In preparation for a distance training seminar at Clermont County at the end of April, I am posing a variety of distance training exercises for the clinic participants.
You can’t really do a distance seminar the same way you might do handler training. In a handling seminar you just grab the dog and run. Distance is all about dog training and homework and the ambition and work ethic of the dog trainer. And so, I give homework. I’m delighted to present years of homework and study to be accomplished in a few weeks.
In today’s exercise, the set of the floor allows the practice of lateral sequencing.
The progression has the handler working at a greater and greater lateral distance to the dog. The illustration shows three lines which step at 6′ intervals away from the dog. It’s not necessary to take such large progressive steps if the dog is unused to the handler being at any distance.
The YouTube recording features Katniss, who was nearly flawless. The exercise doesn’t always go smoothly. But it is a training exercise, after all. A “failure” in training is just information. It might mean that the trainer is progressing too quickly and expecting too much.
“Triangular Pressure” is not common to the language of dog agility. This discussion is based on the observations of a handler and dog trainer who relentlessly amuses himself with distance training and play at distance games.
When a handler runs at the side of the dog the two are running in harmonious parallel. However when the handler has resolved to move little in order to gain some advantage in real estate then the rules of parallel motion are disturbed.
Triangular Pressure is the overt application of movement by the handler against the dog’s path to bring a target obstacle or path into focus. And it’s not as complicated as I’ve made it sound.
In today’s exercise the handler has been coached to apply Triangular Pressure to sell the lateral path to which the handler will move in parallel:
This illustration shows that the initial thrust of the handler’s movement is nearly T-square against the dog’s transitional path to jump #3. The timing of the movement would have to be nearly immediately after the dog dismounts the pipe tunnel at #2.
It has been my observation that this works neatly with dogs accustomed to working independently. Triangular Pressure might be less successful with dogs accustomed to being velcro’d to the handler’s bum.
The exercise described above is based on the set of the floor for the March 2017 NDAL Masters League. This is a fun game called Time Warp in which dog and hander teams can demonstrate their distance skills.
Time Warp is scored Time, Plus Faults, Less Bonus. The rules for performance in the NDAL closely resemble USAA (Advanced) and the TDAA. That means there are very few faults resulting in elimination. It is the intention of the league to achieve a certain granularity of performance that allows the placement and ranking of performances.
Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, a comprehensive reference to all manner of agility games played for competition and fun around the world.