Monday, 12 March 2012

Every which way?? Agility training

Training today I thought I would share a little tip. I hope the images show up OK.
Often when people set up a course to train on they think about the way they would like to run it, train it that way then do something else.

I bet Im not the only one who at shows has this issue

You walk the course, you imagine where you want to be, you imagine where your dog will be. You work out all your turns perfectly in your head.
You get in the ring and your brain is putty and your excited dog is suddenly super-charged. All the plans go out the window - you are never in the places you thought you would be and you are racing to catch up.
That is why when I am training something I try and do it from as many directions and positions as I possibly can.
For example todays course was the one above. Bet you have looked at it and figured out where you should be, where your dog should be - right??
Here are three possibilities I worked on with this today

Here is the first way I ran this.
I recall the dog from the weaves. Keep him on my right hand side.
I send him over jump 3, with no other direction from me the natural thing for the dog to do here is to curve to the left. Then a simple front cross here picks the dog up on the left hand to send him to jump 4
Then another simple front cross picks the dog up on your right hand side to send to the weave and then the final jump

This method may not be the shortest route for the dog but it has a few advantages.
With a fast long striding dog if the distance from 3 to 4 is tight this may be quicker than slowing him down to turn the other way
Also this way there it is always clear to the dog where you want him to go, this is the simplest way to handle because you are always curving your dog with you in the center point of the curve
This is natural for the dog

The second run is very similar.
I start off exactly the same for jump 1 and the weave
But for jump 3 I flick the dog out to the right
This means I send him out to the jump but at the same time crossing behind the dog (rear cross) to direct him to turn.
I dont train left and right commands when Im running my dogs (cos I am rubbish at remembering my left and right) so with this one I cue the turn by bringing my left arm up as I am sending the dog on and stepping behind before he commits to the jump - this means he is already turning the right way before he lands.
It is important that the dog knows where he is going before he takes off else he may turn the wrong way, land heavily on his shoulder trying to change direction as he lands or even slip.

This is the third run
This time I start on the other side of the weave. I keep the dog on my left had side tru the weave, push him out to jump 3 then its a simple post turn to jump 4 keeping the dog on the left hand side.
With this method is best if you can get in front of the dog slightly at the end of the weave, hanging back or a late signal and the dog may curve towards jump 4
To push the dog to jump 3 it can also be useful to indicate with your right arm as that turns your shoulder to face the jump even more than with your left arm.

So as you can see, three ways to do the same run - and there are loads more
You could even do the weaves with the dog on the left, front cross after the weaves and turn the dog left at jump 3 - or flick him right
Or a blind cross after the weave
Or or or
See lot of ways to do just one simple setup

and then of course you should do the mirror image

I know the writing on the images dosent show up - but it is more than covered in the descriptions here


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