Dead Ahead

The toughest of all distance challenges is the dead ahead send. Like all skills, this is one earned by practice and a specific program to teach the dog his job.

You’ll note in this drawing that the line of jumps is modestly curved. This is a small cheat only, acknowledging the tendency of a dog forward of the handler to curl back to the handler’s position.

I’ve documented elsewhere, to a considerable extent, the training steps for mastering this skill. To state it simply: this is an “exploding jumps” training method for the dog. We begin with the jumps close together and gradually, over time, move them farther and farther apart.

Like all basic skills we reinforce by putting the application of that skill into sequencing work. The dog can generalize the behavior and performance in more complex contexts. In this sequence I’ve added the proofing of an advance skill, calling the dog through the performance of the weave poles.

In my own work I want to make sure my dog is following my instructions and not simply being a patterned smart aleck. And so I will mix into the work a variety of proofs of skills. In this working set I’m also interested in working with directionals. I can tell my dog “Jump Left” on any of the three jumps. Note that I use the directional as precue advance to my dog. That means I’ll tell him that he’ll be turning left before he actually jumps the jump.

Interesting Times

Okay I’ve been embroiled in big changes within the structure of the TDAA. I’ve also been engaged in a Top Secret dog agility project; code named Top Dog. As I write this I’m in the airport in Chicago, waiting for my flight to Dallas where I’ll be leading a TDAA Judges’ Clinic.

And so my blog has suffered some neglect. It’s like an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times!”

I haven’t slept well lately. I didn’t really want to assume broader responsibility for the TDAA. I have no such ambition. But after about seven years of operation the politics have become insufferable; and the Association tends to be lax on the conduct of really basic business and customer service issues.

Several Days Later

Okay… just about a week later actually… I’ve returned home after conducting the TDAA judges’ clinic. It’s a fine bunch of new judges we’ll be adding to the web site. The competitors in the Dallas area were a lot of fun and have embraced the TDAA and welcome a venue dedicated to small dogs.

I didn’t have a reliable internet connection most of the time I was there. But to tell you the truth I was generally too tired to do much work. I’ve started several different blog topics. I’ll try to spiff them up over the next couple days to share a thought or two with you.

I have a lot of TDAA business pressing in on me. It looks like my semi-retirement is over for the time being.

BLOG669

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/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.

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