Shark Bait

The seminar curriculum in Pocatello was unique. On day one we did Handler Movement as the topic; on day two Distance; on day three Strategies. While I think I could spend two weeks on any one of the three topics without being terribly repetitive, it was a fun format for a homogenous group giving more variety of presentation than you can get out of any fixed topic.

On Distance day I made the usual observation that all distance training begins with teaching the dog the obstacles. While this might sound obvious ~ it’s not as simple a task as you’d think. For example many dogs don’t really own an independent performance of certain obstacles… like the weave poles or the contacts.

I was reminded of a lesson plan I wrote about ten years ago (a week in February of 2000 to be precise.) We ran an exercise called “Shark Bait”. The main goal of this suite of exercises is to test weave pole performance. Notice that the end of the weave poles is only 9′ from either tunnel entrance.

Can your dog ignore the allure of the tunnel and complete his job in the poles?

If your dog just can’t help himself and cuts out of the poles or actually takes the tunnel, don’t get mad. Just bring him back and give it another try. If he’s still sucked out of the poles by the tunnel, simplify the challenge so that he’s successful. For example, do the poles in the opposite direction with a lot of reward and praise for a successful completion.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Brain Fart ~ In the Google-proof Trivia Contest yesterday… I wrote “Godunov”; but I really meant to say “Badunov”.

When I got the answer ~ Lyudmila Vlasova ~ (which I’ll call a draw between “gscindy” and Mary Thompson), I had to go Google it myself and so got a delightful history lesson… and even now appreciate who that bad guy was in the original Diehard movie:

And on to today’s question:

He was Badenof. Who was she?

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


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special00” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.


6 Responses to “Shark Bait”

  1. Ronni Says:

    Natasha Fatale (when I was in Russia in June & they were speaking about Boris Godonuv, I was chuckling to myself remembering Boris Badenov from Rocky & Bullwinkle).

  2. Angel McDonald Says:

    I am intrigued by this idea of “independent obstacle performance.” I can say with utmost certainty, that neither of my terriers would run through the tire unless I pointed at it and stared at it while running by (Could this be lack of trust?). This would go with many other obstacles too. How do I begin training that independence? I have the JN00 and understand the chute exercise, but what do I say? Would I stand somewhat close to the obstacle and say “Tire!” without hand motion, just looking at the tire? For me, I am thinking that this basic ability (dog understanding the obstacle independent of handler) is the first step to acquiring distance work with my dogs.

    • budhouston Says:

      Excellent question.

      On page 46 under “Advanced Topics” is an entry on “Around the Clock” training. You’ll note that the topic features the tire (though I do around the clock training with all obstacles).

      Actually, when I do around the clock training I do point at the obstacle… this is important in establishing basic language for what a presentation should look like. I face the obstacle, I look at it, I point at it… and I give it’s name. The dog will do all the real work.

      Bud Houston

  3. Denise Says:

    Darn – finally a trivia contest I knew the answer to but I’m on-line too late in the day. 🙂 I loved that show!

    As to the independent obstacle performance, since Bud asked for a volunteer to perform the tunnel with the handler 1 yard away and a student at our club confidently said she could then had Bud place her one yard past the exit… 🙂 It’s been easier to get some of them to work on this. My new schip will definitely be learning to perform obstacles from any direction. Just finished watching a video of a practice session for FCI and seeing a dog run down the line of weaves and pull a u-turn at the far end nailing the entrance and the obstacle was truly spectacular to watch. I want my dog to do that too!

  4. Andrea Says:

    Loved this challenge

    much to my shock both my dogs managed it just fine 🙂
    including my little no gambles soul …

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