Steve's Seminars

I really enjoy teaching and coaching other agility enthusiasts! I think of the time spent with each team in a seminar as a number of “mini private lessons” where the seminar topic gives us an area for our focus. My goal is to help each team based on where they are at in their journey.

I prefer to tailor my seminars to meet the needs of each club/group. But, to give you some ideas, here are descriptions of some seminars I’ve taught recently.

Below each topic description I’ve included a couple of the kind comments made by prior seminar attendees. Here is a page showing more comments.

Please email me if you are interested in hosting a seminar in your area:

Seminar Topics

  • Backyard Mastery
  • Course? What Course?
  • Can You Handle It?
  • Confident, Composed Crosses!
  • Mastering Serpentine and Pinwheel Sequences
  • International Foundation Skills in Action

Backyard Mastery

I’ve given this seminar as a hands-on seminar or as a two hour interactive demonstration.

It doesn’t take a lot of space or obstacles to perfect your handling! In this seminar Steve will show you how to use just four jumps and how to create sequences through them to give your handling skills a real workout! You’ll learn his “Backyard Mastery Approach” that will have you combining handling “moves” in ways you’ve never tried before. With practice, your confidence, and your handling skills will greatly improve; allowing you to tackle any course.

Course? What Course?

Have trouble remembering courses or your handling on course? Learn how to apply Steve’s PAWS method to help you “lock in” the course and your handling. In this hands on seminar Steve steps you through PAWS as you apply it to actual courses. He takes you from reading the course map, through analyzing and walking the course, and all the way to the start line.

In this seminar you’ll learn and practice each step of PAWS and then run through the course to see how it helps. Several jumpers style courses of different lengths will be worked through and run to help students practice and apply the techniques.

Can You Handle It?

Handling for the Competition Agility Team

This seminar is aimed at Advanced and Masters agility teams looking to improve their handling on course. Steve will help you see handling alternatives and help you choose ones appropriate for your team. Teams will run courses and get detailed feedback on improving their execution, skills, and foundation. Steve encourages and challenges handlers to step out of their comfort zone to find clearer and faster handling for their dogs.

In order to focus on handling and improving handler execution, all dogs must be proficient on all equipment; no remedial equipment training will be covered.

This is one of my most popular seminars! I setup several more challenging than Excellent/Masters level Standard, Jumpers, or Hybrid courses. I give a brief introduction on how I tackle handling/analysis. Then each handler walks the course and each team gives the course a trial run. Then we break it into sections, discussing and handling each section. Then we repeat with additional sequences with different challenges.

I also give a Novice/Intermediate version of this seminar. In that seminar I only use jumps and tunnels so we can focus entirely on handling without worrying about contact or weave performance.

Advanced/Masters Seminar Feedback

What I love about Steve's Seminars is Steve's way of making me think about how to run a course effectively. Challenging me to try running it differently, out of my comfort zone. Helping me to identify my weak areas so I can work on them....And when the day is done it gives me some hope that I can improve my skills so Kimi and I can be a more effective Agility team. I can't wait for the next seminar.

Kevin & Kimi

This was a really helpful seminar for me. Steve stresses letting your dog know which direction he is going before take off for a jump. He also challenges us to be ahead of our dog so that we have more handling options. This seminar was time well spent.


Fabulous seminar. Steve gave equal attention to everyone, working and adapting to individual training strategies and dogs.

Kristen & Duncan

Novice Seminar Feedback

I highly recommend this seminar. Fun yet challenging. Detailed corrections for handlers of all levels. Steve creates a great learning environment where handlers can try their best and not be afraid of making mistakes. As an anxious newby to the sport of agility, Steve taught me how to be accurate in my handling while being relaxed and having fun with my dog, which is what it is all about. Thanks Steve!

Denise Nakaji

Steve, We had a great time at the mini-seminar at Agility at the Farm in June. I appreciated you taking the time to work through some challenges with me and my young dog. All the teams received equal attention from you and you kept everyone interested and enthusiastic. Can't wait to train with you again!!

Dawn & Tula

Confident, Composed Crosses!

Front, Blind, and Rear Crosses. You know you need them. You know you want to do them better! These handling maneuvers are the building blocks for fast, efficient, and smooth handling.

This seminar is for you if you can do them but:

  • You can't always put them in the right place
  • Your dog sometimes spins the wrong way or pulls off the jump
  • You're not comfortable performing one or more of them
  • You ever say "I can't" when you know you could

In this seminar for intermediate level teams and above Steve helps you:

  • Learn where to place them
  • Choose between them
  • Clean up your execution
  • Understand and use your cues

A mix of discussion and lots of hands on work doing crosses and helping handlers get comfortable in choosing, locating and executing their crosses.

Confident Composed Crosses Seminar Feedback

At first I thought we may be in way over our heads as total agility newbies, but Steve's gentle, intuitive style put both Lila and me at ease as he guided us through many front and rear crosses. Watching him work with each of the other teams was also so informative. We left the "Confident, Composed Crosses" seminar with much to work on and the confidence to continue this amazing sport. Thank you, Steve!

Linda & Lila

Mastering Serpentine and Pinwheel Sequences

aka “Crushing AKC Courses” 🤣

This seminar addresses key handling skills needed by agility teams of all skill levels. You’ll learn multiple handling techniques for each and learn to apply appropriate handling cues to help you and your dog quickly and smoothly execute these sequences.

Pin Wheels turn dogs through three or four jumps (or other obstacles!). So often handlers get in the “pocket” and just turn slowly through the sequence, which can be demotivating for their dogs. You’ll handle them in multiple ways that speed up your dog’s performance and keep yourself moving.

There are many ways to handle Serpentines. We’ll cover the “standard” ways and then practice alternatives that can put you ahead of your dog and set your dog up for the next sequence of obstacles.

You’ll work on these skills as part of longer sequences to put all these skills to the test in challenging and fun combinations.

Seminar Feedback

Steve's combination of observation, knowledge and teaching skills, along with his good natured and non-judgmental encouragement to try new skills made for an amazing weekend seminar. Handling maneuvers that were outside my comfort zone suddenly became skills that I could surprisingly perform and will continue to practice and perfect. I would definitely recommend his seminar.

Maggie D.

Steve teaches handlers and dogs with great respect and kindness regardless of skill level. This is not always true of teachers - but it is of great teachers.

Jane and Quinn

I was completely satisfied with the Agility Nerd's seminar. Steve presented concepts in a way that made it easy to understand. He worked with each team of handler/dog so that their individual needs were addressed. I learned more in one weekend than I have in one year of training. I was at ease with his humorous, laid back style which allowed me to learn in a relaxed state. I felt like he sincerely wanted me to learn the skills I need to successfully navigate my dog around an agility course while having fun.

Beth McKay and Mocha

International Foundation Skills in Action

International handling challenges are appearing in UKI, USDAA, and in AKC Premier courses. Excellent and Masters level teams need to be ready for them.

Learn how to conquer these challenges by applying the handling techniques your team already possesses. You don’t need special skills; just the clear and crisp application of cues and crosses already in your toolbox.

In this seminar Steve helps teams work on the essential challenges of International Courses by honing skills and applying them on International style courses.

  • Multiple techniques for handling back side jumps
  • Challenging jump wraps
  • Threadle wraps and slices
  • Moving past off course obstacles
  • Layering obstacles
  • Sending to obstacles

This seminar is geared toward dog and handler teams competing in at least Open/Advanced levels and no remedial contact/weave training will be covered.

The focus on technical detail that is the trademark of the Agility Nerd blog was also very much apparent in Steve's International Flair seminar. The content was well organized and presented. The course designs were interesting and nicely supported the concepts being taught. Steve's good humor and patience made learning tricky concepts fun, and Steve has a talent for well-timed, perceptive feedback that helped me pick up the lesson faster. If you have a chance to attend one of his seminars, do it!>

Barb S

Steve's Bio

For folks putting together seminar flyers here’s my bio.

Steve Schwarz has been training and competing in agility and flyball since 1997. Steve brings an analytical approach from his engineering background to the study and training of agility. He focuses on helping handlers improve their communication with their dogs in a positive and light hearted manner.

In order to stay knowledgeable about current agility training techniques, Steve trains regularly with top agility handlers and attends multiple dog and agility training seminars each year. Steve competes in AKC, USDAA, and UKI venues and has competed in CPE, NADAC, and UKC.

Steve also writes the longest running dog agility blog: AgilityNerd ( with regular articles and videos on agility training, handling, and course analysis.