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Stressed for Success 

Do you ever say “My dog always gets his contacts in training”  “The only place my dog won’t do weave poles is at a trial.”

Do you keep practicing a specific obstacle over and over because your dog won’t do it at trial but nothing changes?

We want to help you understand the reason behind the roadblock and put a plan together so you can continue your agility journey.

Our dogs can stress up (high) or stress down (low), especially in agility environments. For many handlers, no matter how in tune we think we are with our four-legged best friends, we often miss the signs. We excuse their stopping to sniff for too much time training scent work or their zoomies for not enough exercise. In actuality, these are two very obvious displays of stress, sniffing is stressing down and zoomies are your dog stressing up.

In this seminar, we want to help you recognize the signs your dog displays of stress and create a plan to combat it. We can't fix what we first don't fully understand. If our dogs stress at just the weave poles in trials, we may think that going to every weave pole seminar and practicing them extra in our regular weekly classes will help, but if we do not address the underlining stress, we may get stuck in a pattern, where the dog weaves fine in practice but cannot in a trial. Or worse, find that while the weave pole stress dissipated, we now seem to have table or seesaw refusal issues. These could all be stemming from the unresolved stress that pops up in other places. Stress can infect our agility journey much like the contagiousness of a disease. If we do not find it and prevent it, our journey will be plagued.  

Common Areas Stress Appears

From outside of the gate to inside, stress can appear almost anywhere. The crate to the gate, your startline, weaves, table approach or anywhere our dogs get emotionally overloaded. 

Visiting ring crew or the judge, zooming around the ring as if they have never seen you or an agility course before. Sniffing like you dropped your treat bag all over the ring, breaking their startline stay when you know they have a solid wait cue. These are some of the common areas where stress appears for our dogs.

Seminar Syllabus 

Saturday 1/28/2023

  • Basic Dog language

  • Calming signals

  • Non obstacles obstacles (startlines, crate to gate)

  • Obstacle obstacles (everything but weaves)

  • Video review

  • Solutions

  • Put it into practice

Sunday 1/29/2023

  • Review the signs of stress

  • How stress moves if you don't learn to prevent it

  • Investing in your dog

  • Why won't they weave

  • Video review

  • Solutions

  • Put into practice

Stressless Solutions 

By learning what and how our dog stresses, this seminar will teach your team creative and fun ways to not just avoid stress but to rise above it. The most important thing in any agility team's journey is that each participant is having fun. Stress is not fun for anyone but that doesn't mean the solutions to rise above it, move around it or simply understand it cannot be fun. We will address the multitudes of ways you can add stress avoidance to your trial days but also how you can add it into your training plan to build the happiest canine team so you can each perform at your best.

Sign Up

We are welcoming six working teams to come each or both days with their dogs. The seminar will initially begin by teaching the signs and symptoms of stress and then break out to recognize and work with each of the six participating working teams to address specific stress issues. Working teams must be competing or have competed in trial environment.   

Ten auditing spots are open for interested people each day but we ask that your canine partner remains at home. Any level is welcomed and you may attend one or both days.  

We encourage anyone, auditing or working teams to submit videos. We will use these videos to show signs of stress, disconnects, and success. Videos will serve as visual aids when often we know that the behavior we are trying to overcome, often cannot be replicated in a training environment. 


Click on the level of participation and days you would like to attend from the 4 options below. You may choose to work one day and audit the next, and vice versa or your team may take a working spot each day. The video submission link is below the 4 registration links.  

The seminar will run 9 am until 3 pm with a lunch break in between, water and snacks will be provided.

The cost is $125 each day for working spots and $50 for audit spots. 

About the Presenters

Noreen Bennett 

Has been involved in dog training and dog shows since she was 5 years old. Her parents used to show in Obedience in the 1950’s with their Collies and Golden Retrievers.

She started in Obedience and now competes in Conformation, Obedience, Agility, Herding and Tracking. As a fellow agility enthusiast, she currently owns three collies, Sequel, Chapter and Copyright. She has put multiple agility titles on 7 of her dogs. Each dog has taken her on a different journey and enriched her understanding of how dogs learn.


Noreen has been a Trial Secretary since 1997 and is the trial secretary for the largest AKC Agility trials in the country.

Not only is her experience with her own dogs extensive, but she has also had the unique front-row perspective of watching agility exhibitor teams run in a trial environment for over 25 years.  

Cara Armour, KPA-CTP

Cara has been working with dogs professionally since she and her husband started their dog-walking business in 2003. There has always been a dog in Cara's household and the requirement to take it to classes always fell on her, which she loved.  


Using money given to her at her college graduation to start a retirement account, Cara made a better investment and bought herself a Boxer puppy. That puppy and a couple to follow were riddled with genetic defects and she vowed to fix the breed with which she had fallen so in love. She dove headfirst into the world of conformation and breeding, which when she met just the right friend at the right time, lead her into agility, scent work, barn hunt, rally and the newest addition tracking. 

Having a great amount of luck with her novice A agility Boxer the next two dogs that she bred produced their own challenges. She struggled through stress with her first dog and continued with her now other three, while still achieving 20 agility championships. 

Her curious nature as to "why do my dogs do that" lead Cara to attend the Karen Pryor Academy certified dog training partner program under the world-renowned dog training expert Emma Parsons. 

Her love of teaching, dog behavior and desire to help any dog team lead Cara to concentrate her agility training and classes on helping other teams enjoy their journey.  

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