Consequential Path and Other Riddles

I’ve long been fascinated with the relationship between box, pinwheel, and serpentine in the arrangement of jumps for dog agility. It’s not my intention to be exhaustive in the treatment or discussion here. But if you let your mind wander you can find the subtle stitching of these arrangements in the star bright teaching sequence.


I surely have a dozen or more numbering schemes for this set of the equipment. You’ll note that it’s nearly inescapable that wrong-course options are presented to the dog as the dog’s path wends its way through any numbered sequence.

Consequential Path


The handler is the architect of the dog’s path and should always be aware of the consequential path. The dog’s turning place might be called “the corner of approach”. The simple math is to draw a straight line from the corner through the next jump and then just follow the line to see where it goes.

You’ll note in the turn from jump #3 to #4 a dog with a fairly efficient turning radius creates a line of approach that gives jump #5 a miss. So the handler needs to step up in order to draw the corner out until it gives an unambiguous line of approach that draws jump #5 into the dog’s path (indicated by the red line, in the drawing).

Fast Dog


It is my intention to practice both fast dog handling (behind and pushing) and slow dog handling (forward and pulling). Which is faster? Which shows direction more surely to the dog?

In this drawing the handler holds his dog on left out of the weave poles, gearing down at jump #7 to precue the turn to jump #8. On the landing side of #8 the handler uses a Tandem Turn to change sides to his dog from behind.

Jump #11 is more of a raw Back Cross. This helps tighten the turn and make the wrong-course pipe tunnel less alluring to the dog.

Slow Dog


In the same sequence the handler is practicing slow dog handling, crossing in front of his dog. In the drawing I’m attempting to show the handler using a precue Front Cross. This helps the dog gear down in anticipation of the turn, shortens the turning radius, and is probably kinder to the dog bones and joints by easing out the forward impulsion.

The handler might have to separate from his dog during the performance of the weave poles in order to show the turn from the landing side of jump #7. But out of that turn it’s a fair footrace for the handler to have position for a rolling Front Cross in the transition from jump #9 to #10. The handler gives one last Front Cross in the turn from jump #11 to #12.


Man I’ve been really busy with chores the past few days. Friday and Saturday I built a new dock/raft for my pond. Sunday I drove up to Dover, OH to pick up a couple of pieces of old antique wood furniture… a Sellers cabinet and a gorgeous old cherry wood armoire. Yesterday I rebuilt a 15′ section of fence façade that lost its challenge with the wind over the top of the hill this past spring.

Marsha got me for my birthday a 37” HDTV which we have promptly installed in the armoire, which is now an entertainment center in the living room. For the record I got Marsha a weed whacker for her birthday. So the universe is in proper balance.

I’m still behind on my chores. I’m sure to share every grizzly moment with you in my weblog. Do stay tuned.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: And Check out my new publication the Idea BookAgility Training for a Small Universe available at


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