10 Simple (But Important) Things To Remember About Agility Goals.

Defining Your Goals In Dog Agility

In my article 6 Vital Tips This Dog Agility Trainer Needs You to Embrace, the fourth item I share is:

“You Must Define Your Own Agility Goals

Forego the external and uncontrollable goals such as a title or qualifying run. Instead, put your money on your team and invest in committing to and training action-based goals. Action based goals are within your control and focus on clear and specific physical actions your agility team can practice and master. Once you have those, the titles and Q’s will begin to arrive automatically.”

10 Simple (But Important) Things To Remember About Agility Goals.

  1. Power of Perception – If you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t. Either way, you’re right so why not make the choice to be the agility team who can and does.
  2. Clarity – If you’re not clear on what or how to train an action, your dog won’t be clear on what or how to learn it.
  3. Consistency – Success in agility is all about consistency. Consistency is cue’s, consistency in performance, consistency in perception, consistency in attitude and so much more.
  4. Create Tools – Action-based steps are specific, controllable and create desired behaviors. Desired behaviors chained together create skills. Successful skills create the tools to achieve. Start small and build up.
  5. Perfect! – Perfection is an illusion and the quest to attain perfection is actually a road to derailment. Hint: Aim for consistency.
  6. A Journey – In agility, there is no end game. Enjoy and savor the progressive journey you and your dog are on.
  7. Translate – Training a dog really means learning to translate your desires into actions that your dog will want to perform.
  8. Abundance of Opportunity – Chose to be at peace with the fact that in agility, you will always be presented with new learning opportunities no matter how much you’ve already learned.
  9. Growth Can Be Uncomfortable – Learning new things can be uncomfortable, however the growth you achieve will lead to new opportunities.
  10. Fun Does Count – If you or your dog is consistently not having fun with any part of the process (I’m not talking about the discomfort that can occur when learning a new skill), this is a sign you’re about to go down in flames. Change something. Your perception, expectations, reevaluate the goals, skills or tools. Take time to find what and evaluate why it is sucking away the fun and address it.

Take Responsibility to Define Your Own Agility Goals:

Unless you’re working with a specialized dog agility coach, you’ve likely not had an opportunity to sit down and clearly define your agility goals in detail. That’s because most trainers are limited by class time and students prefer to focus on things that happen on the agility course itself. Also, everyone’s goals are going to be slightly different since each dog agility team is unique.

I personally don’t view a qualifying run or title as a goal (I consider those milestones along my journey) because Q’s & T’s no longer motivate me in the moments before I go on course. That’s not to say they aren’t special, however I have found that when I focus on the above 10 things and the skills I’ve trained my dog, the Q’s & T’s come because I simply did my job as a handler.

Where To Go From Here

Using the list above, begin to create your goals…better yet, share them below while they are fresh in your mind. Remember, the more specific and action-based, the better!

I’m looking forward to seeing your goals listed below!

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Happy Handling!

Lisa Selthofer

Articles In The Superstar Series:

  1. 6 Vital Tips This Dog Agility Trainer Needs You to Embrace
  2. 3 Traits of a Successful Agility Handler
  3. All Dogs Have the Potential to be Their BEST in Agility
  4. Dog Agility Superstars Aren’t Born. They Are Made
  5. 10 Simple (But Important) Things to Remember About Your Agility Goals
  6. Never Compare Your Agility Journey to the Journey of Others (coming soon)
  7. It Doesn’t Matter What Others Think (coming soon)

As a 20+ year dog agility coach, I am passionate about producing quality resources for dog agility teams by promoting self-development and delivering clear and specific training solutions that enable teams’ to perform with clarity and confidence!

My unique experience as a hands-on trainer and 18+ year dog agility judge led me to create Sequencing For Success and the highly successful 2on-2off Contact Training DVD.

Our household has included Dalmatians, Labradors, Belgian Tervuren, Border Collies and engaging cats.

Contact Lisa via email AgilityOne at Gmail.com (replace at with @ sign)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “10 Simple (But Important) Things To Remember About Agility Goals.

  1. Lisa,
    I have been so enjoying your thoughts on what it means to be a real winner in agility. If we just used ribbons and Q’s as the yardstick we would walk away disappointed again and again. I am going to be very deliberate about my goals for Logan and I. I think I will start with leaving the ring happy about the things we did right. It is a game and the game should never shame me or my dog.
    You’re the best! Cindi

    • I got goose bumps reading your comment! YES, we have a choice on how the game is going to end after each run and by choosing to be grateful and appreciative, you will ALWAYS be a winner!!!!! Hugs! Lisa