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  1. I have been having some interesting conversations about my previous blog - which has highlighted that I may not have been very clear! So sorry for any confusion and let me clarify.

    I believe that people need to be sure that a trainer is for them - that the trainer is going to be effective and value for money. I do believe that if trainers are teaching as their business and proposing to train high grades then they need to be competing at such a level so as to be aware of the current trends and skills required. However that does not mean that lower grade handlers are not good trainers. Some are very good indeed. But as a customer I would want to know WHY they aren't competing at high levels - some choose not to which is fine! If a trainer has been teaching along time then that can mean they have lots of experience and so are very good - or it may mean they are old fashioned! Some top handlers have no people skills and are down right rude - be sure thats what you want from a trainer before enrolling!

    On a club level I am also concerned by the trainers skills. Many clubs operate on the good will of those willing to train - that doesn't mean they are any good at the job! The best clubs have basic systems that all trainers use so that handlers get consistency. These clubs will ususally organise training for trainers to help them develop their skills, wether that be to improve their agilit knowledge or their teaching skills! These clubs go from strength to strength, whereas others just potter along with no real improvement in their members. 

    So i guess by fine print I mean find out as much as you can about a trainer - and be sure they are for you. Everyone is unique so has different skill sets and you need to match this to your requirements. As i said previuosley don't be fooled by flashy websites and one off wins they have had - look at their longterm achievements and those of their members - are they all improving and having fun in a way that inspires you?

    I have no idea if i have explained that any better!! I could blame baby brain :-) But if i am honest it is because i feel passionately about how many people i see who are being in my opinion ripped off as they are having regular lessons and not improving, because their trainer just isn't up to the job.

    As for all of us trainers ..... there will always be clients who no matter how many times we explain things, in lots of ways, they still don't get it.... and that is a whole new blog!!!! :-)



  2. People are all very different. People choose to live by different morals / ethics. People choose to run business' differently. People choose to train and hanlde their dogs differently in agility. One way of life / agility does not fit all. Yet i suspect if you ask most agility handlers what they want most as far as agility is concerned they would answer the same - to have fun with their dogs first and foremost, and then to be successful.

    Yet when it comes to training people just opt for any old club or trainer that is near to them and don't read the the small print. A friend of SWAT recently wrote a very good blog about training days and guest trainers, which i agree with. It is important not to try lots of different methods as dogs get confused - and they will slow down and stop having fun. However I do think that people are far too trusting of their trainers especially when they start out. I have written blogs before about what i believe it takes to be a good agility instructor and I want to add to my thoughts.

    When choosing an instructor or club do you read the small print? What qualifications do they have? But also what level are they competing at? They may hold all sorts of behavioural and obedience qualifications but you are after agility lessons. Does your prospective trainer compete at G6 &7? Have they been doing so for a while? Have they run different types of dogs - high drive and less motivated? Is the club successful ? Are members getting to G7, old and young handlers? have you read the small print???!!

    Some G3 handlers are teaching agility - and charging more than other more successful clubs! They may look  professional - fancy websites, vans etc but what value for money are you actually getting? Ask around - talk to club members. View lessons - this should be actively encouraged. If you have a specific problem does the trainer have a number of solutions to try?

    Agility can take up alot of our time and money - please use it wisely and don't be ripped off. xx