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Jokers Notebook ~ Module #26

January 7, 2022

This is the training plan for the 26th week of the Jokers Training Program. This is a loaded training week; and it might take you more than a week to work through all the progressions. We will focus on lateral distance exercises, with discussions of the Accelerating Step and Triangular Pressure.

These exercises were based on an NDAL game from April of 2017. The course map—at the end of this document—will help you set equipment for this week’s exercises.


Accelerating Step

An “Accelerating Step” defined in simple terms is a fast step the handler takes just as the dog is passing. The step is intended to goose the dog forward.

This is a simple enough exercise.

We are basically practicing a progressive send to the pipe tunnel. However, in order to practice the “Accelerating Step” we must give the dog a chance to pass the handler who will practice the step.

In looking at the video (above) the exercise might have been better served by taking jump #1 from its other side. That being said, starting the sequence with a Back-pass might very well set up the accelerating step. So we could dispense with jump #1.

Tunnel Dogwalk Wrap

In this exercise we want to teach the dog to make the transitions between tunnel and dogwalk with the handler using directional commands.

In the drawing above the handler would use a “Right” command in both transitions. You could mirror this exercise to practice the transitions with a “Left” command.

Scale this exercise for the skill and experience of the dog.

Triangular Pressure

A dog tends to move in a path parallel to the handler’s path. A stationary handler has no path. One of the hardest things to teach a handler who is accustomed to running parallel to his dog, is what he should do when not running.

And the answer is: The handler should face and give movement to the next target obstacle, creating “triangular pressure.”

In this exercise the objective is for the handler to work at a progressive lateral distance to the dog as the dog does jump #3 and the tire at #4. Jump #3 quickly emerges as the obstacle on which the handler should provide focus. Focus can be defined as what the handler is looking at, facing, pointing towards, and moving towards if there is any movement at all. We’ve left the lines of the dog’s path and the handler’s path on the course map so that you can see the “triangle”.

The red lines represent the lateral distance progressive. We begin by working close and gradually work farther and farther away.

The video above shows the entire progression of this exercise.

Lateral A-frame

This is a simple enough exercise. The objective is to teach the dog to assume and maintain a two-on/two-off dismount of the A-frame while the handler remains in motion. The release should be verbal, and not at all based on handler movement.

The drawing here shows the basic exercise. The red lines illustrate the direction of the training progression. The handler increase in lateral distance should be modest and incremental.

This video shows the complete progressive exercise (with a dog that really needs this training).

Time Warp

The sequences in this lesson plan have been used in competition for a game called “Time Warp”. The briefing for the game is on the header of the course map.

You’ll note that the course design for the game was a Gilday/Houston collaboration. It shouldn’t be a shock that of 117 runs Gilday took 1st place with her girl Leela (20 on the bonus in 35.33 seconds for a final score of 15.33):

And Houston took 2nd place with is boy Kory (20 on the bonus in 36.8 seconds for a final score of 16.8):

Video Homework

Send links to one or more recordings of the exercises in this module.

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Questions Comments and Impassioned Speeches to Bud Houston, Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Connect with me on FaceBook!

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January 2, 2022

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Houston’s Tagalong Hickory 021209 ~ 120421

December 6, 2021

I lost my boy Kory a couple days ago. He had a terrible seizure and didn’t much recover. We took him to the vet, who graciously came to meet us on a Saturday evening, after regular hours. And we had him put down.

Right now I’m feeling very raw. He was my dearest companion for so many years. He was my fishing buddy and agility partner. And he taught me a lot.

I had been watching Kory in his decline. In many ways we’ve been saying goodbye for a while. Still, there is a suddenness to it that is jarring and for which you can’t ever really prepare. My agility friends and dog lovers understand these feelings. There is no escaping this grief we all hold in our hearts.

We’ll miss him every day. And the “choir” of five remaining dogs will be without Kory’s distinct baying howl as they sing.

Kory wasn’t put together very well; knock-kneed in the back and subject to coming up lame after a couple agility runs. He was never the kind of dog you could campaign in agility. He was smart and well trained and always played with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.

Because I’ve suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for most of Kory’s life his agility training has ever been dedicated to working independently without a handler micromanaging every little bit of his work. And he was pretty good at it. Though between you and me and the wall, success as a distance dog and handler in an age of bloody-minded technical challenges has always been a crapshoot. It’s like throwing cards into a hat on a windy day.

But he had his moments.

A bit of agility stuff

I’m going to include several recordings of Kory in competition below. I’m putting these here, where I can find them, when I’m feeling blue about the loss of my old boy.

The recording below was Kory’s Excellent B debut under AKC judge Dave Hirsch. My handling of this was Dave’s fault. In the briefing he says that a handler should be able to stand in the middle and do the whole thing. And he turned and looked me right in the eye and said something like “Bud and Kory could probably do this.”  Well damn, how could I resist.

This next bit was an AKC standard course. I never much had a handler’s path that could be anticipated by the judge.

Marsha wanted me to include the following video. This is Kory playing in USDAA Gamblers. Looking back at it, the point accumulation was kind of boring; but the timing on the approach to the gamble was great and the distance challenge was simple stuff to a boy like Kory:

I had to include the video below of Kory in National Dog Agility League competition. Heck, I created the NDAL just for Kory… so he could compete once a week (as he was incapable of competing 15 times in one weekend, what with his problem with coming up lame.) This game is Warped Helter Skelter, and posed a tricky distance challenge in a numbered sequence:

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Questions Comments and Impassioned Speeches to Bud Houston, Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Connect with me on FaceBook!

Protected: Jokers Notebook ~ Module #21

December 5, 2021

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