Ebook: Flatwork - Foundation for Agility

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Barb Levenson
Publication Year:
Reprinted 2018
Page Count:
Dogwise Publishing
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Flatwork: Foundation for Agility isn’t about the obstacles; it’s about what happens between the obstacles. Your dog spends more time between the obstacles running with you on the flat than he does performing the obstacles. It’s on the flat, after all, that you set up your dog’s approach to the next obstacle. It’s on the flat where you as handler do most of your job guiding the dog. Performing flatwork successfully requires excellent communication between dog and handler. 

Flatwork: Foundation for Agility is also about developing a communication system with your dog as you teach him each agility maneuver without the distraction of obstacles. As you follow this training program, you will develop a set of cues and movements that indicate specific behaviors to the dog, and you will become aware of exactly what your body is really “saying” to your dog. 

Flatwork is your agility foundation, teaching you how to handle and how to make all your body language clear, consistent, coherent, and timely while also teaching your dog how to take direction and stay with you on course. 

What reviewers are saying... 

“Flatwork: Foundation for Agility does a lot in 78 pages. Levenson provides detailed exercises for training handling “on the flat” (i.e., without obstacles) including straight-line heeling, circle work, front and rear crosses, and collection and extension of stride. A real bonus of this book is the author clearly understands clicker training and how to break very complex behaviors into simple steps. The writing is clear and easy to follow and the photos that accompany the instructions are very clear. Unfortunately, some of them inadvertently depict the rather common mistake of presenting two hands at the same time to the dog. My only other quibble with this book is the method used to teach rear crosses. Many handlers have found this to cause “flick-aways,” where dogs misread that flipping arm signal at other times, shooting off to take an obstacle unintended by the handler. My favorite chapter was the third, “Teaching Movement of the Hindquarters,” which describes why teaching rear-end awareness can increase a dog’s response to a handler’s body cues and its ability to physically position its body in relationship to the handler. This book is definitely going on my recommended reading list for my own agility students!” Terry Long 


Barb Levenson opened her own training school in 1991. She was an early adopter of positive reinforcement methods for her puppy, basic obedience, and Canine Good Citizen classes and, shortly after, competition obedience classes. Barb then added the sport of agility to her school in 2000. Barb, developed her “on the flat” handling skills method and has successfully competed with 11 dogs and has titles in obedience (Canadian and American), agility, herding, rally and tricks. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA.