Thoughts on “Errors” in Agility

by | Oct 16, 2019 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

  1. Dogs are not answering wrong for any other reason than the fact that they thought they were answering correctly. The human teammate is the one determining right/wrong. Their reactions following an error are not because they “know” they made a mistake – it is a reaction to the feedback that you gave them in that moment.
  2. Errors caused by incorrect handling cues should be  genuinely rewarded. If you know you caused a mistake, but your dog followed your handling cues perfectly, doesn't that deserve to be rewarded in the same was it would be had the handler also gotten it right?
  3. If the dog truly knows the answer, they won't make the same mistake twice. Give them another chance before making the question easier.
  4. Focus on what went right. Dog flies through the weave poles but skips one in the middle. Reward the dog for the 99% that was correct, and forget about the 1% that was wrong. It'll be better in the long run.
  5. We should be prepared for what happens in competition AND we should compare the dog for how we will respond in competition. Make sure you have a plan for responding to errors when food/toys ARE and ARE NOT present/immediately available.


Join my upcoming FDSA Workshop on “How to Handle Errors” in Agility!
Register here.



Megan Foster


I have been training in agility nearly my entire life. With seventeen years of experience, I have had the opportunities to work with hundreds of dogs within a large variety of breeds.

I began my agility journey with an American Eskimo and a Westie. In 1999, I began competing with my first Shetland Sheepdog, Buddy. Buddy’s lesson to me was about connection and bond. While running him, I knew that agility was what I was meant to do.