Foundation Notebook

I’ve started work on a new Jokers Notebook intended to establish a suite of training objectives for a young agility dog in his first two or three years. It has turned into a formidable task. By the time I was done with the content plan I realized that the scope of it was fairly complex and would require a lot of original writing.

I am a bit of a naturalist when it comes to dog training. I’m not so sure that’s easy to explain. Certainly I start with a vision of performance and a definition of steps. But I’m not in a hurry. And I do everything in a building block fashion. I persist with the rules of performance until the dog gets it. Moreover I feel that in “dog” training I am also training myself so that the rules become my rules so the objectives never become fuzzy.

Okay, so now I’ve challenged myself to define objectives, design exercises and training protocols, and write a primer on the process. On a certain level this really goes against the grain. If I lay out a series of “steps” for a training objective then surely I’ll be making it look like “science”… which is, as far as I’m concerned a bit of an illusion.

While the Jokers Notebook is ostensibly a distance training curriculum we can’t really divorce distance objectives from the obvious notion that we’re training the whole dog and not just some obscure corner of his brain that has him out frolicking on the course at some distance.

Okay, maybe it will take me more than a month or two to write this. Ultimately it will be the foundation piece (note the double entendre there) to the overall collection of Notebooks.

270° Turn Theory and Practice

I have all these exercises in my head that I’ve done many times over the years. These days I’ve been getting this feeling of surprising uncertainty as I approach the exercise with my young boy Kory… I’ve never done them with him.

Please note that in the following two exercises/sequences the left-turning 270 is followed by a right-turning 270. I’ve limited the discussion to the first of the two turns. You’ll just have to visualize the mirror image movement on the other side.

The 270 is really a matter of thinking outside the box. In this sequence logic has the handler standing still drawing the dog  around on post in the turn from jump #3 to #4 and then stepping up to jump #5 for a Rear Cross. That logic is a plan that has FAIL written all over it.

In this sequence the more successful handling strategy might be to think outside the box. Consider drawing the dog on right after jump #3 to create a corner of approach for jumps #4 and #5. This is a job for a squaring Front Cross.

I had a bit of fun working this exercise with Kory. In order to make the squaring Front Cross I had to pretty much stay outside the box (clutter of jumps) striking a parallel path on the lead out. Then, drawing him to the corner (marked with the red X). I committed to the cross and sent him through jumps #4 and #5.

Note by the way that the corner indicated by the red X is the same regardless of the speed of the dog. The corner is the corner and represents the timing event for the Cross.

This sequence is a bit more complicated. The handling of the 270 has a lot to do with the direction the dog moves on the dismount. Now the handler doesn’t really want the dog on his left, outside the box, on the approach to jump #4.

I’m not really going to diagram this movement. You’ll just have to train with me if you want to understand it. What I’ll have my students do is a combination movement (outside the box) consisting of Front Cross and Tandem Turn. Implicitly the movement involves a speed change (slow dog to fast dog) between the two parts of the movement. Oh, and the handler will either have to use a Front Cross after jump #4 or Rear Cross at jump #5.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Speaking of artists… the underground artist responsible for the drawing below once collaborated with American animator Ralph Bakshi on a movie. Who is the artist? What was the name of that movie?

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.

One Response to “Foundation Notebook”

  1. katie Says:

    R. Crumb and Fritz the Cat.

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