Steve's Seminars

I really enjoy teaching and coaching other agility enthusiasts. Especially those who want to be challenged.

What Attendees are saying:


Upcoming Seminars:

Seminar Calendar

Here are descriptions of some seminars I’ve taught recently. I have been getting more requests for seminars lately so I’ll add new topics as I present them. I’m also happy to tailor my seminars to meet the needs of the club/group.

Below each topic description I’ve included a couple of the kind comments made by seminar attendees. Please email me if you are interested in hosting a seminar in your area:

Full Day Seminars

Half Day Seminars

Handling Mastery

A brand new seminar for 2016!

I give this seminar as a half day 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 any sequence through them to give your handling skills a real workout! You’ll learn his “Handling Mastery Approach” that will have you combining handling “moves” in ways you’ve never tried before. With practice your confidence and handling skills will greatly improve; allowing you to tackle any course.

Can You Handle It?

Handling for the Competition Agility Team

A full day seminar 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. 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 a more challenging than Excellent/Masters level Standard course in the morning and a Jumpers course in the afternoon. 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 a final run through to see how much faster and (“beautiful”) the team has become.

Here are some example courses.

I’ve recently given a Novice/Intermediate version of this seminar. In that seminar I only use jumps and tunnels so we can focus entirely on handling. Here are some example courses.

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

Super Skills! Mastering Crosses, Pin Wheels, and Serpentines

This intensive, full day seminar addresses key handling skills needed by agility teams of all skill levels. You’ll start working on Front and Rear Crosses: learning where to place them, choose between them, execute them cleanly and learn to use your cues effectively for your dog.

Then you’ll put those crosses together in more demanding combinations on key course sequences: Pin Wheels and Serpentines. 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. So often handlers get in the “pocket” and just turn slowly through the sequence. You’ll handle them in multiple ways that speed up the dog’s performance and keep the handler 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 also run longer sequences to put all these skills to the test in challenging and fun combinations. This seminar is a great tune-up for novice and competition teams.

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 definitly reccomend 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

In this full day seminar you’ll learn the foundation skills for handling the International challenges appearing in UKI, USDAA Masters Challenge and in a growing number of AKC courses and then apply them on challenging International-style courses. Learn how to conquer these challenges by applying the handling techniques your team already possesses. You don’t need special skills; just the clear application of cues and crosses already in your toolbox.

Steve first helps teams learn the essential challenges of International courses:

  • Multiple techniques for handling the Back Side of jumps
  • "Extreme" Jump Wraps
  • Threadles
  • Moving past off course obstacles

Once we’ve learned and practiced those skills you’ll move on to applying them in combinations on longer challenging sequences. We’ll spend the day immersed in learning and conquering these fun challenges. I love helping teams be comfortable and confident tackling these course elements!

This seminar is geared toward dog and handler teams competing in at least Open/Advanced/L4 levels and no remedial contact/weave training will be covered.

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

Pin Wheels, Serpentines, and Threadles, Oh My!

You and your dog can handle the basics but can you put them together smoothly in more complex combinations? Come to this half day seminar to advance down the road to mastery of handling Pin Wheels, Serpentines, and Threadles.

In this seminar for intermediate teams Steve helps you apply multiple handling approaches to these more demanding sequences. Learn to apply consistent handling cues to help your dog see and execute these sequences.

Pin Wheels turn dogs through three or four jumps. But how about coming into them from other sequences and getting out of them into other sequences? Or crossing on the way in and the way out?

There are many ways to handle Serpentines. How many do you know? How many can you do? When do you apply each handling method? How about crosses into and out of them?

Threadles are common place in USDAA and International agility courses and should be part of every agility team’s repertoire. Steve will show you how to quickly and easily handle them.

One of my favorite seminars to teach! It is great to see handlers gain confidence when they realize they can master multiple ways of handling these combinations.

Confident, Composed Crosses!

Front 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 half day 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

International Foundation Skills

This half day seminar systematically covers combining cues to clearly communicate handling on International challenges. Skills include:

  • Sending dogs to back side jumps
  • Back side jumps with crosses on the take off and landing side of the jump.
  • Back Side jump wraps.
  • Moving between jumps.
  • Threadle handling

This seminar is perfect for handlers who are interested in building the skills to be successful on International style courses.

Applied International Skills

This half day seminar works teams on applying their International Foundation Skills on full courses. Course analysis and alternate handling methods are discussed and teams are challenged to try multiple handling techniques. Detailed feedback is provided to each team.

If you have the basics this seminar puts them into practice.

Prerequisite: International Foundation Skills or instructor’s approval

International Flair!

International handling challenges are appearing in UKI, USDAA Masters Challenge and in a growing number of AKC 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 half day 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 the Back Side of jumps
  • "Extreme" Jump Wraps
  • Threadles
  • Moving past off course obstacles

This seminar is geared toward dog and handler teams competing in at least Open/Advanced/L4 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

Jumpin' Jehoshaphat! - Conquering Jumpers Courses

Jumpers and Jumpers With Weaves courses can be challenging for many agility teams. There are no contacts/tables on which the handler can “regroup” and since the dogs never stop they are moving faster. Consequently, there can be little room for handling error.

In this half day seminar Steve helps handlers:

  • Find places to get ahead
  • Trust their dogs so the handler can move on
  • Identify and address handling/training issues

Working teams will run very challenging Jumpers With Weaves courses. Teams should be competing at or above the Open/Advanced/L4 level and no remedial weave training will be covered.

I have only attended 3 of Steve's seminars. I found them to be excellent and learned a lot. I will continue to look for them in the future and highly recommend them.


It's a Wrap! - Fast & Tight Jump Wraps

You’ll find jump wraps on every agility course. When properly handled they can speed up your course times and give you a great opportunity to get ahead of your dog. If you’ve experienced wide and/or slow wraps or refusals on course this is the seminar for you!

In this mini-seminar for Masters and Advanced teams Steve helps you:

  • Learn and practice 4 methods for wrapping a jump
  • Learn to choose between the methods
  • Understand and use your cues effectively
  • Train your dog to understand your cues and wrap efficiently

Gettin' Tight! - Handling Challenging Tight Sequences

Do you have difficulty getting your dog to collect as you move into a tight/difficult section of the course? Do you find it difficult to string together multiple crosses/side changes on today’s increasingly technical courses? Then join Steve for this mini-seminar for masters and advanced teams. Steve helps you:

  • Use your cues to help your dog collect as you move from fast open sections into technical sections
  • Understand and use your cues effectively
  • Work on improving your handling/timing to get through technical sections quickly and smoothly
  • Identify additional training exercises to increase the dog and handler's comfort/skills working on technical sequences

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

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, UKI, and CPE venues and has competed in 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.