Online Classes

Megan offers a variety of online learning materials.  

Z

Wide variety of topics

Z

Online learning that works around your schedule

Z

Coaching tailored to you and your dog!

AG365: Agility Handler Mechanics

FDSA Class Returning in 2022

Do you constantly get the same feedback from your instructor over and over again? Does learning new handling techniques feel like a game of twister while running full speed? Breaking new skills down into smaller pieces is NOT just for teaching our dogs new skills: it’s for YOU too! Agility handler mechanics are the micro-skills of handling. They are the key movements that come up again and again in every technique that we learn. When these movements are in automation, learning to put those movements together into techniques takes less time and less frustration for everyone involved. 

This class isolates the agility handler’s physical cues, training them without the dog. Class participants will develop an understanding of how dogs respond to our physical cues and how to use those cues more effectively on an agility course. By isolating common movements, we will develop fluency in your communication with the dog. The handler who takes this course will be better prepared to teach their dog the skills necessary to confidently follow their handling.

Students will hone their eye, feet, and upper body cues neutral to any handling system. You will learn about the timing of cues, the position of your cues, and how to reward your dog for following those cues. As the class progresses, students will learn how these isolated movements can be combined to form common handling techniques and how to walk courses more effectively to reduce errors when adding the dog to the equation. 

This class is appropriate for any level agility handler, including those brand-new to agility. Since we are working without dogs, proper agility equipment and field access are not required. 

Teaching Approach 

This class is skill-based for the human! That means that each handler moves at their own pace as we work through the material together to learn each key movement and then build handling techniques learn how to sequence without the dog. Lecture materials include wordy concepts, videos, videos with voice-over analysis, and images to explain the material. Feedback is given via text and some voice-over analysis, so that the student can see what’s happening in an exact moment in time. 
This is the first class in a series of three: AG365, AG400, AG375 
It is highly recommended to take this class at Gold or Silver if you are interested in a Gold or Silver spot in one of the following handling classes. 

All students will have access to a student run study group hosted on Facebook. Lynn Madden will be the Teaching Assistant for this class. Lynn has been a student of mine for several years and really knows her stuff. She will be an incredible asset to the current students this term. 

 

AG400: Smooth Moves: Adding The Dog to Your Agility Handler Mechanics

FDSA Class Returning in 2022

This class introduces handling techniques to your dogs, then proofs them and progresses them into short sequences. We will begin with the key skills Megan believes dogs need before sequencing should begin: commitment, keeping commitment, and following the handling. We will also focus on the handler’s ability to see commitment and provide consistent, proactive cues. Next, teams will be introduced to each new technique either on the flat or with one wing and then on one jump. In order to develop balanced focus between the obstacle and handler, students will learn optimal reinforcement strategies to reward the dog for correctly following your handling. You will also learn about using reinforcers to proof these behaviors by using either-or training, Megan’s favorite, to solidify your team’s skills. Going from one jump to sequencing should feel easy and doable, without frustration. This class will show you how that can be done!

This class is perfect for those who have completed Agility Handler Mechanics and are looking to continue their agility training, but also is suitable for any agility team looking to start their sequencing in a systematic way or proof their agility skills.


NOTE:  Gold Level Students need to have completed AG365 Agility Handler Mechanics at any level (Gold, Silver, Bronze) during the previous terms.  
If you did not participate in AG365 during the previous term and are interested in a Gold spot in Smooth Moves, please message me & we can discuss the suitability of this class for your team. I may request a video to assess prior to registration. 

This class is a blueprint to how I work from traditional foundation skills and build to sequencing. 

Teaching Approach

There will be concept lectures that can get pretty wordy with demonstration videos that contain voiceovers. The exercise lectures will be broken down into step by step pieces with written and voiceover instructions, normal speed and slow motion demonstrations. Lectures are released in one batch at the beginning of the week.

There is a natural progression to the skills and exercises that is consistent for every team, but everyone works at their own pace. Some modifications can be made for smaller spaces or less equipment, but minimum requirements are listed in prerequisites and supplies.

Feedback will either be typed with time-stamps or voice-over feedback so the student can see exactly what Megan sees when she gives her critique. If a student has a strong preference for one type of feedback (typed or video), Megan can accommodate!

I believe a solid understanding in how natural physical cues affect the dogs & some well-trained verbal cues sprinkled on top is really the perfect handling system. The well-trained verbals would be determined based on what each individual team needs. I add a verbal cue when my natural cues will not be enough on a consistent basis. I also choose the verbal cues based on the types of courses I plan to run. This class will focus most on the appropriate use of physical cues, but Megan is all about individualizing the coaching process, so you’ll be able to discuss the use of verbal cueing as well! 

 

AG375: Smoother Moves: Advancing Your Technique Training and Course Analysis

6-Week FDSA Class August 1 – September 11

Advanced handling techniques are often a combination of basic handling techniques and are built on the foundation of solid basics. This class will cover introducing advanced techniques and how to apply them to a variety of agility course challenges. In addition to adding new techniques to the handler’s toolbox, this class will expand on course walking strategies and course analysis. Students will work on building a handling strategy, testing it, and analyzing it so that they are better prepared for making decisions during the walkthrough in competition. Each week there will be a different theme to focus on that will enhance the handler’s knowledge and understanding of their dog’s perspective on the agility course.
This class is suitable for those teams that have a solid understanding of:

  • Commitment and Keeping Commitment
  • Basic Handling Techniques: front cross, rear cross, and blind cross

Smoother Moves will expand your handling toolbox and knowledge of course analysis. This class covers a lot of handling concepts so that each week, teams can focus on the tools that they need to be able to solve every course challenge.

