Sunday Workshop

I’ve been grinding on my students for about a year now on distance training and handling. One of the essential tools for the handler is what I call the Tandem Turn. The Tandem is a form of the Rear Cross; but is distinguished from what we typically think of a Rear Cross by when we do it. The Rear Cross is a cross behind the dog on the approach to an obstacle. A Tandem is a cross behind the dog on the dismount of an obstacle, or on the flat.

Some time ago I observed that the Tandem has a special quality or two. It creates a wide sweeping turn. Compare that to the Rear Cross which creates a tightened turn (if the dog reads the cross). The Tandem also creates separation and acceleration. That means it’s a terrific tool for distance work… if you follow the expression “creates separation”.

In this sequence, for example, the handler might approach jump #3 with dog-on-right. And then showing the Tandem on the landing side can layer to the opposite side of the jumps while the dog turns and works away. I might also argue in this sequence for the handler to layer to the opposite side of jump #1 while the dog finishes the weave poles and commits to the tire at #6.

In this considerably longer sequence the handler might have another opportunity for a Tandem Turn on the landing side of jump #10. But I want you to also notice the #5 through #7 part of this sequence. I see a number of things my students might be working in this little bit. For example, we might see a pre-cue turn at jump #5; or the handler might work for a Front Cross on the landing side of jump #5. Just as likely… I’ll have students approaching jump #6 with a Tandem Turn in mind.

The Tandem Turn might actually work here… but it’s a risky bit. If the important attribute of the movement is a “wide and sweeping turn” then by all rights the dog will be swept into the wrong-course pipe tunnel (#2 opposite side). So this is really a place where the Rear Cross is the correct movement. As I tell my students, 90% of the time the Tandem is better handling than the Rear Cross… but there are times when only a Rear Cross will do.

By the way, it would be perfect in this short sequence to pre-cue the turn at jump #5, and then Rear Cross the dog at jump #6.

Left Overs

We had a lot of fun with the “Onion” this week. Those sequences will likely appear in the #6 Jokers Notebook… if I ever actually get it published! Life is busy and strange these days.

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.

3 Responses to “Sunday Workshop”

  1. Marsha Says:

    I should have been more upfront when I was at camp – please define a “pre cue”

    • budhouston Says:

      I’m so sorry I didn’t respond to this sooner.

      A “pre-cue” is giving the dog an advanced for peformance. For example, if you tell the dog to “turn right” after doing a jump but while the dog is on the approach to the jump… then you’ve given a pre-cue. Clear enough?


  2. Marsha Says:

    So another example would be telling the dog “tunnel” when the dog is approaching the jump before the tunnel?

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: