The Option

The host group that I’m working with in the morning has specifically requested that we talk about how to turn the dog from a compelling option. It is quite a conundrum if you really think about it. We work so hard to teach our dogs obstacle focus and a highly developed work ethic. And so when you present an option in the dog’s path how can we fault the dog for charging ahead full of steam and commitment?

Starting Out Simple

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This is a simple kind of exercise. And frankly there might be a lot of good answers from a handling point of view. For example the handler might solve with a simple counter rotation on the landing side of jump #2.

Though to tell you the truth I drew the line suggestively. And that’s what the numbers tend to do… they suggest.

What I try to teach is that the handler is the “architect” of the dog’s path. What does that really mean? In this case, it means the handler can choose the path of the dog’s approach to jump #2 and changing the nature of the challenge altogether.

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This is a simple vee-set, accomplished with a Post turn. Don’t think of the vee-set as a specific movement. It’s more of a conceptual thing. The handler creates the corner of approach to jump #2, rather than accepting the corner on the landing side of jump #2 suggested by the placement of the numbers.

The wrong course jump is taken pretty much out of the picture. That’s the theory.

A Bit More Difficult

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If we change the numbering on the pipe tunnel the handler’s job is to draw the dog off the obvious and more compelling entry, and into the opposite side. This might be as simple as a Front Cross; and might be accomplished by something with more electricity, like a Flip or an RFP. In all these examples the handler begins with a counter rotation, which can be compelling to the dog.

But there are other options worth practicing an understanding, such as a static Post; or a Post & Tandem.

Left-overs

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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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