An Epiphany on Bending

As you probably know I’m engaged in inflicting upon my own students an ongoing curriculum for distance training. The theme for this week has been the “Out”… or Get Out if you prefer. The classical definition for Out is: a directional command asking the dog to increase lateral distance.

It dawned on me last night that I have over the years taught the Out, the Rear Cross, the Tandem Turn, and the simple Bend as though they were separate skills, as unique Galapagos each distinct from the others. And so the training steps that I have developed or adopted have been different for each skill.

What I’ve ultimately realized (last night, mind you) is that these are a family of movements each related closely to the other and are only distinct by degree.

I’ve said before that I always learn when I teach. But this is bigger than the usual learning step. There are already things that are sorting out in my “belief system”… if that’s the right phrase. For example, I’d like to teach the Out with the same feather touch as the Tandem. And so rather than introducing the Out as an intrusive and forceful movement I’m inclined now to go back to flatwork,  and heavily rewarded dog training in small prudent steps.

As to what I was teaching last week. I think that Gilda Radner (as Emily Litella) said it best: “Nevermind!”


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: And Check out my latest publication the Go the Distance ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Notebook – Jan 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store:

2 Responses to “An Epiphany on Bending”

  1. Adrienne Says:

    Could you please expand upon this? Or tell me that there is a link describing how you teach these and what “bending” is? (I’m suspect I’m going to feel like the class dunce when you tell me.)

    • budhouston Says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      Bending is the reciprocal of the Post turn… except that the handler is on the outside of the curve while the dog is on the inside.

      No need to feel like a dunce. It’s not really a common term… I’m pretty sure I came up with it only because there was no other word in our specialized vocabulary for this sport to describe it.

      A handler is bending when he’s outside the curve, and stepping in front of the dog to bend the dog away.

      A handler is doing a Tandem when he’s outside the curve, and stepping behind the dog to turn the dog away.

      Bud Houston

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