There and Back Again

One of my favorite conventions for the design of training sequences is what I call the “There and Back Again” sequence. This is essentially a sequence that is run in one direction and then the sequence reverses itself. Oddly enough the challenges are subtly different when the direction is reversed.

On my last day of seminar work for Capital K9 Training Club I put up this there and back again sequence. Mostly this is a study in solutions to the discrimination problem. I mean, that’s the big and obvious challenge in the sequence. The challenge is faced twice by dog and handler, at full speed, and in both cases with the dog’s natural flow favoring the wrong course obstacle.

As it happens this sequence too gives us an opportunity to talk about the lead-out, both from the start line and from the table. This particular start line riddle is delicious to me… because this is a sequence that needs a start line stay about like a moose needs a hat rack. But you know, were all so invested in “leading out”. . .

Sometimes the Simple Stuff

Funny thing about the table… the lead-out we’re so obsessed with at the start line isn’t so abundantly practiced on the table. More handlers will hover over the dog in a freeze-frame pose.

While we’re here, hovering over the dog while the judge conducts the table count. I should point out that a poor starting position it is for the handler. So the handler turns around to face the jump, releases his dog and makes a run at it. Note that the handler has to veer to the left to get around the wing of the jump. Note too that the dog is likely to want to move in the same direction as the handler, giving the jump a miss.

Here the handler is taking a bold lateral lead-out. Though note that his initial movement is not in the direction of the jump. From the lateral position the handler will establish a path forward to release the dog and apply pressure back down to jump #8. This is a wonderful way to handle the transition with a more novice dog that might need a bit of help to bring the jump into focus.

For the more advanced team the lateral lead-out is sufficient to keep the dog out over jumps #9 through #11. Note how the lateral path lead-out really allows the handler a position forward of the dog (where it’s needed) to handle the discrimination on the landing side of jump #11.

Two Days in a Wake-Up

After six days of seminar work I’ve begun a 3-day judging stint. I’m just plain dog tired and really looking forward to getting home. I expect after the trial on Sunday I’m going to try to make it all the way home so I can sleep in my own bed.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

What’s the terrible noise that is polluting the world cup soccer tournament? Please be specific.

First correct answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the June Jokers Notebook.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – June 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special05” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.

4 Responses to “There and Back Again”

  1. mariann jackson Says:

    a vuvuzela horn

  2. Wayne Says:

    People whining about the cultural expression of South Africans during the game.

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