Dog Training 101 Seminar Homework

I’m doing a simple but fun seminar for In Contact Dog Training in Springfield, Illinois, October 18th and 19th. In this past couple years I’ve experimented with giving homework assignments in advance to give participants an opportunity to hit the ground running.

Okay, Dog Training 101 doesn’t sound very agility-like. But it would be intimidating to call this something grandiose like Teaching Independent Performance for Amazing Distance Handling. So, Dog Training 101 it is.

We want to get away from the proposition that agility is a sport for young long-legged kids who Velcro the dog to their butts and race through a numbered sequence scraping the dog off on obstacles as they go. I suppose most agility organizations favor exactly that narrow vision of the game.

Let us instead explore the possibility that we are in a contest of training our special canine friend. The dog is a clever and biddable. Let’s have a little fun with is.

Our training homework begins here:

The Back Pass

I want to teach my dog to come around my body. This is a “no handling” movement. It is, instead, a performance.

For this, I would like a command that asks the dog to circle me clockwise, and another that asks the dog to circle me counter-clockwise. If you have any experience with competitive obedience you’ll recognize that the clockwise Back Pass is a method used by some handlers to have the dog finish on heel-side.

But we’re doing agility, so we don’t want the dog to finish with a sit, but finish by exploding away from us in a new direction. And, in agility, we aim to be ambidextrous. So we want Back Pass to left and Back Pass to right.

Simple! Right?

I will share with you some YouTube recordings of me teaching my dog Cedar the Back Pass. This is your homework.

Working in the basement with Cedar, intro to the Back Pass.

You can see in this recording that the I have a distinctive hand signal to ask Cedar to come around me. Ultimately, I want to fade the hand signal land rely on verbal only.

I even turn my body a bit to pass her behind me. Obviously, I want that to go away as well.

This is a slightly more advanced workout that incorporates the Back Pass. In this training I begin to release her to performance of another agility obstacle out of the Back Pass.

** ** **

Okay, that’s enough homework for how. It might take two or three days to team your dog this simple skill. Later, we will discuss how the Back Pass is an important (but very rare) skill for dog agility.

More tomorrow or the next.

Closing Thoughts

My mind is like my internet browser. 19 tabs open, 3 of them are frozen and I have no idea where the music is coming from.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Visit our web store: You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, a comprehensive reference to all manner of agility games played for competition and fun around the world.

2 Responses to “Dog Training 101 Seminar Homework”

  1. lazytrainerblog Says:

    Wow! Great minds and all that…been teaching all three of my dogs to go around from both sides, just as a fun trick. Thanks for applying it to more then tricks!

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