AG150: Impulse Control for the Agility dog - at the start line, on the table, and on the contacts

Instructor: Nancy Gagliardi Little

Course Details

Are you frustrated that your dog can't hold a stay at the start line?  That he self-releases from contacts at trials?  Or maybe you have to hover over him on the table to keep him from leaving early?  If so, you've got an impulse control problem.  The good news is that this is a skill that you can train!

Since most impulse control issues in agility happen at the start line, that's where we will begin.  Once you've learned the concepts to build a good start line stay, you'll have the option to keep working on this critical skill, to move on to the contact of your choice, or to focus on the table. No matter what you choose, you will have access to the material for all three areas so that you can work on them all as you and your dog are ready. 

The class will cover foundation skills needed for successful self-control in the face of exciting situations like agility trials. We will discuss why the criteria you choose matters, common problems you might face and how to address them, and how to handle mistakes when they happen. 

If you have taken this class previously, we will continue where we left off - building on the skills you and your dog have learned.  

Please Note: The contact portion of this class will address issues for dogs who have learned stopped contacts and can perform them correctly in training, but struggle to do so at trials. Please do not take this class in order to teach stopped contacts. Likewise, this class is not for dogs with running contacts.


There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.

Registration will begin at 9:00AM PDT.


Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 10 students, Bronze: unlimited. If you are interested in bronze level, you can sign up any time during the registration period.


For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.



How This Class Works

Contacts/Table vs Start Line Similarities and Differences

Where It Goes Wrong

How To Handle Mistakes

Start Line Issues in Agility - Recommendations

Start Lines

Connection Preparation

Ring Entrance & Exits

Start Line Position

Moving Towards Setup

Lining Up

Testing Ring Entrance & Setup

The Stay

The Release

Putting the Pieces Together

Testing The Release

Testing The Exit


How the Contact Section Works

Contact Criteria

Contact Position Response

Contact Release

Contact Position Duration

Contact Position with Distance

Contact Position with Motion

Testing the Contact Position        

Testing the Contact Release

Testing Contacts with Speed and Arousal


Table Criteria

Table Position Response

Table Release

Table Position Duration

Table Position with Distance

Table Position with Motion

Testing The Table Position             

Testing the Table Release

Testing the Table with Speed and Arousal

Prerequisites and Equipment


If you want help with your dog's performance of one or more contacts, you must have a trained stop on that contact. This class will not go into training stopped contacts. Help with running contact leaps will not be addressed in this class - only stopped contacts. 

For those of you wanting to fix broken start lines, broken stops on contacts/tables, I would highly encourage you to not trial during this class while you work on the retraining and handling.

Required Equipment

8' or 12’ dog walk plank for contact training

Regulation size table, if your dog is having an issue with the table

One jump

Tunnel (this will be used later on for more arousal, but we can get by without it)

A ring entrance – can be two barriers that look and feel like an entrance to the dog

Chair, leash bucket or a place to put your leash

You may need an occasional person or people and dogs to help with distractions.

Suggested Equipment

A second tunnel if I think you might need more arousal games (can substitute 2-3 jumps for the second tunnel)

Contact equipment - almost all of the contact work will be done away from full contacts, but if you and your dog complete the exercises and you have access to it, you can use the contact equipment.


Course Testimonials

I was very hesitant to take a class at the Gold level as I just wasn't sure how an online class would work. I have to say I am SO glad I did. I have learned so much and have seen so much progress in just a short time. I am now hooked and can't wait to take more classes...I just hope the instructors are as good as Nancy!!             

I signed up as a Bronze and can't believe how much I learned from following the Golds and reading Nancy"s troubleshooting comments. She has an incredible eye. I hope this course is offered again soon so I can have Nancy's eyes on me! Stacey M.              

I loved this class! I would like to take it again after I've worked through the things I am working on now. I wish my job didn't interfere with my being able to devote more time to the class. The instructor is wonderful and was able to pick up small nuances in my handling from the videos. I hate that the class is ending already.          

I am so thrilled I took this class and have these resources. Nancy's lectures are superb, very detailed and easily understood. Before I took this class, I had an inkling of what I was doing incorrectly but didn't know what to change first. Nancy steered me into setting up my training sessions so that both my dog & I could learn together. Strongly recommend this class to anyone who is having start line or contact impulse control issues. I look forward to learning more and progressing through the rest of the course material. Thank you Margo F.        

I have learned so very much about my dog and my training from Nancy. I love this course and plan to take any course at the Gold level that is taught by Nancy that involves agility or general dog training. Nancy Gagliardi Little is great!!! Bob D.             

Impulse control for the agility dog is a great class. There is a lot of material to cover, but my dogs sit stay at the start line improved immensely. This class is fun, organized and builds confidence in the team. Ginger M           

Nancy is absolutely the best! We have taken her impulse control for the competition dog and now this class for impulse control in agility dogs. It has been invaluable, and many of us are looking forward to continuing in a second session with Nancy. I only wish that I had started my dog with her methods, as I will with my next puppy. Nancy shows you how to let the dog make the right choices to control his impulses - much more fun for dog and handler - and definitely less frustrating for both.                 

I have been competing in agility nearly my entire life, and have been instructing agility for a quarter of my life. I signed up for Agility Impulse as an auditor to give myself a fresh tune-up on such important skills necessary for successful agility teams. It was exactly what I needed to get my brain going again on things that were so obvious to me once I was reading the lecture material provided. This class not only enlightened me to new things about my own dogs, but as I was reading the material, I was writing notes about my students' dogs and ways to help them achieve higher goals and greater success. I'm so happy I took the time and made the investment! Thank you for the Fenzi Academy! Megan F Synergy Dog Sports Stanwood, WA           

This class was a turning point in my relationship with my puppy. Before the class was sheer chaos and regret that I ever let this beast into my life. The class put me on a productive path right away, and things are so much better now.