November 2010 Training Camp

Just a quick email to say that this weekend I had my first comp after attending your training session run by Becky. I felt much more confident about how to handle the course clearly and we ended up winning Grade 2 Agility, coming 3rd in G1-2 combined Agility (Kiri knocked a pole but her time was the fastest) and winning Grade 2 Jumping. Just want to say thanks and I have no doubt that our success was down to the training session we did with you.

Ami & Kiri

Having begun agility training with Anthony around a year ago and found it a lot of fun, I was thoroughly surprised when Wout, my 13-year-old, suddenly asked me if he could “have a go”. Seeing an opportunity to encourage an activity that was not focused on a computer screen, I quickly arranged a session for him with Anthony.

The day of the lesson was warm and bright; Wout, who has Asperger Syndrome, seemed keen and happy to be trying out this new experience. So having arrived, I took a step backward and let Anthony guide the session. His calm manner and clear directions put Wout instantly at ease. Very soon, Wout was guiding the dog round the course Anthony had set him. It was a joy to watch boy and dog having so much fun together. I was astonished at just how quickly Wout grasped the instructions he was given and put them into practice, taking Anthony?s patient corrections completely in his stride.

Here’s what Wout has to say:
“I wrote this article because I felt to share my enjoyment of agility and Anthony’s lessons. It is fun running the dog round the course, especially since the dog likes it too. Anthony is a good trainer because he is understanding, patient and one of the best and an enjoyment to be taught by. I like learning and achieving new things, it opens new ways for the dog and me to interact and learn. Going round an actual course is exciting and interesting. I like it because of the adrenaline and watching me and my dog reach new heights.”

We have now arranged regular sessions for Wout, fitting in around his school schedule. He really can’t wait for each session to come around. It is lovely to see him so committed and keen to learn. Anthony’s style of instruction is perfectly suited to Wout’s style of learning and I am looking forward to seeing both Wout and the dog “reach new heights”!

Karen Vermeersch

Agility Foundation Training with Anthony Clarke – a review

Anthony’s passion is infectious.

Yes, I’ve had a passion for agility for over 10 years, but I was looking for a trainer who could teach me and my 10 month old youngster passionately. I wanted them to be interested in my dog, I wanted them to explain why, to explain clearly, I wanted them to inspire me, to praise me, to tell me when things were going well or badly.

Most of all I wanted to have fun with my dog whilst making progress towards competing, competitively, in the ring next season.

So I booked a session of Obedience for Agility, which then progressed to Foundation Agility with Anthony Clarke.

I found all the things I wanted and more.

From the beginning Anthony was sensitive towards my concerns that my young, large breed dog should only be working on the ground. But work on the ground we did!!!! The circles and semi-circles we ran and ran (and ran!) set an excellent foundation for what was coming next. My dog learnt that accurately following my body movements was rewarding and fun as Anthony used his motivational and toy-based methods.

Running the circles moved smoothly into running between wings and again, lots of play and driving forward towards the toy has resulted in my dog being very motivated to look ahead. Anthony also stressed the value of early ?wing wrapping? and we worked hard on sending my dog around a single wing from both sides and at an increasing distance. All this was rewarded with lots of play and tugging for my dog and it was plain for me to see how the building blocks were being put in place for a future in agility.

Since bringing my puppy home at 8 weeks old, I had been thinking about which contact method I was going to use this time. I readily listened to everyone’s ideas and did a lot of my own research into the current methods. Anthony explained why he thought nose-touching / targeting would be successful and he has skilfully been guiding us through the stages involved. Not until each stage is absolutely secure, have we moved onto the next one. As a result, I feel certain that my dog and I have a 100% understanding of what is expected of us. Whether I can deliver in the ring waits to be seen!!!

Throughout the Foundation Agility training with Anthony I have been given plenty of clearly explained exercises to work on at home and we noticeably, step by very clear step, moved forward.

During the early stages of my lessons at AC Agility, I began to realise that the consistency and clarity of Anthony’s methods, alongside his energy and desire to share his knowledge, was addictive!!

My addiction is costing me a lot of money each month! If ever there was an advert for AC Agility, it must be the 4 hour round trip I make each week. Oh, and not forgetting my motivated, forward driven, smooth running, tight turning dog! Thanks Anthony!

Melanie Engelbrecht

Anthony Clarke Training Camp 2009

After reading an article in last year ‘Agility Voice’ about an Anthony Clarke’ training camp I promptly contacted Anthony to see if he was going to do something again this year. Anyway the reply came saying that he was going to hold another at Southrop, nr Cirencester, this Autumn.

I found the venue very easy to find located on a farm with Anthony’s agility field in a separate fenced off area with parking and camping slots with 2 enormous fields for dog exercise.

There were 2 groups of people of between 7/8 people in each group with one group having the early 9am morning and then the early 1.45pm afternoon slots. There was half an hour break in between the two groups which worked quite well especially as some people had dogs in both groups.

The first sessions started with a jump sequence ending with a tunnel illustrating the front cross move. Initially Anthony showed us the route he wanted us to take and then just observed us individually. Once we had all had ago Anthony then showed us not only the correct way to handle a front cross but also the all important handler position. He explained front cross theory and why this was the best move to do in certain situations. After we all tried out the move Anthony further broke the handling down into even smaller detail so we could all see where we had gone wrong. After this I can only say that everyone handling seemed to flow so much the better and the response from the dogs was so different.

The second sequence was a slightly different route but included both a rear & a front cross handling move. Again everyone was initially encouraged to have ago before Anthony gathered us into a group for more step by step handling. We further explored handler’s position and how imperative it is to get to the next jump giving the dog vital information to which way to go next. During the rear cross we looked at the handler’s feet creating a direct line so again the dog knew where to go. Speed out of the rear cross and when to run was also discussed.

After all that everyone broke for lunch phew!

The afternoon session consisted of jumps leading into an out stretched tunnel with a trap jump straight ahead. Yes most of the dogs fell for the trap and felt rather pleased with themselves. Anthony explained how to slow your dog down before he/she entered the tunnel and also to give continuous commands, whilst in the tunnel, enabling the dog to take the right line and saving crucial seconds. As my young dog hadn’t seen situations like this Anthony showed me a training move to make coming back to me more rewarding.

The sequence was run in reverse and included a wing wrap, pull though onto another jump. I just felt that this might be rather disastrous for my young dog and I was right seeing him dashing off to do an incorrect jump. Again Anthony showed me a handling move around the wing which involved hand toy swapping making the handlers hands more meaningful. He also showed us a new hand signal which told the dog to slow down and I must say this seemed to work so well for my young dog.

So that was just the Saturday and we all went away in eager anticipation of what would happen the next day.

Although the weather was gloomy our spirits were high and everyone was looking forward to today’s events. We started with another front cross which led onto a wing wrap and then onto the ‘A’ frame. Anthony went into great discussions about correct behaviours on the contact equipment and how the dog should know, when it see a certain piece of equipment, instantly what to do. We also looked at speed through motivation by running one dog after another which really seemed to buzz the dogs up and providing that all important show environment. (Yes you know those places where everything goes wrong!) These motivational games were further extended on the weaves so that the dogs are thinking subconsciously that these are the fun place to be.

The last final session was walking a course which I think most of us initially though we couldn’t do. It included several traps, crossing behind the ‘A’ frame, a tunnel trap, 2 wing wraps and a very awkward weave entry. The course was broken down into 4 sections with the correct handling moves shown on the difficult bits. I think after running this our confidence grew and illustrated to me that agility is so much about handling.

So we reluctantly came to the end of the day with everyone feeling all ‘fired up’ and couldn’t wait to try out our new gained knowledge. I can only say that for me it greatly improved my handling skills, knowledge and understanding. After this weekend I feel now that myself and my young dog are edging further towards being a team.

Heather Donnelly