E219: Loretta Mohler - "You're LATE — Again!" Timing on the Agility Course

If you're getting tired of hearing from your agility coach that your cues were late AGAIN, Loretta and I talk about why we end up late and what we can do about it in this week's cast.


Melissa Breau: This is Melissa Breau and you're listening to the Fenzi Dog Sports Podcast brought to you by the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, an online school dedicated to providing high-quality instruction for competitive dog sports using only the most current and progressive training methods.

Today I have Loretta Mohler here with me to chat about agility training — specifically, drills for better timing.

Hi Loretta, welcome back to the podcast!

Loretta Mohler: Hi Melissa. It's so awesome to be back again.

Melissa Breau: To start us out, do you want to remind listeners a little about you, a little about your dogs, and share a little about your background?

Loretta Mohler: Absolutely. I've been involved in dog agility for over sixteen years; that's just crazy to even think about. I've competed at the top levels of USDAA and have put multiple championships on five dogs. My students have put many championships on their dogs.

I currently have five Border Collies ranging in age from almost 16 down to 7, and I'm starting to think it might be time for a puppy at some point. I'm just not sure about what kind of dog I'm going to get for the next one, so we'll have to see.

Melissa Breau: That's exciting.

Loretta Mohler: Yeah, it is exciting. I'm doing research now, so we'll see what ends up happening. I might go completely off the other end and try something different. But who knows. We'll see. It will be a mystery.

I'm also a five-time World Team Coach for IFCS, which is USDAA World Team, and WAL, which is the UKI World Team. I think that's helped me become an even better instructor and dog trainer.

In addition to agility, I also compete with my dogs in the USBCHA Herding Trials, which is Border Collie trials for sheep herding, competitive obedience, rally obedience, service dog training, and therapy work.

I own Full Tilt Agility Training in Minnesota, where I teach lessons and classes and I travel all over giving seminars. And I also of course obviously teach online classes for FDSA and provide individual online coaching for people as well. So I'm pretty busy, but I really, really enjoy my job.

Melissa Breau: Awesome. I mentioned in the intro we want to talk today about timing, in anticipation of your upcoming FDSA class, which starts on June 1. To start us out, when we say somebody has good timing on the agility course, what does that mean? What does that look like?

Loretta Mohler: Good timing, to me, looks smooth. It's as if the dog and handler are sharing the same brain, basically. The dog never has to ask "what" or "how," because the information is presented to them right when it's needed.

So the timing is perfect, the dog never turns to look at the handler and wonder what they should be doing. Turns are cued early enough so the dog can respond as the course changes. It's predictable, it's relaxing to watch, fluid, a thing of beauty.

For some of my students I even say, especially those with dogs that are very powerful and things can get out of control very quickly, it almost looks boring. So for some of my students I say, "A boring run is a smooth, well-timed run." For some people that may sound bad, but if you run a dog that things can become very bad very quickly, boring probably sounds wonderful.

So basically it looks like the dog has been reading the map with you, the dog did the walkthrough with you, and the dog knows the location of every obstacle. That's the goal

Melissa Breau: If that's the goal, what factors influence that? How do we get there?

Loretta Mohler: There are many. You could probably go on for an hour just about the factors. But always remember, in my opinion, they all center around the dog. Timing is related to the dog, not to when you get to your spot on course.

That's something that people have a tendency to not give as much thought about. They're like, "When I get to the landing site of three, I'm going to do this." The problem with that is what if the dog gets to that spot before you do, or what if they don't get there and all of a sudden you're standing there with no ability to make yourself move or have motion or give cues. So it's really important to understand it really is all about the dog's location on course and when they need the information.

The things that can affect that are your dog's speed, obviously. Surfaces, for example, if the ground is slick that they're running on, you have to adjust your timing. Obviously we don't want to run them on slick surfaces, but sometimes it happens — wet grass early in the morning, things like that. Your dog's stride length and how powerful they are. The bigger your dog is, the more powerful they are, the more they need to get those cues out earlier. Your dog's commitment skills, can you cue early enough to get the info out without the dog coming off the obstacle. That's a big one that we run into. The obstacles that are happening before the area of concern. For example, if there's a stray tunnel, a.k.a. puppy cannon. That's going to be a lot earlier to cue things if you need to turn than if the dog is coming off a table, because that speed approach will change your timing a little bit.

All of those factors come into play. There's a lot more of them, but in general you're thinking about the dog and where they're at on the course. And so you're thinking about all those things when you're thinking about good timing. Even if you do not get there, again remember, the dog still needs the information. So it's always based on the dog and where they are on the course and when they need that information. If you can give it to them right as they need it, that's where you're looking at having that perfect timing.

Melissa Breau: If we were to flip it on the side, good timing, what about bad timing, being late, to put it more nicely. What is it that we see when we're late as a handler? What symptoms is the handler going to see on course or in their dog, other than maybe their coach going, "You're late, you're late, you're late"?

Loretta Mohler: If you go to the page for this class, you'll see my sample lecture where I talk about how I was always told by my agility teachers, "You're late, you're late, you're late" and for me, that wasn't enough. That's why I have all these diagrams, if you go look at the lecture, because there's a lot of ways you can be late, and I needed to know exactly what those pieces were. But if you're looking at just what the fallout is, I guess is a good way to put it, of you being late, there are a lot of them.

Dogs that disconnect and go sniffing, a.k.a., they give their handler a timeout. You cue something late, you cue a turn late, they don't like how it feels, they just say, "You know what, I'm going to go think about this for a moment, and then I'll come back to you." Hopefully they come back. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes an error can be enough for them to completely disconnect.

Dog zoomies, same thing. Not getting enough info, they worry about where they're going to go next, and that can be manifested with anxiety as "Where do I go? I don't know what to do. I'm going to go run around and get rid of some of that excess frustration."

Obviously knocked bars, off courses, and refusals, those are very distinct things for the human. If we don't cue, or we have a fault on course, we're very obvious about "I did something or the dog did something." That's definitely a big thing.

Dogs that dislike turning because they haven't been given the cues early enough on time, so they land and slam their bodies. You can actually teach a dog not to like turns, because they just land on their front end, they haven't prepared their bodies, they slam, it doesn't feel good, they slip, they fall, you'll see dogs do face-plants, and that can condition them not to like turns.

Some people say, "All bulldogs don't like agility because of turning." I have seen plenty of bulldogs that can turn beautifully. If given the tools, and given the commitment, and given the information early enough, they do not mind turning at all.

Kind of connected to that also, injuries. If dogs are landing hard, slamming their front end, landing on their necks, or having to adjust the line for you at the last possible second, that can create some injury stuff. I found that as I've gotten to be a better handler and as my timing has improved, I have gotten way less injuries. In fact, injuries are very, very uncommon at this point.

Decrease in confidence. The dog doesn't want to go on. They decrease in commitment: "Is this what you want? Are you sure? Are you positive?" People say, "I'll give them a bad cue, but they'll figure it out." If they have to figure it out, what's happening is you're teaching the dog that you're a little shady with your commands, and maybe they should watch you just a little bit more to make sure. That decreases your commitment every time.

Barking or being demotivated while dealing with errors or waiting on commands. Again, frustration. Some dogs will do great, and then something will happen and they'll get demotivated, or they'll lose it, start barking and spinning. Those things happen.

Stress from being unsure. Always remember confusion is aversive. If they don't know where they're going and they get confused about it, they can feel like that's corrective. Not saying you mean it, but that's how it can be perceived. Again, along the same lines of barking and spinning, going over threshold: "Where do you want me to go?" I always think of that movie The Notebook, where he's screaming at her, "What do you want?" You see that a lot, where the dogs are just like, "Tell me what you want." That's the same thing.

