End of Run Routines: Leashing Up & Exiting to Rewards

Sunday, Oct. 8

9:00AM - 10:40AM

Experience Level: All

Most dogs learn their end-of-run routine “on the job” at the competition. While this does work for many teams, it’s a slow process and odds are, you won’t see all the benefits a trained end-of-run routine can provide. This working session is for you if:

– Your dog gets faster toward the end of the run
– Your dog gets confused if the middle of the course is near the exit gate
– Your dog avoids getting their leash on at the end
– Your dog watches/tries to visit the next dog on the line
– Your dog struggles to perform unless rewards are visible

In this session, teams will begin building a solid end-of-run routine that rewards each individual dog for their effort on the agility course, taking into account what kind of energy they should have at the end of the run and what reinforcer they’d enjoy swapping to after work.

Participants will learn how to attach that to the coursework itself in order to build speed throughout the entire course and how to swap from the intensity of work to the less intense but just as enjoyable reward contingency.

Working teams should be comfortable taking their dog’s leash off and have a few behaviors/obstacles that can be completed without reinforcement present. Behaviors can be tricks and don’t necessarily have to be obstacles.

Presenter Bio

Megan Foster

Megan Foster (she/her) has been training in agility for nearly her entire life. With nearly 25 years of experience, She has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of dogs within a large variety of breeds.

She began her agility journey with an American Eskimo and a Westie, both loaner dogs from people in our local training club. In 1999, She began competing with her first Shetland Sheepdog, Buddy. While running him, she knew that agility was what she was meant to do.

In 2003, Ty, another Sheltie, became a part of her life and her agility career took off like a rocket. He was 3 years old and not completely sure of himself, but together, they blossomed into an incredible team, on and off the course! In 2005, She attended her first National event and took fifth place in the $10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase Finals with Ty. That same year, she became a USDAA Judge, as a 13-year-old Junior Handler, the youngest ever.

Since then, she has competed at the Cynosport World Games twelve times, with eight different dogs. She has also attended the AKC Nationals three times with her border collie, Smack. Smack and Megan also attended the International Team Tryouts three times, earning a spot on the European Open team in 2015, representing Team USA in Germany that year.

She has also had her share of disappointments when it comes to sports prospects. Her second border collie, Shock, was unable to compete to the levels that she had dreamt of due to noise sensitivity and other health concerns that arose late in life. Her Parson Russel Terrier, Shrek, is one of the most talented dogs that she has ever gotten to train, and yet, he very clearly told her that competing was not for him. It is her experience with all of her dogs that has molded her into the trainer she is today. Her current up-and-coming superstar, Sprint, a border collie, is a direct representation of all that she has learned and that she continues to learn about living and competing with these amazing creatures.

She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her partner and their five dogs: Skittles, Shock, Skrik, Shrek, and Sprint. She coaches dog agility online full-time at the FxAgility School, travels to present seminars, and coaches other agility professionals on their training programs and business ambitions. It is her goal as an educator to guide other dog sports enthusiasts on their path to excellence. Regardless of experience levels, breed choice, goals, and lifestyle, it is her extreme privilege to watch teams build a sustainable version of agility for their team.