Don’t Be So Mean Jellybean

This all started with a note on Facebook from Becky Dean. She asks… how did  the Masters Standard go? Becky was away on the weekend on a family emergency; and I filled in for her down in Nashville.


I actually did this to Becky’s course. The transition from the tire to the weave poles did not go like this. So don’t blame this on her.

I’m tempted to call this “There’s no such thing as an ugly weave pole approach!” The two qualities for success in performance of the weave poles shall always be 1) Did you train your dog? And 2) Does the handler understand his job?

Let me try to qualify the two qualities for success concept:

Training the dog must address teaching an independent performance of the weave poles. Teach the dog to understand the entry and to make a controlled approach; teach the dog to weave at top speed and finish no matter how many poles are present.

The Handler’s Job is no less complex than the dog’s. But we tend to talk about it less. Frankly the handler’s job should compliment the quality of the weave pole training foundation. If a dog isn’t completely trained the handler may have to shape the approach carefully; establish rhythmic cadence and/or movement while the dog weaves; and provide as much speed cue and excitement as the dog can actually handle.

And if the dog is well trained the handler should at the very least understand how to make a presentation of the weave poles while keeping focus on the entry to support the dog.


I took one look at this and said to myself “don’t be so mean jellybean!” Ordinarily I wouldn’t use an idiom in my blog writing[1]. I was thinking that this expression sounds really retro 70’s or something; you know, kinda like “groovy” is retro 60’s. Then I rediscovered something I already knew… you can Google just about anything[2].

Anyhow, I didn’t find anything that helps explain the origins and chronology of the expression. But I did find this:

More Justin Rutledge music on iLike


This course actually ran lovely with a generous Q rate. The pull-through hard-aback turn from jump #3 to the pipe tunnel at #4 was an obvious challenge and tended to put the handler neatly with dog on right on the exit from the tunnel.

The next interesting moment in the course was all the away around to the turn from jump #15 to the dogwalk at #17. But wait! If I remember correctly one of the obstacle that attracted the greatest number of refusals… was jump #14. I mention the “interesting moment” first because I had to consider why a handler would lose discipline in a simple pinwheel and fail to support the dog to the outside jump. Well, I figure they were worried about getting position for a good Front Cross on the landing side of jump #15; and so they bail early from their responsibility to support the dog in the pinwheel.

The tunnel under the A-frame is set in such a way that it separates the handler from the dog on the dismount. It was true in this course and will generally be true that the number of missed down contacts was higher because some handler’s were unable to sit on their dogs’ heads through the finish of the ramp.

The A-frame is immediately followed by a hard aback presentation of jump #16 into an interesting little serpentine finish. We had at least a couple refusals of the final jump… but mostly from handler’s who worked the last three obstacles with dog-on-left.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: And Check out my latest publication the Just For Fun Agility Notebook #30 available at

[1] Oh wooden eye, wooden eye!


[2] I use actually.


%d bloggers like this: