Tips on How to Complete an Agility Course Successfully

Leading OneMind Dogs coach Jaakko Suoknuuti believes that agility is an art form, composed of humans and dogs. One of the most important instruments for a successful outcome is to give the dog information as early as possible. 

Our goal is to see smooth agility performances ultimately without words - which can even be practised with a deaf dog. OneMind Dogs wants to offer you tips on how to achieve this magical connection and successfully complete agility courses. 

Dog in the Heart

A dog is not a machine – it is man’s best friend. We never forget this and love to spend time with our dogs and practice agility with them; the dog itself is at the heart of OneMind Dogs.

Our ultimate goal is to improve dog training techniques towards a dog-friendly attitude with successful results, and, through this, improve the wellbeing of dogs around the world. Competition results are not the drive for us; our love of dogs is our motivation and the positive changes when a handler understands their dog on a deeper level is the biggest prize of all.

Dogs themselves have taught us to improve our training techniques. Why don’t you try listening to and understanding your dog through our method?

Handle Lines, Not Obstacles

OneMind Dogs is not an obstacle-driven method. On the contrary, the handler concentrates on handling the dog on running lines, not from one obstacle to another. This facilitates the dog’s movement in the agility course as they anticipate what’s coming next!

The handling goal is that the dog has the right obstacle in sight as early as possible. Another important element to support the dog’s movement in the course is to give information to the dog as early as possible; this allows the dog to manage each obstacle at the correct speed. Our method is based on positive reinforcement and we encourage dogs to practice agility independently by moving in the course smoothly - without holding them back or giving negative feedback. Dogs are allowed to approach the obstacle they see in front and it's the handler’s job to direct them to see the right obstacle in front of them! In fact, when a dog completes a wrong obstacle, we reward the dog with delicious prizes – they don’t make mistakes, we humans make mistakes.

The dog never reads our non-verbal signals incorrectly. Handlers just don’t communicate clearly enough. We don’t punish dogs for our mistakes.

Critical Points

Each agility course includes few critical points, which the handler has to reach in time to negotiate the next sequence successfully for the dog. When the handler doesn’t reach the critical point early enough, in many cases the dog can’t finish the course smoothly. Different handling techniques are tools that help the handlers to be on those points on time, even when they are not the fastest runners. The faster your dog is compared to you, the greater advantage you get from mastering all our different techniques.

For All Dog Sizes, Shapes and Ages

We care about all dogs, no matter which size, shape or age. All our techniques can be applied from Chihuahuas to Great Danes, and from puppies to elderly dogs. Ultimately OneMind Dogs is a life philosophy to better understand our dog and connect with it on a deeper level. We also seek to help dog owners enjoy their dog more by spending time with the dog, such as when practicing agility.

No Limits!

The overarching philosophy of OneMind Dogs is that we are constantly evolving; we learn from our dogs and trainees at all times. We do not want to bind ourselves with rules and we seek to think ‘out of the box’. Our instructors travel around the world to train different agility handlers, which helps us to understand different dog training cultures and how we can support them in improving training techniques and dog wellbeing. Soon after the OneMind Dogs method principals were created Jaakko Suoknuuti became the lead innovator of the OneMind Dogs method. He has constant drive and passion to analyze how we can improve existing handling techniques or invent new ones, to even better serve the world of dogs.


Get the 10 Commandments of Agility eBook

Our mission is to give a happy life to dogs by helping people become amazing dog owners. We are passionate about increasing the mutual understanding between the dog and the owner, making a life together more enjoyable for both.