Ketchker in the Control Position

I think more and more about “control position” on the agility course. That’s that moment that requires the handler’s presence to solve. My training objectives are to limit the number of “control positions” by training to a conditioned response to verbal commands. But let’s face it, there’s stuff you just aren’t going to talk (or train) your way out of.

BLOG908_01Here’s a bit I find interesting. The challenging part is the transition from jump #3 to jump #5. Mind you, the handler coming off the A-frame might solve this with amazing simplicity and grace and with uncomplicated handling choices. I’m tempted to set it up and just run some different handling options to see how it goes.

Note first of all that the dog coming off the A-frame might easily fix on the dummy pipe tunnel straight ahead. If this has no other consequence, it might draw the dog wider in the turn to jump #3 than the handler wanted – then presenting the #6 jump as a wrong course option… when it should not have been.

After jump #3 is a tight little turn back to jump #4. If the handler doesn’t manage this well the dog’s path might turn too wide between the two jumps, making the turn to jump #6 acute and uncomfortable.


My solution to this requires a lateral distance during my dog’s performance of the A-frame and a 2o2o with a verbal release. As he comes a stride or two off the A-frame I’ll start a counter-rotation (Front Cross) but leave it incomplete so that I am facing back-wards when presenting the #3 jump. As he goes over the jump, I study his turn over my left shoulder, and as I feel his nose come around roughly towards jump #3, I finish the movement with a Blind Cross and push to the #4 jump. I’ve just described what I’ve called a Flip for the longest time… and the world pretty much calls a Ketchker these days.

And oh, by the way, I’ll have to Rear Cross jump #4 giving a verbal directive to my dog to turn Right.

Top Dog

We’ve published two new courses for Top Dog League Play beginning in July and we’re about to make some interesting revisions to the rules of play. Go here to look at our new courses:


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The web store is up and running. I have five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook available on my web-store at an inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.


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2 Responses to “Ketchker in the Control Position”

  1. beth murray Says:

    Like the do over…

  2. Rose Says:

    I was surprised that you chose to go to the take-off side of #3. I set this sequence up this morning and videoed. First I handled it like I would at a trial and then I tried using distance so I could stay out of the 4,5,6 pocket entirely. We were eventually successful, but once again I was shown that you have to work the obstacle you’re on until your dog is committed to it before moving on to what coming up next. Here’s a link to the video:

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