Missed weave pole entries. I see that a lot. That's a big one in performance because they get a late command.

Overall, just imagine if the GPS app you were using was late with directions, and not consistently late. Not like it's going to be a quarter-mile late with the directions, but randomly late, and it was like, "You should have turned left about half a mile ago," and the next thing it screams at you, "Turn right! Turn right! Turn right!"

Think about how you as a person would deal with that. What would your response be? Me, personally, I would probably throw that app out the window, or my phone, or whatever. I would probably be saying some words that are not appropriate for a podcast. And your dogs might be very similar. Some other people might feel like, "I'm going to go get a map, do the old-fashioned method, and just try to get myself through this." We would all respond a little differently, but I'm pretty darn certain that it would not be in a positive manner overall. So every time your timing is a little off and your dog has to do that job for you, or save you, you're creating a not-so-positive situation, and so it's important to get that timing down.

Melissa Breau: You mentioned something in there, and I know it's not in my list of question for you, but you mentioned there are a lot of ways you can be late, and I'm just curious if you'd expand on that a little bit.

Loretta Mohler: I break it down into the what, the how, and the done. The "what" is, "What obstacle do I take?" The how is, "Do I take an extension or collection?" The done means, "Is the handler still babysitting the obstacle, or have they moved on so I have a place to land?" Because the number one thing your dogs want when they land off an obstacle is for you not to be there.

If you mess up the what, you get a refusal. If you mess up the how, most dogs will keep continuing if you want. If you want a turn, they'll continue to move forward. They didn't see the turn.

A great example is when I say you didn't move on, the done didn't happen. It's because what happens is if the dog lands and you're right there, if you've ever been near someone that likes to get in your personal space, it can be very uncomfortable, and when they land and you're still there, it makes them uncomfortable.

You can actually teach dogs to turn wider, because they learn that you're always going to be there and they don't really want to hit you, so that's their only option. Usually that's going to be where it's going to happen. If you have all the commitment and you have all the skills you need, but you're not doing one of those three things, that's where it's going to break down.

Melissa Breau: Gotcha. That was really interesting. I like that breakdown, too: the what, the how, and the done. I know commitment has come up a couple of times as we've been talking through this, so I want us to define what we're talking about there. What is commitment and what are we looking for?

Loretta Mohler: Commitment is when the dog is fully focused on the obstacle or line they're told to take. The dog is looking at the obstacle, not you, obviously, their ears are forward, and the motion is set on the obstacle itself. It means the dog will not pull off the jump or come out of the weaves when the handler moves off to handle the next obstacle or cue a turn with their bodies or verbals, etc. The dog maintains their hard focus on the path or the obstacle, and their soft focus, a.k.a., their peripheral vision, their side vision, is on the handler's motion.

I like to use the analogy of a racehorse with their blinders on. Commitment is when the dog puts those blinders on and all they think about is that path or that obstacle. The human is there, so they see motion moving in some way or another, but the motion is not the hard focus. The obstacle itself and how to perform that obstacle, they are fully committed to it, and that's when you realize that you have that commitment. They've got it, they're locked onto it, and you can't really do much of anything to get them to come off that obstacle. A lot of dogs have really good commitment to tunnels, maybe to a fault sometimes. Jumps, they don't always have the commitment to jumps that people really need in order to get the handling out.

If you don't have commitment, it's basically impossible for you to cue things earlier, because if the dog is just going to come off as soon as you turn your body or give a verbal, guess what. You really end up babysitting, and then you teach the dog to be babysat, and you babysit, and therefore you end up not being able to get ahead, and it becomes this big problem where you feel like you're always fighting to get to the next obstacle or get ahead of your dog. But if you have commitment, everything else will fall into place. Sometimes we find that the dogs are lacking some skills and it's actually impossible for you to cue early. In that case, don't worry. That's why we have this class.

