Archive for September, 2013

The Education of Prim

September 24, 2013

We have this young Border Collie pup named Prim. She comes to us from a dog shelter in Cincinnati. She didn’t really fit with the pack very well, from the beginning. We didn’t get a good bond. There’s no question about that. We placed her for a bit with Marsha’s sister. But that pretty much ended when Prim bit her (Marsha’s sister). Prim isn’t like a vicious dog or anything. She has a startle response that resolves to a bite… a bite that doesn’t draw blood or anything; but a bite none-the-less. Indeed, Prim has bitten Marsha once, and me twice.

When Prim was returned to us, about a week ago, I pretty much knew that I had to amend my slothful approach to her education. I have resorted to a dog training methodology for which I have never been a zealous advocate. It’s basically a “nothing in life is free” kind of thing. I housed her down in the training building, segregated from the pack. And I’ve spent the week doing seven-a-day sessions with her. About every two hours I go out to the training building, get her out of her x-pen (on-leash); walk her to do her business, and then do a training session with her.

The early results have been spectacular. I’d do a blow by blow; but the hour is late and I need to move on to other compelling tasks. But I’ll catch you up with what we’re doing in the next couple of days.

Class Tonight

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This is a very old exercise in my repertoire. It’s a crossing exercise that allows the handler to practice and perfect a couple different kinds of Front Crosses and/or a couple different kinds of Rear Crosses.

It occurs to me that old exercises can be dusted off and updated with new skills that demand our attention in competition today. I’ll illustrate:

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This is not just a back-side approach to a jump, but also a pull/push-through to set up the approach to the jump. I personally solve this with a Back Pass. But you should know that there are several interesting solutions.

Lost Lesson Plan

Here’s a part of a lesson plan from a couple weeks ago. While I was “unplugged” I didn’t actually share it with you. As you can see, I was still obsessed with cluster work.

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Ass Pass Class

Okay, I reported in my last blog that Queen City has started offering an Ass Pass Class. My bad. The class is actually a “Backside Jumping” class. That means they are training strategies for the blind or managed approach to an obstacle. Just to be clear… it was reported to me as an Ass Pass Class. You can see the confusion between Backside and Ass.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. The web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore. 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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Ass Pass Class

September 11, 2013

 

Okay, I have to say right off the bat that I’ve wanted to call this movement a “Back-Pass”. But it sounds to me like the terminology that’s catching on in the world has devolved to “Ass Pass”. Fine then.

Awhile back I speculated that in another 10 years the Backpass would be a common movement in agility. I need to amend that prediction; at this point I think it’s going to be more like two years. Up at Queen City (Cincinnati, OH) they’re offering an “Ass Pass Class”. I’m mildly curious about the objectives of the class. I expect early on they’ll focus on simply teaching their dogs to curl tightly around the handler’s body (both in clockwise and counter-clockwise movement).

What I’m more interested in right now is application. Fundamentally the Backpass accomplishes the same thing as a Front Cross. You could make an argument that it’s a form of the Blind Cross; but the technical execution is considerably different. The performance, by the dog, is to circle the handler’s body neat and tight.

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In this drawing I show a five-sided “cluster”. The handler has a lead out advantage forward of the dog. As the dog commits over jump #2 the handler gives a command for a click-wise Backpass (the command I use is “Come By”). Note in the drawing that I’ve established the handler’s left foot pointing to and releasing to the #3 jump.

You should also recognize that I probably would not use a Backpass if the dog turns to the left after jump #3. The movement has a vee-set quality in this instance that sets the dog up nicely for a right turn after jump #3.

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In class this week we played a bit with the pull/push-through challenge. I’m not sure if I really designed the perfect working set. But it was interesting.

In this sequence the moment for the Backpass is in the transition from jump #7 to jump #8. Of course the dog needs a good independent performance of the dogwalk so the handler can have a control position well on the landing side of jump #7.

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Marsha and I are taking off tomorrow afternoon for Cincinnati. I’m doing a warm-up workshop on Friday. Of course I plan to give them a good warm-up. I’ll continue studying on both the obstacle “cluster”, the blind approach, and the pull-through. I’ll have to design something in the morning…

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. The web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore. 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.