Framing the End Obstacle

4th Round

Resuming where I left off yesterday…

One of the most difficult distance challenges in agility is the dead-away send. You know that lateral distance stuff they do in NADAC? That stuff is quite easy by comparison. You can do lateral distance work with a blind three-legged Pug. The dead-away send however, is quite the training challenge.

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We could in a training session like this use a baited target to initially get the dog to understand that the reward is after the tire. Resorting to the baited target requires the services of a Bait Meister[1] to attend the bait and deny it to the dog if he runs around the performance obstacles in his zeal to get to the treat.

To tell you the truth I’m not a huge fan of targets, bated or otherwise. It’s useful to initially shape the performance. But as a dog trainer I’m pretty much an advocate of timing, marker, and reward as the principle tools of the dog trainer. I firmly believe that a dog isn’t learning much when being lured and, by contrast, will learn in heaps and hounds when being rewarded for performance.

After a brief period of targeting the performance to shape the dog’s understanding, each handler gets to send three times… the first two of which must be forward of the line. In this round the third send will establish a new send line that everyone behind must beat when it is their turn to send their dogs.

When beginning behind one of the two jumps I’ve put in the dog’s track to the tire, the handler must incorporate in a performance series whether or not he intends to step past the jump to its landing side.

We will repeat this round until all at least one dog is being sent from 40′ or more.

Framing

Framing is the habit of the handler sending the dog down a line of jumps to name the end obstacle which is “framed” in clear view to the dog. Rather than saying “Jump, Jump, Go Tire” the handler simply cuts to the chase and tells the dog from the onset “Tire, Go On Tire!”

I can’t be positive of the impact and implications of this practice. But I’m an old stodgy fart who clings to certain concepts which ring logically true by their statement without suffering rigorous testing. And so I will encourage my students to engage in framing because it’s good for an instructor from time to time to say things that ring logically true.

5th Round – Can I Move?

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Now I pose to everyone this essential challenge. Start with your dog in the set of equipment in the upper half of the floor. This is a dog’s choice sequence which means the handler can begin with any obstacle and take any obstacles along the way. I specify these things: The dog must do the pipe tunnel at the back of the room curled back in a U-shape, and on the return the dog must either do the dogwalk or go around the dogwalk.

After this dog’s choice sequence we will measure who can make the most impressive send to the tire.

What really makes this different from any of the fairly static sends we’ve been practicing to the tire… the handler is in full motion, running with his dog. So the difficulty (if there is one) is that the handler must make a transition from handling movement to send the dog forward. This is much more difficult than you might think. Almost everyone will have sends

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.


[1] You really need to resort to German with this term. In English it comes out wrong, and nearly vulgar.

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2 Responses to “Framing the End Obstacle”

  1. Deb Says:

    The Manners Minder is a great tool for this and other send-away exercises! Google it for more info.

  2. budhouston Says:

    Well thanks Deb. I’m not much of a gadget person myself. I figure for $100 I can rival any machine for a timely marker and a treat…

    I used to train with a woman who told me that in order to understand the timing of marker and reward all I had to do is count: one thousand one, one thousand… too late!

    And you know, inasmuch as I am keen on fading the lure just as quick as possible, I don’t figure such a gadget would get much use out of me.

    Regards,
    Bud Houston

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