Melissa Breau: Fair enough. That's commitment, and we've talked about timing. What information is it that our dogs need to know from us to have that kind of commitment, and what options do we have for communicating the information they need, so that everything is smooth, so that everything looks good?

Loretta Mohler: As far as courses, I always think in terms of simple, and then obviously you can get more complicated, but does the dog need to run an extension or a collection? Are they running in a straight line or are they turning? That's step number one.

Will the handler's body always be showing the line with motion, or will there be times that the handler might be contradictory? An example would obviously be if you're running down a straight line of jumps, if your body is going to show that motion, it's going to match everything. However, if you think about it in a different way where it might be contradictory, if you're moving away from a forward send or doing a front cross, for example, to change the line, does the dog stay committed?

Those things need to be told to the dog so they understand. A great example is if I am going to be contradictory to my dog, if I have to send them forward to a jump, and let's say I have to move off with a front cross or whatever, I'm going to say the word "jump," and that again tells my dog, "Put your blinders on, really focus on your jump, stay committed to that, and when you land, we can reconnect and I'll talk to you about what the next step is.

Should they be in obstacle or handler focus. That's another thing. Do we want them to be looking at a line of obstacles, or do we need them to come into handler focus and only focus on us. Those are the big ones as far as courses go.

Motion is obviously the number one language of dogs. They read the handler running as extension and the handler slowing down as collection. You can use this while running courses to show your dog exactly what you want them to do, using your speed as a cue.

Arms and feet. I joke about big arms versus little T-Rex arms, little small arms. People make fun of me for that. They give me all sorts of little trinkets with Tyrannosaurus Rexes and stuffed animal T-Rexes, but they remember it. Big arms do what? Send the dog away from you. Small arms are great cues for intricate work.

Same with your feet. Big steps versus little steps. Big steps are going to send the dog into obstacle focus, little steps are going to draw the dog into you. Always remember arms and feet should be an extension of the body. It's important to not have your arms and legs going all over the place. They need to be supportive of the rest of your body.

Then you've got verbals. Some people don't use verbals, some people only use verbals, and some people have a combination of them. I personally have a combination. They can tell the dog where to go, give them directionals, you can do wraps versus a "go" command, so there's your extension, reflection versus extension, tell the dog to go straight or turn. You can say "A-frame" versus "tunnel," that can tell the dog which obstacle to take if you're doing discrimination. The faster your dog is in relation to you, that can really determine if you need to use more verbals. Remember your dogs only have approximately 270 degrees of peripheral vision, so if you stay behind your dog a lot, most likely you're going to need more verbals than someone that is going to be with or lateral from their dog most of the time. Just be aware of that.

Eye contact is also huge. Lots of eye contact will cue one thing. What is it going to cue? Handler focus. Little eye contact or partial connection is going to cue obstacle focus. No connection whatsoever is going to be a disconnect, so that is going to cue the dog to come into handler focus and look at you and be like, "Are you with me?"

Pressure, stepping into the dog versus moving away from the dog. They feel that and will respond accordingly. Some dogs don't like pressure. Some love it. Some dogs are in-between. Many people will get in the habit of using pressure incorrectly. We do go into that a little bit during the class. But the bottom line is you want a predictable response to whatever cues you use.

That is what I love about agility. It is predictable. People will probably laugh at that statement, but that is part of the fun for me is if I do A, my dogs are most likely going to do B. I would say, on a given training session or trialing season, my dogs are going to follow through much more consistently than I do. They are very predictable.

Always remember the ability to teach your dog a front cross or a rear cross as training, using a method, applying it to your dog, rewarding behavior. The art of handling a dog through a course is knowing how they respond to these different things and how to use them to the dog's strengths.

We'll go into some of that as well during the class, because you get to see people adjust their handling to better communicate with their dogs. Remember, you're always cueing something. It just might not be what you want at that particular moment, so be aware of that. But you'll see a lot of modifications. That's one of the things I love about working with the Gold and even some of the Silvers is that you'll see me be able to modify things to match the dog as far as what they need. It's much easier to do that so that you can have a little bit more communication and make things a little bit clearer. That's my goal is getting predictable responses to whatever cues you use.

Melissa Breau: Talk a little bit more about how the picture changes. You mentioned a straight line versus when you want to cue collection and a turn. Can we talk about that picture a little more? How does the picture change when we go from a straight line to a course, with when do you use front crosses or a blind crosses or whatever to change the picture?

Loretta Mohler: It really depends on if you're cuing a tight turn or a soft turn or just a change of side. I'll start with a tighter turn first. If you're cuing a tight turn, let's say you're using a front cross, because you can use a front cross or a blind cross to just cue a change of side. It doesn't necessarily always have to be a turn.

Let's say you were starting with a tighter turn. You would commit the dog to the jump, so that's the "what," take the jump, then you would start your rotation for the cross and decelerate, that's the "how," you're telling the dog to take the jump in a collective state, if you have a verbal for "turn," you could give that, like a wrap command, or you'll hear people say, "Dig, dig," and that would mean a 180-degree turn, or if you're driving your car, that would be like making a U-turn, and then you're going to begin moving off the jump before the dog takes off.

All those things have to happen before the dog gets to take off, so they know what to take, how to take it, and that you will leave so you won't be there when they land, so they can turn nice and tight. All those cues together give you a tighter turn.

If you're talking a softer turn, it changes a little bit. You would still commit the dog to the jump, that's the "what," but you would be moving through your cross, so not really any deceleration, so that would give your dog the information that they're turning a bit, but not really sharply. That's the "how." You could also possibly have a different verbal for the soft turn. Think of the way your dog would respond to that as an exit ramp off the interstate. Not one of those 25-miles-an-hour exit ramps. A nice, soft turn.

Melissa Breau: An easy merge.

Loretta Mohler: Yes, there you go — a nice, easy merge. You don't want the dog to slow down to 25 miles an hour. You want them to be able to speed up and go to the next line quickly, so that's how you would do that. For just a side change, you would again commit the dog to the obstacle. That's the "what." You're going to drive forward into your cross, again starting before the dog takes off, and then driving to the next obstacle. This is like staying on the highway and being in and out of the passing lane, going between cars. I know you're not supposed to do that, I don't think, sorry. I mean always only being in the left lane while you're passing, and then getting back over, and never trying to pass on the right. Don't do that. But that's what you're doing. You're merging in and out of traffic. There we go.

Does that make sense on how those cues are going to help your dogs understand exactly what they need to do, how to do it, and then moving you off to the next obstacle so that you can have the next line ready for them when they land off that obstacle they're on.

Melissa Breau: Yeah, totally, and I think looking at it that way and talking about it in that level of detail really explains why timing is so critical, because that's a lot of information we're trying to give them.

Loretta Mohler: It really is, and that's one of the things I think people … naturally we understand motion to the jump is a cue. Anyone in agility understands if you step towards a thing, they should take the thing. The problem is there are so many people that are lacking that moment of, "Oh yes, motion away from the jump is also a cue." And that if you are only giving motion to and decelerating, you give some turning cues, you're giving your dog half the cues that I'm going to give my dog to turn, and not only are you doing that, you're also putting yourself behind.

I'm not a fast person, but I can appear like I run really fast because I'm never there when the dog lands. If you watch any videos of handlers on World teams, or really good handlers in general — because obviously not every good handler is on a World team; there's plenty of phenomenal handlers at every weekend trial — one thing you'll see consistently is when a dog lands off an obstacle, the human is not there. They're not in the line, they've moved on, they're connected, but they're driving the next line. That's something to really think about: you need motion to the obstacle and motion away from the obstacle to get those lines changed and set.

