Archive for the ‘Dog Agility Training’ Category

Hurricane Harvey Humane Society Initiative

September 1, 2017

I’ve been watching with particular anguish the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Houston community. Being a dog person I worry for the welfare of dogs that have been caught up in this catastrophe. And so, in the month of September the National Dog Agility league will donate ALL income to the Houston Humane Society[1].

Okay, to be real, the income for the NDAL is several hundred dollars each month. The NDAL is not an agility organization that has worried over great profits. We do agility for fun and recreation with like-minded agility people. I might have ambition to do more for dogs (and other animals) in Houston, but I’m an old man who lives on his Social Security check. So, this is what I can do.

If you’ve ever considered playing with us… we welcome new clubs and individuals that might want to play with us in September.

Overview of the NDAL

We do “league play”. League scores are made up of the top five scores for dogs in each franchise (no matter how many dogs they run in each game). If you can’t put together at least five dogs, it’s no worry. You’ll surely have fun running the courses.

Cost

Each club pays only $1 / run / dog as a recording fee.

The biggest initial expense for each club is registration for individual dogs. This costs $10. And income for dogs registered in September WILL go to the Houston Human society. You can find the dog registration form here:

http://www.dogagility.org/documents/FilesForms/TopDogRegistration.pdf

YouTube

Most of our league performances include a link to a YouTube recording. There’s actually a field in the scorekeeping worksheet for the YouTube URL. If you play with us in September we would be greatly impressed if you include a link to YouTube. Watching other players from around the world is surely half the fun. The recording will exist forever in the results for that game or course!

Leagues

At the risk of heaping a lot on you at once … We run four ongoing leagues that are based on a) The size of the working space; and b) the level of challenge.

Most of our franchise clubs compete in more than one of the leagues. A few of the teams compete in all four! Course are closely nested, making it fairly easy to transition from league-to-league as a single event.

Below I will share with you posts of our August 2017 results. Drill down a bit… and you can find the YouTube recordings of nearly every agility performance! Each of these also includes a preview of the courses we are running in September.

50×50 International

50×70 Fast & Fun

60×90 Masters

36×85 Fast & Fun

Jumping into the League

New clubs are always welcome to join us for play in the NDAL.

Follow us on Facebook

If you need ANY help participating in September, please don’t hesitate to contact the NDAL League Secretary: Bud Houston ~ Houston.bud@gmail.com.

Rules

NDAL rules for performance most closely resemble USDAA and TDAA rules. Each club is expected to supply their own judge(s) who should be expected to read and understand these simple rules for agility performance.

Click to download the Top Dog Rules and Regulations eBook:

http://www.dogagility.org/documents/FilesForms/TopDogRules3.5.pdf

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. 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.

[1] I saw a Facebook post by Mary Jo Sminkey recommending the Houston Human Society for donations. We want any money to go where it might do the most good.

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Distance Trained Dog in Seven Days

August 12, 2017

Have you ever noticed the Novice dog in competition who might happily run past any number of jumps… but maybe veer inexplicably out of the handler’s control to dive into a pipe tunnel or jump into a two-on/two-off position on a contact obstacle? I’ve call this “returning to the scene of the crime!” The dog is offering performances for those obstacles where he earns a lot of reward!

This is easy to fix: Include in the dog’s foundation exercises that build obstacle focus for the ubiquitous bar jump. The dog should understand the performance unattended by the handler. By definition, this means “independent” performance.

Return to the Exploding Pinwheel

Teach the dog the performance of a pinwheel as though it were a single obstacle with multiple elements. Think of pinwheel as you might think of the weave poles. The Poles are only one obstacle. Take the same ambition with a pinwheel.

Day 1 ~ We begin with the jumps in the pinwheel pushed very close together, virtually touching in the center of the “wheel”. The handler from the beginning remains in one quadrant.

We began the training with a three-jump pinwheel. At the beginning of the exercise the wings were touching, making it impossible for the handler to step in to attend every jump. Our objective, after all, is to teach the dog to seek out the jumps without the handler being imbedded in the context of presentation or performance.

This is our young Pip… a terrier with an introduction to the exercise:

Day 2 ~ On the second day a fourth jump is added to the pinwheel with the spacing between jumps pretty much where we left off on day one. During the exercise we will “explode” the jumps modestly farther apart. Note that the handler is teaching the directional command “Go On” in this training.

Day 3 ~ On the third day the jumps are “exploded” to a greater extent. The dog’s training is constantly studying the focus of the dog… that is, the dog keeping his/her attention forward studying the work ahead. Note that the handler when not moving well (albeit intentionally)… will face each jump in turn. When the handler isn’t moving he can give focus and direction to the obstacle by facing it, looking at it, and pointing to it.

Day 4 ~ On the fourth day Pip gets a new handler. This is a nice easy test of generalization. Pip understood the exercise working with another handler. We’ll test to see if she still knows her job (or if her brain explodes) when we approach the (even bigger) pinwheel with a new handler.

Days 5/6 ~ On the fifth day we made the pinwheel modestly bigger, asking for Pip to work with the handler putting progressively more distance in the send. We did not get a video recording of Pip’s fifth day in the Exploding Pinwheel exercise.

On the sixth day the pinwheel was “exploded” to be quite a bit bigger, getting to be more like the pinwheels we see in competition. We also had the distraction of a barking dog.

Day 7 ~ On the seventh day of this protocol we’ve endeavored to try Pip on the distance challenge from our NDAL League Play course. To earn a bonus the handler is required to send the dog over a big flat pinwheel of jumps while the handler is constrained by a containment line. This is a pretty challenging bit for a nine-month-old dog.

Extrapolation

That was a lot of fun! I’m frankly pleased with Pip’s progress in this exercise. Don’t you know my entire agility career I’ve trained and handled dogs from the Herding Group. I’m sure I’ve said from time to time that I require a dog that makes me look smarter than I really am.

So I don’t know if Pip’s apparent success in the exercise means she’s an exceptional dog (in the Terrier Group)… or if it’s an absolute validation of the training method.

But I am tickled pink by her progress.

Below, I will share the NDAL league game that we trained on in Pip’s seventh day of Pinwheel training. The league is really quite fun. We have several hundred dogs in clubs around the world competing each month on four league games (based on the size of the floor, naturally). And most performances are on YouTube! It’s fun to see how handlers in faraway places (Australia and South Africa) solve the riddles posed by the games we play.

The NDAL league courses are invaluable for training and (for my part) the recreation.

NDAL 60×90 Masters

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Briefing

Power & Speed is a two-part game. The first part, POWER is untimed. Any faults earned are added to the dog’s overall score. Refusals will NOT be faulted. However, three “on & off” refusals will be deemed a Failure to Perform.

The SPEED part is timed. This game is scored Time, Plus Faults, Less Bonus.

A TimeWarp Bonus (10 points) is earned for the dog working away at jumps #7 through #9 without fault, while the handler works on the opposite side of the handler containment line (red line).

New players are always welcome in the NDAL

If you would like to join us for play in August you can download the scorekeeping worksheet here:

http://www.dogagility.org/documents/Events/Scoresheet080117C60x90.xls

Dogs are required to be registered with the NDAL to be eligible for play. You can download the registration form here:

http://www.dogagility.org/documents/FilesForms/TopDogRegistration.pdf

You are bound to have questions about how we work. Please direct these questions to the NDAL League Secretary ~ Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com.

Like us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/TopDogAgilityPlayers/

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. 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.

Progressive Lateral Sequencing

April 8, 2017

In preparation for a distance training seminar at Clermont County at the end of April, I am posing a variety of distance training exercises for the clinic participants.

You can’t really do a distance seminar the same way you might do handler training. In a handling seminar you just grab the dog and run. Distance is all about dog training and homework and the ambition and work ethic of the dog trainer. And so, I give homework. I’m delighted to present years of homework and study to be accomplished in a few weeks.

In today’s exercise, the set of the floor allows the practice of lateral sequencing.

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The progression has the handler working at a greater and greater lateral distance to the dog. The illustration shows three lines which step at 6′ intervals away from the dog. It’s not necessary to take such large progressive steps if the dog is unused to the handler being at any distance.

The YouTube recording features Katniss, who was nearly flawless. The exercise doesn’t always go smoothly. But it is a training exercise, after all. A “failure” in training is just information. It might mean that the trainer is progressing too quickly and expecting too much.

Triangular Pressure

“Triangular Pressure” is not common to the language of dog agility. This discussion is based on the observations of a handler and dog trainer who relentlessly amuses himself with distance training and play at distance games.

When a handler runs at the side of the dog the two are running in harmonious parallel. However when the handler has resolved to move little in order to gain some advantage in real estate then the rules of parallel motion are disturbed.

Triangular Pressure is the overt application of movement by the handler against the dog’s path to bring a target obstacle or path into focus. And it’s not as complicated as I’ve made it sound.

In today’s exercise the handler has been coached to apply Triangular Pressure to sell the lateral path to which the handler will move in parallel:

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This illustration shows that the initial thrust of the handler’s movement is nearly T-square against the dog’s transitional path to jump #3. The timing of the movement would have to be nearly immediately after the dog dismounts the pipe tunnel at #2.

It has been my observation that this works neatly with dogs accustomed to working independently. Triangular Pressure might be less successful with dogs accustomed to being velcro’d to the handler’s bum.

Time Warp

The exercise described above is based on the set of the floor for the March 2017 NDAL Masters League. This is a fun game called Time Warp in which dog and hander teams can demonstrate their distance skills.

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Time Warp is scored Time, Plus Faults, Less Bonus. The rules for performance in the NDAL closely resemble USAA (Advanced) and the TDAA. That means there are very few faults resulting in elimination. It is the intention of the league to achieve a certain granularity of performance that allows the placement and ranking of performances.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. 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.

The First Agility Skill I Teach a Dog

April 7, 2017

I have an ambition with my agility dog to teach independent performance. That ethic is taught early to the dog in a simple exercise… a send around a barrel.

The Accelerating Step

It’s a mistake to think that “distance” work with a dog has anything to do with standing still. Indeed the movement of the handler continues to speak to the dog. The Laws of a Dog in Motion are constant.

A basic discipline of the distance handler is the timing and placement of an “accelerating step”. It is a last moment step that establishes direction and motive to the dog. I say last moment to mean that in the moment after the step the rear of the dog is addressing the handler. And, as we all know, that is not the end of the dog with the eyes. So the dog mightn’t immediately know that the handler isn’t coming with.

It’s important to understand something important about the physical anatomy of the dog (aside from understanding which end has the eyes)… A dog’s field of vision is roughly 270°. This means that the dog feels the movement and antics of the handler even when the handler is slightly behind and to the side.

A human person has a field of vision of approximately 180°. You can test this: hold your arms at shoulder level straight out to your sides, and then fan your hands. In your peripheral vision you can just feel the movement on either side. If you were a dog the handler would feel the movement if you folded the arms back another 45° on either side.

A basic skill of the distance handler is the accelerating step. The following recording on YouTube provides a bit of illustration of testing the accelerating step:

The testing might have been better served by giving the dog a greater runway of movement. In the recorded example the handler had only a short approach to the send.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. 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.

Clermont Continued… Absolute Directionals

April 5, 2017

The Masters game we’re playing this month with the NDAL is a Time Warp. That means there are several distance challenges that award bonuses that are subtracted from the dog’s Time Plus Faults score. In the game we are playing is the dog earns 5 bonus points for each pipe tunnel performed, so long as the handler is on the opposite side of the containment line.

You would think that a send to the tunnel is an easy kind of objective. But in this game we have a couple tunnel performances which probably require skills more advanced than a simple send to the tunnel.

Here’s the set of the floor:

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The two tunnel performances that are a bit problematic are… #16 and #18. If the handler remains behind the containment line for #16 it’s possible that the dog will earn a refusal at the dogwalk on the dismount. So it would be advantageous for the handler to have a strong “Right” command to bend the dog directly out of the pipe tunnel and onto the dogwalk. It’s worth noting that the handler can actually step over the “containment” line as the dog finishes #16; so long as the dog is completely out of the tunnel. Timing might be a chancy thing.

Absolute Directionals ~ Tunnel Dogwalk Transition

The #18 pipe tunnel has no allowance for stepping over the line. The handler needs a strong “Right” turning command, or a very convincing “Tandem” from a distance to turn the dog away and into the pipe tunnel.

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This is the basic training sequence. It might be approached by the clever dog trainer in modest incremental steps, beginning near to the dogwalk at first, and gradually working farther and farther away from the dog.

There’s no real substitute for the dog actually knowing “Left” and “Right”. But failing that, the handler might also develop relative handler cues (and antics) which speak to the dog to turn.

Here’s a YouTube video of our own work on this training sequence:

I’ll have more for you, tomorrow.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. 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.

Distance Training at Clermont

April 4, 2017

For the up and coming distance training seminar at Clermont County (Milford, OH) I have already specified a bit of homework. I’m recognizing that the homework is to an extent overwhelming.

The curriculum for distance training is a simple matter, really. The dog’s trainer has specific objectives and is armed with exercises and protocols to achieve those objectives. Then it’s a simple matter of putting together a daily training regimen that develops those skills in a modest and progressive structured training program.

To facilitate ongoing training with my own dogs I use the “set of the floor” in my own training center to find training and proofing exercises to further the skills of my own dogs. With this in mind we’ve set up the April 2007 NDAL Masters course to find suitable distance training exercises for our dogs.

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As luck would have it… the NDAL course for April is a game that rewards bonuses to the dog for several distance challenges.

For the next several days I will find exercises in this set of the floor that suitable for a distance training program. These might emphasize skills used in the NDAL game; or might be totally unrelated to the game but serve our objective to teach the dog great distance skills.

Lateral Distance on the A-frame

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This is a simple exercise, really. We want the dog to finish the performance of the A‑frame with the handler working at a progressive lateral distance. This training is complicated by the dismount protocol used by the handler. The handler might want a “running contact”… or, as in our case, the handler might want a 2o2o unambiguous finish to the A-frame.

This is a slightly advanced study because the handler is seeking not only a clear 2o2o until released, but the handler is working to continue in motion while the dog assumes the unambiguous finish position.

The training steps have been recorded here:

This recording features our red-headed crazy boy, Phoenix… who really needs this work.

I’ll have more for you, tomorrow.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. 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.

Using the Front of the Ring in Course Design

March 28, 2017

The purpose of the Course Design College topics is to share design tips with all of our judges. Making the teaching point one judge at a time is useful. But sharing with all of our judges is practical.

After a long road trip I’m catching up on TDAA course reviews (and other work as well). I’d like to share with you an important observation about course design for the TDAA.

I got this course for review in an upcoming trial:

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Aside from small technical notations, what really jumps out about this course is that the designer pretty much disdained the use of the front of the ring, thereby making a small space even smaller. It’s not really a bad course concept, but the back of the ring feels very cramped. The course designer is asking the handler to demonstrate some fairly technical skills with barely enough room to work.

Don’t you know, we design for some pretty small spaces in the TDAA. A design flaw when you have 10K square feet can be forgiven. Make the same mistake in 2K square feet and the compression can be awesome and unforgiving.

I’m going to redesign this course and barely tweak the placement of the equipment to demonstrate how using the front of the ring might alleviate the compression:

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The intention was to demonstrate how using the front of the ring distributes the flow and frankly results in a smoother more balanced design. Note that borders have also been applied to the course map, and course numbering was changed from baseline to Cartesian.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. 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.

Distance Progressions

March 12, 2017

Distance training is nearly always a matter of modest and incremental progression. The mission is to teach the dog to work independently, without constant micro-management. I’ve taken the set of our training floor (for this week) to show several possible distance exercises.

Dead-Away Send

By way of example of incremental progression, I’ll show a simple exercise in which the dog is taught a dead-away send into a pipe tunnel.

We have video of the three jumps to tunnel distance progression here:

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The dog’s trainer might begin near to the tunnel whilst sending the dog to the performance; gradually backing up with each successful repetition until the send incorporates the jump.

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There’s no real reason to limit the objective to a single jump. The training might span more than one or two training sessions with the dog. The dog trainer continues to back up in successive repetitions until the send incorporates two jump.

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Not to set too low a bar… the dog’s trainer should take advantage of the patterning implicit in these training sessions. Continue to incrementally add new distance to the send. A three jump send to the tunnel is immodest. But modesty is not our objective.

I went through this progression without discussion of the handler. While the handler isn’t much involved in the performance he (or she) is certainly a part. What the dog’s trainer should contemplate is the “picture” of the handler making the send. This is what I look like when I’m making the send (facing, pointing, focus, lift of the arm, and so forth). This is what I sound like when I’m making the send (timely clear enunciation). This picture is intended to speak to the dog and complete the command phrase.

