Around the Clock… Now at 9:00

I got a good night’s sleep last night you’ll be happy to know. Read yesterday’s blog to understand why I needed the sleep.

Anyhow, I’ve been working all day at finishing up on the Go the Distance Workbook to be published in only a couple of days. I didn’t actually finish it. But, that’s what I’ve been working on. It’s actually quite a powerful collection of lesson plans. And I’m having a lot of fun with them.

At the same time, by the way, I’ve been teaching Kory “Left” and “Right” with the rewarding toss of a tennis ball. He’s at about 90% which is too cool for words. I certainly didn’t learn my left from my right as quickly as he has.

The week 9 lesson plan was devoted pretty much to the serpentine. If you follow my writing at all you’ll note that I don’t much approve of the handler who loves to work the serpentine from one side. Don’t get me wrong… I actually teach that to my students and to my student’s dogs. But I figure people seize to quickly on lazy handling habits without either understanding or conducting the proper training foundation. They’re just being lazy.

Anyhow, I used to do this thing with a long 5-jump serpentine with my boy Bogie when I was doing a seminar or teaching camp. I’d start him on the serpentine, and then immediately turn around and talk to the group. As I talked he’d go bip bip bip down the line of jumps, finishing the serpentine, without the least amount of support from me.

It was a fun trick. But trust me it was a trick that required a considerable training foundation. It occurred to me that I should share the training trick with ya’ll in case you ever want to showboat, don’t you know.

This training evolves from around the clock training. Around-the-clock is devoted to teaching a dog the independent performance of obstacles, which can otherwise be stated as “understanding the performance of an obstacle when the handler isn’t embedded in the context of presentation and performance.’”

Just remember, before you embark on this mission, you must do the foundation work in order to succeed. If it doesn’t work… it’s not showing off!

We start here addressing a jump at the 9:00 o’clock position. This is the most severe angle of presentation that one might take with a jump. And from a respectable 10′ distance the dog will clearly demonstrate to his handler/trainer that he understands the performance of the obstacle even when presented with so slight an approach.

As we add a new jump for performance we add a new and separate line that allows the handler to provide a couple of compelling steps towards the dog to sell the turn in a Tandem at a distance. Remember, the dog turns when the handler turns, not where the handler turns. There are a couple of carefully chosen pronouns in that sentence.

We evolve along to a three-jump serpentine. The handler doesn’t need to step quite so forcefully to sell the first turn, but is given a bit more room to sell from this now considerable distance… the second turn.

Note by the way that I’m using the counter-arm signal. You now… it’s reported that Susan Garrett calls the counter arm the “evil Ohio arm”. Well so be it (I live in Ohio). From any distance the counter arm helps to demonstrate the turn and push. This is a little harder to do with the subtle/wimpy inside arm signal.


I’m going to leave the rest to your imagination. When you can do this much with your dog… write me back, and I’ll publish the remainder.


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:

One Response to “Around the Clock… Now at 9:00”

  1. Maggie Says:

    I think Piper and I can do this one. LOL!

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