Melissa Breau: We see some of the symptoms popping up. I think the only piece we haven't really dug into yet is when the problem truly is not handler-related, when it's actually a dog-training problem. How can you figure that out? How do you know when the dog needs more confidence on the equipment, or a better understanding of the game, versus the handler being late? How do you tease that apart?

Loretta Mohler: I will say that one of the biggest things I work on in my Ag 110 class is commitment to a jump, because that is the number one skill that is really hard for many teams. Dogs are predatory beings and they love motion, they love to chase motion, so to ask them, "Oh, by the way, don't do that" takes time and it takes a lot of commitment from the handlers to get that type of commitment to the obstacle.

I can figure out the problem, whether it's dog training, a skill thing, handler situation in Week One for you. That's the nice thing about it. Week One, students are asked to cue the perfect turn. All the pieces have to be there to cue the perfect turn. The handler has to have good timing to cue the obstacle, the dog has to have commitment to the obstacle as soon as cued by the handler, the dog has to stay committed as the handler starts to move off the obstacle they just cued to show the line change, and this information has to be given before takeoff so that the dog can make the necessary changes physically to do the task.

The dog also has to know how to do the task. Do they know how to collect? Do they know how to round their back? Do they know how to shift their weight? And the handler needs to reconnect with the dog after the dog lands, and the dog has to follow the path shown to the next line. If any of those pieces are missing, it's easily identified, and I can help them know exactly what's missing and how to get it.

I will say this: cuing the perfect turn is not an easy skill. People at every level will mess up cuing a turn. Even if you're at a beginner level and you're messing up cuing a turn, guess what. You're doing the same stuff that some people are doing in Excellent and Masters every weekend. So it's very important to understand that that one exercise can give you all the information that you need in order to figure out where things are falling apart.

Melissa Breau: I like that. Just to give people a little bit of a sample of what the class looks like, can you break down one of the drills from class as an example — describe it and talk us through how it would help?

Loretta Mohler: Sure. The easiest one I can do, because I think it's relatively simple for people to imagine, is, like I just stated before, the perfect turn. It's basically going to be just jump, jump, and then a turn back to the previous jump.

You can use that for all your crosses, you can use it for your sends, your forward sends, your lateral sends, your rear crosses, all that kind of stuff, your backside sends. What it does is it identifies where there are areas that are lacking, your commitment, or if you're not cuing it early enough, if you're not moving away, and then we can go back and work on those weaknesses.

Then, as we get really good at that perfect turn drill, you can add more speed and change things up, make it more difficult for many teams. A lot of teams will actually have certain crosses or certain things that they're really good at. A great example is a lot of people have awesome backside sense, and they do not babysit them. They leave, the dog never has to worry about a human being there. But let's say their front crosses are bad or their forward sends are bad. They babysit them.

We'll find that out and say, "Here's where you're babysitting, here's where you're not babysitting." Or "Here's where you need to build more commitment." You can start by doing the perfect turn drill, and then you can add more things into it. You can add a tunnel, which obviously changes things, changes the dynamics of speed and all that kind of stuff.

But we also talk about, in these drills, that if your speed changes, there's certain places that you are able to maintain your timing. A great example is the dog is always going to land off a jump. That's your moment to begin all of your cuing. Just based on this exercise alone and then taking it into different drills, it will help you identify what's good, what needs improvement, and exactly where you're late, not just that you are late.

Melissa Breau: I know you also included some info on mental stamina and how to maintain methodical handling in the class. I wanted to ask why. Why was it important? Why did you include it?

Loretta Mohler: The reason I included it is because trials are stressful. Competition can be very stressful for you and the dog, and I think a solid mental game is important so you can adapt on the fly if need be, if things aren't going to be just perfect, because usually it's not going to be perfect at a trial. There's going to be something that happens, and if you have good

timing, you have time to change your plan if something happens, and if you can stay mentally in the game and not panic. You see those people who have a great ability to fix something before it goes horribly wrong. That's because they have good timing and they saw it early enough to react.

