During the summer months Celtic Paws Agility Club trains outdoors at the Scottish SPCA Animal Welfare Centre at Balerno, just outside Edinburgh. The club generally trains two nights a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. A Training session lasts between an hour and a half to two hours, depending on the class size, although the dogs and handlers are only worked individually in short bursts. Much of the learning process with regards to handling the dog comes from watching how others do it. Initial training focuses on the basic skills required for the dogs to negotiate all obstacles correctly and safely before moving on to the handling skills required for the dog owners.
The policy at Celtic Paws is always to push the boundaries of the handlers expertise and introduce them from an early stage to many of the more complex handling manoeuvres. During training handlers are always encouraged to praise and reward the dogs for their effort through both food and toy rewards. Harsh handling is never allowed and handlers are constantly reminded that any mistakes made during training are usually as a result of the handler getting it wrong, not the dog. Training although serious is always kept light hearted and fun. We all learn quickly to be able to laugh at our own mistakes but seek to learn from them. Although Dog Agility is a fun sport, to get the best out of it requires commitment and concentration.
Club Members walking through a training problem on the training field overlooked by Trainer,