Agility Blog Action Day: What Makes a Good Instructor?

by Melissa R. on August 30, 2012

What makes a good agility instructor?

What makes a good agility instructor?

It is another Agility Blog Action Day! Thanks to the great group of bloggers who contribute to this effort. It is wonderful to have so many resources to pull from all on the same topic. Visit all the other blogs here.

Today’s topic is: What makes a good instructor or coach? Now, having only ever really had a couple instructors, I don’t have much to compare to – BUT, I do believe my instructors are some of the best, and I’ll outline why below.

  1. Extremely talented agility competitors. This I think is quite important: if you aren’t actively doing it, I don’t think they can train you properly for it.
  2. They have been training dogs of all types, sizes, and ages for all sorts of things for years: agility, obedience, herding, flyball – you name it. Well-rounded and experience counts for a lot.
  3. They are not afraid to criticize. So important! Too often, once you get up there in training, there isn’t a TON you don’t do well, but they are always striving to have us be the BEST. And criticism is vital.
  4. Courses in class are always INSANELY DIFFICULT. Why this is good is something I figured out when we finally went to our first competition – oh so nervous! And then… I saw the course and was dumbfounded. I didn’t even realize courses could be THIS EASY. Then I realized it – we were training for advanced level in class. So when we got to start competing, it was a breeze.
  5. Attitude! You gotta have the right attitude. I know I can always look to my instructor for a smile or encouragement, and she knows above all it is all about HAVING FUN. Sure, we want to win, and do well – but if you aren’t having fun… well, look elsewhere.

These are just a few of what I find makes a quality instructor for agility. I’m looking forward to reading all the other posts!

About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the and websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

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Agility Blog Action Day: What Makes a Good Instructor? | 4toddrichman
September 21, 2012 at 9:09 pm

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Mufaasa's Mum September 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

Agree on everything! Especially on point 2 and 3. 1 I mostly agree, though there are a lot of competitors out there that have had to step back from the ring due to age or injury, but still have a wealth of experience to draw on (I believe Susan Salo doesn’t compete much if at all anymore, though I could be wrong on that, but I’m pretty sure people are still going to take her advice when it comes to jumping).

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