The way I can describe when you're in a run and the timing is really good is it feels slow. You feel ahead, you feel in control, you feel like nothing is going to jump out and grab you. You know all of the situations that you're in, and you're able to change things if you need to. That's why it's so important to have good timing.

The problem is timing is one of the very first things that falls apart if someone gets in a poor mental state. Stress is a great inducer of poor mental state. We worry about the "what ifs" and all that stuff. That's why I work on trying to get people to think about how to improve their mental game, so that they can maintain their timing. Do we all make mistakes handling at times? Yes, we do. If someone says they never make a mistake, whatever. We do. But if you have good timing, you can manage those mistakes and make them look almost invisible, and some people may never know it was a mistake except you.

So mental management and your mental game is going to make you methodical and predictable to the dog, which is really good. The dog, even in all the environments, even with all the changes, the surface, the equipment, the people, the dogs, the judges, weather, if all of that changes, and it always is, depending on what venue you're going to, you are the stability in the team.

The more unflappable you are, the better handler you will be. The more unflappable you are, the better timing you're going to have. I say this all the time. People laugh, but I always say, "There's only room for one crazy on course," and if your dog has the crazy card, you can't have it. So the more stable you are, the more predictable you are, the better your timing and handling, and that does come from a solid mental game, so you can adapt if need be.

Melissa Breau: Anything else you want to go into or share about the class?

Loretta Mohler: Regardless of whether you just started a sequence or you're a seasoned competitor, there are three levels of courses each week. There's something for everybody. I think it can be really good to see dogs working on foundations as well as advanced stuff, because you can break things down, learn new moves.

There's a lot of dog training and handling going on in this class and you'll see a lot of different levels, which is fun to look at. You'll also see advanced dogs going back to basics, which is a good thing. You're going to see some

foundation work that maybe your Masters dog might be lacking. Timing is that thing we're all striving to have, so it's important to really focus on it so you and your dog are happy running together and you're having a good time, because if agility is full of stress and unpredictability, that doesn't make it very fun. And so the goal is going to be for your guys to have those smooth, boring agility runs that look completely flawless.

Melissa Breau: To round everything out, one last question: If we were to drill down all the stuff we've been talking about today into one nugget or one key piece of information you really wish all the agility handlers out there understood, what would that be?

Loretta Mohler: That the dogs are doing the very best they can with the information given. If they're not given the information on time, they're doing the very best they can to turn, they're doing the very best they can to not have an off course or give you a refusal.

But if they don't have the information, they're doing the best they can with whatever they're given, whether it's contradictory information, anything like that. They are giving you a hundred percent, and if they're disconnecting or getting the zoomies or whatever, they're also giving you a hundred percent in the form of feedback.

So if you are lacking in that area and you're getting that kind of feedback from your dog, they are still giving you the very best they can. They're giving you feedback. Failure is not a bad thing. Failure is only feedback. If your dog is doing what you ask them to do, that's great. If your dog is doing something different than what you think you asked, remember what I said earlier: You're always cueing something. You just might not be cuing the things that you want to cue. That's very important to remember in agility.

Melissa Breau: Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast, Loretta. This has been fun.

Loretta Mohler: Thank you very much for having me, Melissa.

Melissa Breau: Thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in! We'll be back next week. We're going to talk with Amy Johnson about dog photography.

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Today's show is brought to you by the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. Special thanks to Denise Fenzi for supporting this podcast. Music provided royalty-free by BenSound.com; the track featured here is called "Buddy." Audio editing provided by Chris Lang.

Thanks again for tuning in — and happy training! 


Today's show is brought to you by the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. Special thanks to Denise Fenzi for supporting this podcast. Music provided royalty-free by BenSound.com; the track featured here is called "Buddy." Audio editing provided by Chris Lang.

Thanks again for tuning in -- and happy training!

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