I believe the perfect handling system is a solid understanding of how physical cues naturally affect the dogs plus some well-trained verbal cues sprinkled on top. The well-trained verbals are determined based on what each individual team needs. This class’s focus is built on the philosophy of handling from the dog’s perspective, with the understanding that each team is unique and will need different modifications as they progress. 

Teaching Approach

Lectures are released at the beginning of the week. There will be written and video- demonstrated instructions for each technique. Coursework will have demonstrations with voice-over analysis breaking down exactly what happened and why.

Feedback will include both written instructions and voice-over feedback on your videos.

Students are encouraged to have discussions with Megan and each other via the discussion forum and/or the FB study group about handling styles and how to individualize the communication system for each team.

AG195: Teeter Training: From Trick to Teeter

FDSA Class Returning in 2022

This class starts with a trick and ends with a teeter! Teeter training can begin pretty early in a dog’s agility career because it begins with a simple trick: backing up! From this rear end awareness exercise, we will introduce the 4-on behavior onto a wobble board or tippy board, name and proof the behavior, and then start the process of transferring that behavior to a low teeter. Each team will be on their path to a full-height teeter, complete with sequencing and handling skills. This goal of this method is to produce a dog that runs across the board to the end, weight shifts back, rides the board to the ground and waits in position for the handler’s verbal release cue. The class is suitable for dogs with no prior teeter experience, and also suitable for dogs wanting to retrain their teeter performance.

Teaching Approach:

Lectures are released in one chunk at the beginning of the week. Lectures include written instructions, diagrams, and short demonstration videos. Demonstration videos are of actual training sessions, so sometimes things don’t go according to the script. It is important for students to be able to take the lecture assignments, along with trouble shooting tips, and make adjustments in their training that their individual team needs, since every scenario cannot be covered in lecture or demo material. Megan is direct in her feedback. “Keep doing this. Change this. Give this a try.” This training process is very step-by-step and should be followed pretty closely by each team, only making slight adjustments as needed. Steps shouldn’t be skipped as they all serve a specific purpose in the program.

 

AG245: You've Been Framed: Running Aframe Training

6-week FDSA class October 1 – November 11, 2021

This class is for building a clear and confident running aframe performance. Regardless of your skill level, this class is for building a clear and confident running aframe performance. Regardless of your dog’s aframe experience, you will have the step-by-step process for teaching your dog how to adjust their strides and hit the contact-area consistently. Right from the start, you will add distractions and proofing layers to the behavior, ensuring that your dog can maintain their criteria no matter what the handler is doing.

Teaching Approach:

Lectures are released in one chunk at the beginning of the week. Lectures include written instructions, diagrams, and short demonstration videos. Demonstration videos are of actual training sessions, so sometimes things don’t go according to the script. It is important for students to be able to take the lecture assignments, along with trouble shooting tips, and make adjustments in their training that their individual team needs, since every scenario cannot be covered in lecture or demo material. Megan is direct in her feedback. “Keep doing this. Change this. Give this a try.” This training process is very step-by-step and should be followed pretty closely by each team, only making slight adjustments as needed. Steps shouldn’t be skipped as they all serve a specific purpose in the program.

AG270: Weave Pole Training: Not Your Average 2x2s

6-week FDSA class February 1 – March 14, 2022 

Over the last 20 years in the sport, Megan has trained quite a few dogs how to weave, in quite a number of ways! But recently, she’s been developing different ways of splitting skills and reinforcing the different behaviors required in weaving. All of this has led to this class: Not Your Average 2x2s!

This class begins at the very beginning of weave pole training: building desire for the correct behavior. As you progress through the phases, your dog will learn about all of the different entries, distance skills, and ignoring distractions. Then we will add poles and continue layering in different handler positions, motion, and reinforcers. Once your dog is weaving 4 poles, we will proof through common handling skills around weaves, and get you on the path to 12 poles!

This class is suitable for dogs that have no previous weave experience, or any dog that wants a do-over with their weave training. Dogs should be 15 months or older, since you will be weaving nearly every day during this class. Most of the demo videos will be of a dog that was brand new to weaving (Icelandic Sheepdog) and an 8year old dog rekindling her love for weaves (border collie).

Students will need access to 2x2s; at least 2 sets (4 poles) or stick in the ground poles (that you’ll have to move a bit through some phases). Access to more poles will be needed if you progress beyond 4 poles during the 6-week term.

Teaching Approach 

This is a skills class. Teams will follow the step by step assignments on a similar schedule. The later into the class we get, the more flexibility the student will have on what they focus on for their training session, but the steps are the same for all. Lectures are separated by each phase of training. Within each lecture, the steps of that training phase are broken down with written instructions, short demonstration videos (less than one minute), and pictures explaining the setup. 

About Synergy Dog Sports

Committed to providing a supportive learning environment for learners at both ends of the leash, Megan works with each team as individuals, bringing them to the next level no matter which path you choose to take with her: in-person classes, seminars, online classes, or 1-on-1 coaching.