Ten Names You Should Know in Dog Agility

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There are literally thousands of people competing in the sport of Dog Agility. Out of those, hundreds offer training all around the world. If you have been competing in agility for a while, it’s likely you are familiar with those in your local area. And maybe with some of the big names in the world. However, relative beginners won’t know who these people are. And, maybe, you will find a name on here that you are not familiar with. We can’t include everyone that has had an impact on agility. So here are ten names to become familiar with.

1. Sandra Katzen

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Modern agility competitors are probably not familiar with Sandra. I have had the great fortune to be able to do some of my dog’s foundation training with Sandra. She is an instructor in my local(ish) area and has been training dogs for agility since the early 1990s. She is very active in agility still and is a judge for many organizations, including USDAA, NADAC (former judge) and UKI.

Why should you know this name?

In the early 1990s, Sandra Katzen was heavily involved in the creation of the agility program for the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA). She also helped found the North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC). These are some of the very first agility programs in the United States. Even though things have changed greatly since the 1990s, it is certain that we would not have the wonderful choice of agility programs we do today if it were not for her influence early on.

2. Bad Dog Agility

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Bad Dog Agility is the brain child of Esteban and Sarah Fernandezlopez from Texas. Relative newcomers to the agility scene, they started Bad Dog Agility in 2011. They offer online instruction through their website. They have done quite well at AKC National and Invitational competitions.

Why should you know this name?

While they are relatively new, they have made a large impact in the agility community with their online presence, a wonderful podcast that covers all things agility, and their “Power 10” which looks at AKC agility scores and ranks dogs. They offer tons of free training materials on their website. Their podcast is extremely informative and entertaining. And they are always positive and upbeat about their topics.

3. One Mind Dogs

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Another new kid on the block, One Mind Dogs has only been around since 2012. It is a group of instructors from Finland (and elsewhere) whose self-stated purpose is “to help you to understand your dog’s natural behavior”. They claim their method “gets you mentally connected with your dog”.

Why should you know this name?

Since their inception in 2012, One Mind Dogs has been taking the agility community by storm. They combination of on-line classes and in person seminars seems to work well for many people. All the people I have spoken to that have attended their seminars have come away much better handlers and say things like “it was so obvious, why didn’t anyone ever say that before?” when talking about the things they learned. The coaches are top-notch agility instructors and competitors.

4. Silvia Trkman

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Silvia Trkman is a world team competitor and instructor from Slovenia. She has been competing and teaching agility since 1992. She offers in person lessons, on line classes and a series of DVD videos.

Why should you know this name?

Silvia Trkman is internationally known as one of the best instructors when it comes to running contacts (the dog doesn’t stop at the bottom of the a-frame and dog walk). She has competed successfully and consistently at the international level with her dogs. Her on line courses are exceptional and her DVDs are easy to follow with much useful information. Even though she is from Slovenia, her courses and DVDs can easily be found in English.

5. Susan Garrett

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Probably the best known person on this list, Susan Garrett is from Canada. She is the author of several books, videos and on line resources. She competed successfully both in North America and internationally.

Why should you know this name?

Susan Garrett is well known for her cutting edge, very different, handling style. She is not afraid to modify her methods when new techniques present themselves. She is always experimenting with better ways to teach both dogs and handlers. She currently offers on line courses (and in person lessons for a small group). While these are some of the most expensive lessons around, costing sometimes well over $1000(us), they are well worth the money for those that want to compete at the highest levels. I have minimal experience with her methods but the experience I do have has been outstanding.

6. Ultimate Agility

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Ultimate Agility is Greg and Laura Derrett, from the United Kingdom. They run UK Agility in the United Kingdom and UK Agility International in North America and Singapore. These are some of the earliest competitors and instructors in the sport of dog agility, starting back in the 1980s when agility was first getting started in England.

Why should you know this name?

Greg Derrett was one of the first people to develop a “system” for agility handling. One that could be taught to others. Many of the early competitors in the 1990s used Greg Derrett’s handling system. Greg and Laura Derrett hold lessons, put on seminars and workshops and have an on line classroom. Greg Derrett has presented his unique handling system to agility competitors all over the world.

7. Linda Mecklenburg

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Linda is an internationally recognized agility handler and instructor. She is from Ohio in the United States. Linda is another early competitor in dog agility. She started back in 1990 when the only choice in the United States was USDAA.

Why should you know this name?

Linda is considered one of the best instructors when it comes to agility jumping skills. Her book Developing Jumping Skills for Awesome Agility Dogs is considered to be the best resource on how dogs jump and how to train them to jump better. Her handling system has helped many people to improve their agility performance. While she doesn’t offer a lot of variety in her classes, she is an acknowledged expert at the classes she does teach.

8. Agility Nerd

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Agility Nerd is a blog and website run by Steve Schwarz out of Chicago in the United States.  Steve has been competing in agility since the late 1990s. He started training others shortly afterwards and started his blog in 2004 as a resource to help others with their agility training.

Why should you know this name?

Steve’s blog and website are FULL of good information about agility. There are blog posts, links to other blogs, free videos, free lessons, and seminars. One of the best things about his website is Googility, an agility specific search engine. And, did I mention, most of the information is FREE!

9. Agility University

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Agility University is an on-line only agility training facility with instructors from around the world. Classes are completely on-line with no in-person aspect. The instructors come from many countries but all are top instructors and exhibitors.

Why should you know this name?

Agility University is a place where you can get a wide variety of agility instruction in all aspects of agility. Unlike some other large on-line classrooms, this one is completely dedicated to agility. Every one of their instructors is an expert in their area. If you have a problem or you wish to work on a specific agility skill, you will find a class for you here. They offer a typical per-class price but also a “Campus Pass” which allows you to submit questions and have video review of your handling for a monthly fee.

10. Daisy Peel

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Daisy Peel is a top-level handler and instructor from Oregon in the United States. She has competed at top levels in agility nationally and internationally. She runs an on-line training classroom and has local private lessons.

Why should you know this name?

Daisy’s Clear Mind Agility system is well known for helping exhibitors focus their minds and reduce their stress at trials and in training. She hosts some excellent training camps each year at her facility. Daisy’s on-line classroom is the home of several top instructors, including some instruction in dog fitness and health. She pioneered one of the few methods currently in use for running contacts. She also provides

Summary:

I don’t have the time or space to talk about each and every name in agility. There are sooooo many more. I could type for hours and still not touch on everyone that should be mentioned. However, these are some of the best people in the agility community. These are ones that have touched my life in some way over the past 15 years. Getting to know them a bit better will certainly help you out whether you have been training for a while or are just starting out. Hopefully, some of this information will translate into resources you can use for improving your agility skills.

 

 

 

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