The “No Handling” Dismount

The purpose of this training is to develop a set of directional cues for a dog dismounting a contact obstacle. You must recognize that this will be very different for a dog that finishes the contact in an unambiguous stop; compared to the dog doing a contact-in-motion.

For the dog assuming a 2o/2o there should be a palpable moment of hesitation in the moment before release. For the dog with a running contact the dismount is complicated by the simple inertia of movement.

Like all dog training missions, this isn’t something you would do in a single session and then decide that you “own it” or “it doesn’t work for my dog”. Again I subscribe to the Rule of 5000. It is an ongoing program applied with careful consistency as though we were developing precise syntax for language. That is exactly what we’re doing. Training and proofing are applied both in daily workout with the dog and in competition.

I am approaching this training with a “no handling” criteria mostly to insure my dog’s raw understanding of the verbal cue. Any handling assistance the dog gets will be from the handler’s posture ~ from a stationary position.

The illustration shows four possible directions and outcomes from the contact dismount:

A.                To the “A” pipe tunnel ~ “Left! Tunnel!” command. The handler rotates toward the dog pushing with pressure on the outside shoulder.

B.                To the “B” straight-ahead jump ~  “Go on! Jump!” command. The handler simply faces and points forward, taking a single accelerating step.

C.                To the “C” right-side jump ~ “Right! Jump!” command. The handler turns simply toward the jump.

D.               To the “D” blind-approach pipe tunnel ~ “Right! Close! Right! Tunnel!” command sequence (though it’s unlikely there is time to get out that many words). The handler rotates toward the dog with pulling pressure on the inside shoulder.

Certainly these easy transitions can be managed with the handler moving in a way to suggest the proper course and direction on the dismount. I’m contemplating the inevitability that the handler might not achieve a control position and so should own a well-trained and well-proofed dialog for verbal directive.

A running contact is a slightly different problem as the dog will dismount with inertia that simply does not exist with a dog in a full stop in a 2o/2o. For the contact-in-motion the handler must find the correct timing for the verbal directional cue so that the dog understands his mission before he’s entirely off the ramp. If the handler is tardy in his directions then both inertia and guessing (on the dog’s part) conspire against a successful outcome.

Managed contacts “handling initiative” are successful mostly when the handler can achieve a control position on the dismount or, when working at a distance, by crossing one’s fingers. The handler will basically tap the brakes as the dog dismounts and give the directional cue when the dog touches yellow.

Personal Footnote on this Training

Since I showed my boy Kory the turn-away into the tunnel (which we can do with me 50 feet away, at least) he’s developed a bit of a smart-aleck attitude about it and will as often as not make an assumption about the tunnel tucked under the contact ramp as he comes down. What that means is that he’ll predispose himself to fold off the ramp into the tunnel. Let’s face it guys… it’s a powerful tool if that’s the next correct obstacle… but it’s just a wrong course if it is not. So it’s vital to my training program that I leave him guessing and frankly waiting for my cue as to direction on the dismount of a contact.

Elephant in the Room v Achievement Objectives

We’ve gone to a series of focused topics for our monthly mini-clinics here at Country Dream Dog Agility. Today the topic is “Contacts”. This will not be a simple matter of the dismount (whether the dog is on 2o/2o, running, or handling initiative). We also need to address issues of speed, focus, performance at a distance, and discrimination.

Over the next few days I’ll share elements of the lesson plan with you and, as much as possible, a bit or two that I learn in the presentation. (Yes, I always learn when I teach).

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

What is the model of radio teletype machine on which the Japanese Declaration of War was received immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor?


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The Country Dream web store is up and running.

2 Responses to “The “No Handling” Dismount”

  1. Erica Says:

    The official message was received (late) on a Teletype Model 15; the incercepted messages were processed on Purple machines. My dad had wanted to be a cryptographer…

    • budhouston Says:

      This is an excellent guess as the Model 15 was the workhorse of point-to-point tape machines for the defense department in the years before Autodin came into existence. I would like to see the citation. I have always believed that the message was received on the AN/TGC-14A(V) [Always pronounce the last two characters “Alpha” and “Victor”.]

      You’re right… we got the declaration of war *after* they attacked Pearl Harbor.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: