Call To and Around-The-Clock

It has been a very busy month for me. So the homework I had intended for a seminar at In Contact next month hasn’t been coming along at a furious pace. That’s fine, I’m sure. It’s always hard to cram two years of dog training into a couple short months.

Sub-title: Dog Training 101 ~ part 3

Today I made a recording for the In Contact students… and put it on YouTube. I had to… after all, in a moment of Zen… I share the Secret of Dog Training, for the first time, ever.

The objective of this exercise is to practice equipment (especially the technical equipment) with the dog coming toward your position. I showed this exercise using the set of the floor for the NDAL 50×50 Premium course for September. And I’m not abashed to admit that I want this skill for this particular course.

Cedar Come to Training:

It strikes me as I look at the recording that my work with Cedar incorporate a variety of skills all of which have their own training objectives and steps. In addition to the “Come To” I was working on a Back Pass (which was substantially failing in this recording); a modest “Around the Clock” approach to the tire; as well as Left and Right directional.

I will share with you the “Around the Clock” training basics, below.

Around the Clock

The first rule of distance training is that the dog needs to understand the performance of the obstacle. What we have to do in the training of the dog is to ask the question… “do you know how to do this obstacle?”

In the discussion below I show the handler making the introduction of a “hoop” to the dog. In case you don’t know the hoop is an obstacle used by NADAC. I find it to be an excellent obstacle for training a very young dog because there won’t be any stress from jumping. Later we’ll transfer the same method to jumps, and to the tire.


This is around-the-clock training. It is also a progressive sending exercise. Though clearly as we begin the send might only be a matter of inches. Because we want the dog to go forward of the handler to go through the hoop we might introduce the directional command “Go On!”

I show in the drawing clock positions #6 back through #3. These correspond with the numbers on a clock and are only intended as rough references. While sending the dog forward to go through the hoop the handler/dog trainer might move only in small incremental steps around the circumference of the clock.

One of the benefits of this training is to teach the dog to “square up” a bit for the performance of an obstacle. With hoops it isn’t a very dramatic action. By the time we introduce the tire (using the same method) squaring up will be considerably more important.


There is a point in training that we can be pretty confident that the dog understands his job… the performance of the obstacle. In this drawing I show the handler making his start with the dog roughly 25′ from the center of the clock. Under my rules of “asking the question” I begin with my dog at side facing neatly in the direction of the hoop and take a single step, while pointing forward, telling my dog to “go on, hoop!”

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