AG170: Agility From Backyard to Competition

Instructor: Julie Daniels

Course Details

You already know about generalizing and proofing and taking your skills on the road. But it is very difficult not to feel discouraged when those beautiful weaves in the backyard become “what weaves?” in competition. When your accurate, confident jumper at home can't keep his bars up at the show. When your eager, focused dog at practice becomes impossible to control when the Q is on the line.

Whether your dog stresses 'down' or 'up,' whether your canine partner in the backyard is serious or lighthearted, whether you have focus problems in general or whether you seem beautifully connected right up until you go into the ring, there is help for you in this class. We are all about being ready to enjoy and do your best in agility trials.

Your dog's skill set, and your own, will be tested in competition. The holes in your foundation will open up, that's for sure. We will make room for work on individual obstacle weaknesses in our Gold homework threads, as each team will have different obstacle performance polishing needs. But this class is really about the bigger picture of competition.

Every week in our homework exercises, we will build and rehearse most of the combinations of events which will be in play as we travel, settle in, get ready to run, and then perform a long list of obstacle performance requirements in our classes. No two courses are alike, and there are countless possible ways for problems to arise. We can minimize the effects of the newness of competition for inexperienced dogs and handlers by being ready for anything. And we can also help experienced dogs and handlers who have problems with the unique situation of the agility trial environment. We will cover so many combinations of experiences in class that the busy agility scene will feel familiar before you get there. We will rehearse the focus and connection we want, and we will bring that to the show with a relaxed and open-minded readiness to have a good show day.

This class will welcome teams who are new to competition as well as teams who already have problems in the context of agility competition. You will need to make local road trips and you will need to enlist the occasional help of friends, neighbors, or fellow dog people. You might have to be creative now and then with props and set-ups to practice certain skills and situations. But I promise you, it will be enlightening, it will be FUN, and it will do your relationship a LOT of good both inside and outside of the agility ring!


Welcome to AG170!


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 begins at 9am PDT.

Enrollment limits: 12 gold, 25 silver, unlimited bronze. If you are interested in a bronze-level spot you can register any time during the enrollment period.


AG 170 – Agility From Backyard to Competition

Taught by Julie Daniels





WEEK 1 (All At Home)

Baseline Checklist

Obstacle Work at Home

Games for Teamwork:

Treats in Turn, What is That, Come and Get It, Put Your Gear On

Parallel Path

The Backwards Hand

Intro to Ring Crew 101

Mat Training (Crate, Bed, Chair, Car)

Noise Tolerance Games:

PA System 101, Doors, Crates, Chairs, Cars, Electronic Timer 101


WEEK 2 (New Area At Home/Familiar Location)

Games for Teamwork:

Do You See, Toy/Treat in the Middle, Dog Amuck Game, Pay for Chaos

Come and Get It with Obstacles

Cue to GO

Ring Gates and Fencing 101

Intro to Judge 101

Noise Tolerance Games:

PA System 201, See-saw Bangs, Crowd Noises, Electronic Timer 201

Using Arousal States


WEEK 3 (Home and Away)

The Handler/Run/Obstacle Triangle

Travel Skills:

Car Rides and Crates, Pee and Poop, Drinking Enough, Cooling and Heating

Tricks for Strange Territories

Judge and Ring Crew Away From Home

Body Play At Home and Away from Home

Balancing and Cueing Arousal States Away from Home

Stressing Up and Stressing Down with Obstacles


WEEK 4 (Home and Away)

The Queue

Entering the Ring while Another Dog is Running

Judge is Moving

Using Body Play Now

Leash Games

Tricks for Start Line Delay (Expect It!)

Loving the Set-Up and Start

Intro to Cookie Jar Games with Obstacles

Full Focus Forward


WEEK 5 (Away from Home)

Cookie Jar Triangles

Judge is Running

Learning to Finish

Novice Happens

Exiting the Ring Together

Creating Impression of 'Lots of Equipment'

Balancing Obstacle Work: Distance, Duration, Distraction, and Difficulty

Substrates: Dirt, Grass, Turf, Rubber (It's all Good)

Train Like You Trial/Trial Like You Train

How to Help with the Unexpected (Expect It!)


WEEK 6 (Away from Home)

Cookie Jar Finishes

Human Cookie Jars

Ring Practice with Courses

Judge and Crew are Running

Novice Still Happens

Enjoying the Whole Picture

Concept Maintenance: Keeping What You Have Accomplished

Train to Your Weakness/Show to Your Strength

Review of Checklist

Prerequisites and Equipment

Prerequisites and Equipment for Agility From Backyard to Competition


The dogs in this class should have at least a Novice level of experience in agility training. This course will concentrate on skills related to the agility trial environment.


At the least, the dog should be able to enjoy sequences of jumps and tunnels along with a modest amount of handling including front crosses, forward and lateral sends. This would be enough to get a great deal out of this class. It is NOT required that the dog be proficient on all the obstacles.


The handler will need to be able to use and transport at least 4 jumps plus some sort of fencing material including snow fence, a few ring gates or baby gates, or any homemade barrier material including fabric or tarp stretched between stakes or poles. Anything which will work in the novel environments you choose. The student should also have access to a regulation agility ring, indoor or outdoor, for at least a couple of visits in the last two weeks of class. This class is all about taking skills on the road.


While any Gold level student will be welcome to ask and get help with an individual obstacle or handling challenge, the focus of this course is to take skills which have already been taught and to bring them successfully to the trial arena. You will be able to use the games and challenges of this course with the obstacles you ave already trained and have access to.


Agility trials are very busy, very noisy, and very motion intensive. And the atmosphere is supportive and fun, but not very polite! So a dog taking this course will benefit greatly whether or not the goal is actually to compete in agility. You could use this course to help your dog work toward ring-readiness in general skills and attitude, and that would help you progress as a team in any other agility class as well.


Welcome to AG170!

Julie Daniels

Course Testimonials

Brand New Course August 2015

Please refer to the instructor bio page for sample testimonials from other courses they have taught.