A Found Poem #2

It was fun having Nancy Gyes dropping by my blog to leave a nice note. I’ve known Nancy and Jim for a number of years. They would come to Arizona in the early ‘90s to show at Good Dog USDAA trials. That’s back when players in the agility world would travel magnificent distances to find agility competition. Well, the world has changed very much.

Nancy and Jim have gone on to become famous characters in the agility world. I might see them every couple years or so. But I live nearly on the East Coast now, and they still live way to hell and gone in northern California.

Nancy’s explanation of her alphabet drills was simple and logical. I look back over the many exercises I’ve created or stolen over the years. And it is quite true I would have to go riffling through an impressive stack of papers to find any one that might tickle the fancy of my memory. I’d better take the Hebrew alphabet before she really takes the idea serious. At least I’d have the NYC market covered.


I use the expression “a found poem” every now and again. What it really means is in the shifting context of agility the opportunity for the practice of fundamentals will invariably present itself. As a coach I figure that I’m completely patient, taking the long view with my students. Even when they are feeling the wind in their hair and figure that they’ve solved the riddle of the game, I seek to take them to a new level.

On any sequence I must ask the questions. What would you practice skill-wise on a sequence like this? What is the killer path? What is the slow-dog handling plan? What is the fast-dog handling plan?


A Front Cross from jump #1 is probably completely conservative and has the handler using up his real estate early in the sequence so that any speed cues he might give down stream are diminutive. Consider a simple Post Turn from #1 to #2 (or better still, a Tandem!) with the handler racing the length of the dogwalk with the dog for a technical Tandem.

You must see that jumps #3 through #6 are a serpentine, although not arranged in the classical Victorian line. Fast dog is behind and pushing, the intrepid handler always weaving in and out of the jumps; slow dog is forward and pulling (Blind Crosses preferred) with the handler weaving in and out of the jumps.


I really like this little sequence. It will often expose the phantom Blind Cross in the long transition between jump #2 and the tire at #3. The options in the turn from jump #4 are also pretty cool. Forward of the dog the handler could slide into a quick Blind Cross (no phantoms here!) and roll the 180 as a Blind Cross as well.

In the fast dog turn at jump #4 the handler shows a layered Tandem and draws back to the landing side of jump #5 possibly for a speed transition and one killer Blind Cross on the fast dog after the tire.

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my new publication the Idea BookAgility Training for a Small Universe available at www.dogagility.org/store.

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