A Speed Transition

I reckon that I’ve invented a number of terms in the agility world. Indeed, some have stuck while others languish only in the obscure vacuum of my own vocabulary (and that of many of my students). Among these terms is a thing I call a “speed transition”. It’s time for a definition of terms.

A speed transition is predicated on the difference between “slow dog handling” and “fast dog handling”. These need to be defined as well. Slow dog handling is when the handler puts his movements forward of the dog… and pulling. The Front Cross and Blind Cross are essentially slow dog handling movements. It doesn’t really mean the dog is slow because a handler can get forward of a dog-no matter how fast that dog is-by a number of mechanisms, including a simple lead out.

Fast dog handling is when the handler is behind the dog… and pushing. The Rear Cross and Tandem Turn are the essential fast dog handling movements.

So a speed transition is when the handler makes a shift between Slow Dog and Fast Dog, and in either direction. I believe I can illustrate this concept.


In this whimsical performance of the serpentine the handler does a series of Blind Crosses. In the transition from black lines to red lines… a Blind Cross; In the transition from red lines to blue lines… a Blind Cross; but in the transition from blue lines to green lines… a Front Cross.

You might wonder why I’d use a Front Cross rather than a Blind Cross after jump #4. Well, the Blind Cross is a racing movement. I use the movement distinctly while I have a powerful incentive to race my dog and stay forward of his position. In the turn to the weave poles my motive for staying in front has pretty much evaporated and so I will default to the powerful control of the Front Cross starting as it does with a counter-rotation.


So let’s go back to the original proposition. The handler begins with dog-on-right; but instead of doing a Blind Cross he does a Front Cross on the landing side of jump #2. You know, the Front Cross has in it three steps that aren’t in the Blind Cross… and those three steps don’t particularly carry the handler downfield. So because of the choice of handling movement the dog is now forward of the handler on the landing side of jump #3. So the handler really can’t put his movement forward of the dog anymore.

So the red lines show the handler preparing for the speed transition (switching from slow dog handling to fast dog handling) as he neutrally brings his dog around on Post for a Tandem Turn on the landing side of jump #4.


I could also illustrate a speed transition from fast dog handling to slow dog handling… but not really with this particular sequence. You see the handler who has committed to a behind and pushing strategy is quite unlikely to have an occasion to slip gracefully into slow dog handling mode.

I’ll save the illustration for another day. It’s really too obvious.



Here’s a fun concept for a snooker course. It would require an aggressive qualifying course time (QCT). So, if I wanted this snooker course, I would likely have to do my nesting from here to keep it intact.

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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