Dirty Trick Golf

This first bit is a proofing exercise for progressive sending. I’d like to be able to send my dog down a long line of obstacles while staying a considerable distance behind.

This would make a fun game… played rather like a game of golf. The score we earn with the dog depends on the length of the send. If the handler can send the dog on to the pipe tunnel while remaining behind jump #1, then the dog’s score would be 1. If the handler has to run all the way to the landing side of the tire, then the dog’s score would be 4. Lowest score wins. Time is a tie-breaker.

Then again, if a dog (or an entire class) isn’t ready for a proofing game, you might consider turning this into a training exercise; starting very near the tunnel while sending the dog forward to get in, and backing up very gradually between repetitions. A baited target-plate on the dismount of the tunnel might be a good idea to give the dog incentive to leave his handler behind. The services of a bait master would be highly desirable to deny the dog the prize if he cheats and runs past the tunnel entry to make a bee-line for the foot treat.

Dirty Trick?

Okay, after carefully conditioning the dog to blast down the line of hurdles we’ll now ask him not to do so. Instead, we’ll practice and proof turning the dog away and back using Back Crosses and the layered Tandem turn.

In these exercises the handler should be using verbal directionals tell the dog when and where to turn. If the handler uses absolute directionals then a “Right” command is about all that is required in this exercise. Otherwise the handler will use the relative directional reserved for that moment (I use the word “Turn” when working with relative directionals).

In this first proofing test the handler will turn the dog away and back after jump #3. Note that the handler approaches the jump from a healthy lateral distance. This gives him room to show both the turn and support the dog wrapping back. The handler’s path is an interesting parallel image to the dog’s desired path.

If a dog isn’t ready for a layered Tandem, the handler should do a full Tandem, crossing on the landing side of the jump.

The same layered Tandem at the tire really isn’t the same at all. The pipe tunnel is looming with magnetic appeal to the dog. Also there are some who believe that the tire shouldn’t be a focus for hard-aback turning. I clearly disagree. I want my dogs to be thoughtful masters of the tire and so I will approach the obstacle with the practice of a variety of approaches and dismounts.

If you want to make the exercise more interesting, have another go at the game Dirty Trick Golf before engaging in this proofing step.

The dynamics of the turn at the first jump are essentially the same… however the angle of approach is different, to the tune of about 45˚. Some handlers will square up to the illusion of the straight line going to the pipe tunnel here, and foil the dog’s approach to the first jump.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

What is the term, coined by German Romanticists, that is used to describe the collective conscious or spirit of an era?


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston BudHouston@hughes.net. The Country Dream web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore.

3 Responses to “Dirty Trick Golf”

  1. Adrienne Says:

    That would be an “ethos”, right?

  2. deborahauer Says:

    Zietgiest (With help from my brilliant daughter…)

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