport in which a dog negotiates an obstacle course following signals from the handler about which obstacle to take next. It is truly a team sport. Spectators watching agility think the dogs are doing all the work, but in reality the handler is working just as hard to "move" the dog smoothly around the course. The game of agility requires speed and self-control from the dog, and clarity and focus from the handler. Working together to develop those skills creates an extraordinary bond between dog and handler.
What sets Abbie apart as an agility instructor is that she truly enjoys working with all dogs and with students of all commitment levels. Although she herself is an agility competition addict of the highest magnitude, she is equally inspiring to just-for-fun agility students who have no intention of competing. For her, the joy of agility lies in the relationship of the dog/handler team. Her beginning agility classes teach the kinds of foundation skills that dogs need to progress happily in the sport. As teams progress, the emphasis on building confidence and having fun remains paramount. Even at the highest levels, where Abbie conveys to the experienced agility competitor a deeper understanding of the sport, success is always defined by the spirit of fun and the quality of partnership between canine and human.
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Competition addicts will find in Abbie a very experienced competitor who can analyze courses, footwork, body position, training gaps, obstacle weaknesses, and any other impediment to agility success. She insists that the canine member of the team be happy, confident, and motivated, and provides an environment where the human member of the team feels equally rewarded, confident, and motivated. Because she has been involved in agility since 1993, she has seen many agility fads come and go, and believes that there is no one "right" system for every team. Her experience has taught her the opposite: that there are many methods and tools that will work effectively. She encourages her students to have as many of those tools as possible at their disposal.