Certainly if the handler didn’t want the dog to go ahead to the tunnel, the picture would look quite different.

Progressive Lateral

Another type of incremental progression is the lateral distance exercise. A dog’s path in agility tends to work parallel to the dog’s path. But paths can be parallel at a respectable distance. And so the dog trainer’s objective is to earn a lot of respect.

We have video of the pinwheel to the teeter lateral distance progression here:

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In this simple sequence the early objective is to turn the dog through a three jump pinwheel, to finish on the teeter. The overall objective is for the dog trainer to send the dog through the pinwheel unattended and commit the dog to the performance of the teeter without hovering over the performance

Note that the handler begins the pinwheel from the “tandem” side, meaning that the handler starts on the side away from the turn and crosses behind the dog on the landing side. The Tandem turn is a handler movement that boosts the dog’s speed and creates separation (and consequently… distance)

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Incrementally the dog trainer lengthens the lateral distance he is working, parallel to the dog. In this drawing the original path is drawn in a pale shaded color so you can see how the dog trainer allows the dog to work at a greater distance.

Note too that the handler makes his approach to the first jump at a distance lateral to the dog.

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And again, the dog trainer increases his lateral distance to the dog. Again the previous path is shown in a pale shaded color.

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Earlier I pointed out that the dog trainer makes the approach to the first jump at a lateral distance. The objective is to give enough room so that when the dog comes up over the jump the handler has room to step and sell the turn without getting caught behind the jump. Now, as the dog turns away to engage the pinwheel the handler layers to the opposite side of the entire pinwheel. The handler works parallel to the dog at a fairly impressive distance.

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Just as a bit of proofing we’ve added to the exercise a pipe tunnel that will allow the dog trainer to proof the exercise with a new variable.

Independent Weaves

A variety of independent performance skills might be approached using progression methodology. The weave poles are of particular interest to the dog trainer.

We have video of the 180 weave pole distance progression here:

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There’s always a question with the weave poles whether the handler should shape the approach or trust the dog to know his job (get in, and go through).

Begin the progressing training by modestly shaping the approach to the weave poles.

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Like all progressions the handler will gradually make the send from farther and farther back down the line of approach. In this exercise the entry is virtually at 180°.

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Ultimately the handler should be able to send the dog from an impressive to gain the entry to the weave poles. Note that the dog must learn to collect himself to make the entry in a controlled manner.

Set of the Floor

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It should come as no surprise that the set of the floor for these training sessions is based on a National Dog Agility League course. This is the 60′ x 90′ Masters game. The game is “Time Warp”. A dog doing the pinwheel and weave poles without fault and with the handler on the opposite side of the containment line will earn a 10 point bonus. The game is scored Time, Plus Faults, Less Bonus.

Kory’s run on this course:

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. Visit our web store: www.dogagility.org/newstore. 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.

Yet Another Discussion of Kentucky Windage

February 26, 2017

Kentucky Windage is a very old term in the American lexicon, although too few remember the meaning. The Kentucky rifleman, a keen shooter responsible for getting the food that appeared on his family’s dinner table, understood that the bullet moving through space would be pushed away from the target by any wind. And so the shooter would lean his shot into the wind to compensate for the push of the wind so that the wind would carry the bullet to the target rather than away from it.

By analogy we can compare the bullet moving through space to the dog working forward of the handler. It is one of the Laws of a Dog in Motion: A dog forward of the handler tends to curl back to the handler’s position.

In this sequence the handler is attempting a modest send over two jumps to the pipe tunnel:

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Though the handler has lined up the jumps nice ‘n neat, once the dog gets forward of the handler’s position he is liable to curl back towards the handler and consequently the wind has pushed the dog away from the target.

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The savvy distance handler will adjust the line of the dog’s path to accommodate and anticipate the dog curling in; so that now that curl will bring the dog to target rather than off of it.

I will continue this discussion tomorrow. This is an important training exercise which some dogs and handlers (maybe in Oklahoma) are likely to practice in the near future.

The Tandem Turn ~ a Secret Weapon for Distance Work

A Tandem Turn is a form of the rear cross. We typically use the expression “Rear Cross” when the handler crosses behind the dog on the approach to an obstacle. The Tandem Turn is a cross behind the dog on the dismount of an obstacle, or on the flat.

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Here’s a video of Brenda Gilday running her girl Leela on this sequence:

[I’m going to go out on a limb here. 90% of the time the Tandem is a better option than a raw rear cross. The other 10%… only a rear cross will do.]

 

The attributes of the Tandem are worth discussing. The Tandem creates separation and acceleration. Note that the handler’s cue isn’t much more than turning the corner in plain sight of the dog.

Changing the Sequence

The “bootlace” isn’t much more than a foil for testing distance skills. Two jumps down to the tunnel, and two jumps back illustrates a simple principle of “distance” work… the farther away goes the dog, the farther ahead is the handler.

We’re going to change the sequence just a bit, to illustrate an important attribute of the Back Pass.

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In this exercise the sequence calls for a pull-through to a back-side jump at #5. Initially the handler uses her distance skills to gain a position forward of the dog for the Back Pass. A very important attribute of the Back Pass is that the dog drops completely out of obstacle focus and into handler focus. And so the handler doesn’t have to “handle” the tricky transition between the two wrong-course jump options. The handler need only take the post position.

Here’s a video of Brenda Gilday running her girl Leela on this sequence:

Notes Aside

We should get out of our heads the notion that “distance” work has anything to do with the handler standing still whilst giving verbal cues to the dog. Distance is a matter of allowing the dog to work at full speed as the handler moves from control position to control position, all the while contriving to support the dog with complimentary movement… at a distance; while managing to arrive where he needs to be at precisely the moment he needs to be there.

Teaching is a game of repetition. I think I first documented Kentucky Windage as an agility concept something like 20 years ago. But don’t you know… a new generation is upon us. Very little in the science of dog agility has really changed. It must always be learned anew.

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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. You’ll find in the web store The Joker’s Notebook, an invaluable reference for teaching an agility dog (and his handler) to work a distance apart.

Ambition

February 16, 2017

In this blog I have been publishing a series of homework exercises for the up-and-coming distance seminar with Canine Manners in Broken Arrow, OK. I’m near to finishing the series, not so much because we’re really done. I’m frankly concerned with heaping too much in the way of work and expectation on those brave souls who’ve elected to attend the seminar.

Distance seminars have always been difficult for me. The real topic in these seminars is “train the dog”. In two or four days you really can’t realize the central ambition of the task. Training the dog is a matter of patience and persistence.

I’ve always said that I’m patient with training a dog because I know exactly how long it takes. The punch line, of course is … “It takes as long as it takes.”

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NOUN

1.a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.

synonyms: aspiration · intention · goal · aim · objective · object · purpose · intent ·

Send Around a Barrel

This is a very basic skill that I’ve taught to by agility dogs for about 30 years now. It’s simple and fundamental. Because it’s low impact, sending around a barrel can be taught to a very young pup. Consequently one of the first lessons learned by a dog is to go out and offer an independent performance.

In the Jokers Notebook (issue #0) refer to “Go Around” on page 30.

This was a demonstration video only. Working with Kory, I made a bit of a mistake in putting his reward (the Fisbee) on top of the barrel. But you can get the feeling of it.

Backside Jump

It strikes me that the “Go Around” the barrel might be leveraged into solving a fairly advanced challenge in International style agility coursework… the “backside” jump.

Using “Go Around” to teach a “Backside” is an interesting concept.

In competition the handler might only resort to such a thing when faced with one of those bloody-minded courses with control positions stretching to corners of the ring.

Minuet

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How would you handle such a challenge? Note that in a Minuet the handler will run the same sequence over and over again until the expiration of time.

In a minuet each successfully performed sequence scores 1 point. Should the dog take a wrong course, then the sequence must be started from the beginning. If the dog drops a bar, the handler is required to reset that bar, and resume from that point. When time expires the dog must be directed to the table to stop time. The Minuet is scored: Points, Then Time.

Let’s say you have 30 seconds to run this Minuet. How many times do you suppose you can do this sequence? What distance skills would you use?

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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. You’ll find in the web store The Joker’s Notebook, an invaluable reference for teaching an agility dog (and his handler) to work a distance apart.