I missed the last two dog blog action days, so I decided to prepare ahead for this one. For me, these are some of the most important things I look for in a good coach:
1. A good eye. In order to help you with the rough spots, your instructor/coach has to be able to see what is going on with both you and your dog. Are you mis-handling? Are you asking for something the dog can't yet do? Was your timing off? Is something wrong with your dog today?
2. Flexibility. Can your instructor suggest alternate ways of handling that will work for you and your dog, or does she only know one way. Is she okay with you working differently than the rest of her students. For example: A fast handler running a fast little sheltie may prefer to run with her dog using distance only as needed. A person who is not fleet of foot running a fast BC will require a good distance foundation so that she can get to the critical handling points on a course.
3. Possesses people skills. An agility instructor/coach's is job is to teach people, not train dogs. Unfortunately, just because someone can train and run their dogs very well, doesn't automatically make them great teachers.