A Get Out Work Out

I find one of the most common directionals used by handlers is the Get Out command. I also believe that very few handlers put in adequate training work with the command so that the directive has a high fail rate in competition.

We practice the Get Out until the dog understands the word. And when I say “word” I mean as much the movement that accompanies the verbal as I do the verbal itself. Over time the well-practiced dog and handler team might rely to a greater extent on the verbal. Though I’d have to be in a hell of a hurry not to speak with my movement and rely only on a verbal directive.

In a simple introduction of the Get Out I sit my dog addressing a jump that is not really the target jump. Instead I want him to increase lateral distance from me as I encroach on his path and give him the command to Get Out.

As soon as possible (after a couple dozen reps maybe) I’ll introduce more compelling movement to the moment of the Get Out. While the jump gives me the movement that I want… the table creates the square.

Periodically I like to take a “smart aleck” step to see if my dog is really learning a Get Out… or if he’s being patterned to the sequence. Now is a good time to introduce the contrary movement when the handler has the body magnet position on two choices. I’d be inclined to give my dog a subtle counter-rotation after the #1 jump to insure that he tucks up close to me. Note that I’m conditioning two words or phrases in the development of communication with my dog. The encroaching step means bend away; the counter-rotation means stay in tight.

Did I mention that I like to practice every skill to be ambidextrous? Okay, in this change in the exercise I’m asking my dog to Get Out right, where the previous repetitions have been Get Out left. I’m probably moving along a little fast here… I would likely condition the static start with just the two jump choices before I do this step.

Now I’ve opened up the floor for a little additional movement. I’ll endeavor to approach the #3 jump with dog-on-left and have a station forward of the dog so that I can take the encroaching step to get the dog out to the table. This likely means I’ll use a Front Cross between jumps #2 and #3 to tighten the turn.

And again, in the interest of practicing the ambidextrous skill, I’ll approach the #3 jump with dog-on-right and take the Get Out to the right into the weave poles after jump #3. To tighten the turn I might use a static Post or an RFP. If the turn after jump #2 goes too wide then the Get Out will be more arduous.

Now we return to the left-bending Get Out on the dismount of the A-frame. This is likely to work quite differently for dogs that assume an unambiguous finish (like a 2o2o) compared to dogs that have a running contact.

There’s also a bit of a taste of the “smart aleck” step here. Remember my advice that when the handler has the body-magnet position on multiple options an RFP serves as insurance to take the nearer obstacle. And it is the nature of insurance that they are unlikely to sell you the policy while your barn is burning down.

I like to finish any grueling dog training session with a good ripping handling exercise. The opening series of jumps provides an early opportunity to practice a Get Out as in an earlier exercise. Beyond that, it’s just another handler riddle.

Spring is Sprung

Spring means that I have bunches of chores to do outside. Today I moved my “started inside” plants out to enjoy the 70° sun… and then of course trudged them all back in as the sun tipped down. I also built a bon-fire in the lower field. I’ve been picking up a ton of dead-wood and killing a fair share of invasive vines and multi-flora rose as I test nature with my peculiar sense of order.

I’m simply not getting around to everything I need to do. But it’s far easier to forgive yourself when you’re doing honest work and have a warm sun on your back.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Who is the lady in this picture? And, what is her significance to the agility community?

The first correct answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the March Jokers Notebook.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – March 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/web-store/ . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special03” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.


3 Responses to “A Get Out Work Out”

  1. Chris Mosley Says:

    Jane Callaghy. I didn’t know her, but in her memory I’m an ABLE librarian. Don’t drive drowsy!

  2. Chris Mosley Says:

    Sorry, I shold have elaborated, Jane was an agility competitor and friend to many. She was killed 4/1/01 in a car accdent when her friend fell asleep at the wheel. Live to Run Again was founded in her memory –and this week launched their (our) new website livetorunagain.org.

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