Backyard Agility Exercise #1: Clarification

6.11.11 Clarification

Due to some comments that suggested that yesterday’s drawings were hard to follow, I re-did this drawing to try and clarify the purpose of this exercise.  In this drawing, the blue represents the path that the dog wants to follow.  As the dog is exiting the tunnel, the first thing that he sees is the trap/decoy jump to the left of jump #6.  So naturally, the dog is going to be drawn to that decoy jump.  That’s when the handler has to step in and grab the dog’s attention before the he decides to take the decoy jump and subsequently go off-course.  My path is represented by the orange.  When running Diesel, I execute a front cross as Diesel is exiting the tunnel and quickly regain his attention by saying “Here!” as I pull him in towards me (and towards jump #6).  The purple represents the correct path that the dog should follow in this exercise.

And to further demonstrate a front cross (what I used with Diesel) and a blind cross (what I used with Evee), see seconds 0:10-0:18 of the video below (starring Justin and Miss Kylie).  As mentioned yesterday, crosses are handling maneuvers in which the handler changes from one side of the dog to the other all while the dog continues his forward motion.  A front cross is when the handler changes sides in front of the dog’s angle of motion and a blind cross is when the handler crosses in front of the dog’s path, all while keeping his/her back to the dog.

So, was this post easier to follow?  Hopefully the updated drawing and the crosses demonstrated in the video clarify what I was trying to convey yesterday.  I appreciate the feedback!  🙂

About Kas

An occupational therapy graduate student, Virginia Tech alumna, positive-reinforcement trainer, and proud mum of 5 crazy canines.

Posted on June 12, 2011, in Agility and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Is that Kylie as a puppy with the sheep at 12 weeks? She looks like a lil puff ball 🙂

    • Is this another video tagged to Kylie’s? We don’t have any pictures or videos of her herding at 12-weeks-old, but we do have a video of her playing fetch at 8-weeks-old and she was much fluffier then. 🙂

  2. Wow, that course sure is tricky!! You sure have to concentrate to be on the right track there!! It looks like lots of fun though! 🙂

    Hope you’re having a fun weekend,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

    • It was definitely tricky, Snoopy! Thankfully the dogs all listened very well and it was fun! 🙂 Hope you had a good weekend too.

  3. Yes, easier to read! The lines that show your path and the dogs’ path is very clear. And the video really complements it all. Great to see the handling in action!

    • Great!! I am glad that this post is easier to follow, as I’ll use this template for future agility exercise posts. Thanks for the feedback!

  4. Great video! We understood it the first time because of course we are very familiar with the concept of “the path the dog want to take” vs. “the path the dog is supposed to take”…lol…yes we are! However, the second drawing is probably easier to understand for people unfamiliar with agility and the whys and hows a course is set up and why a handler selects a particular path over another. We are so impressed with your dogs and their mad skillz!

    • Aw, thank you!! You are too kind. Your dogs always amaze us as well – I don’t know if our pups could do those intricate hunt tests! Thank you again for the feedback on both posts.

  5. Wow that’s a great video, I really enjoyed watching it! It’s so interesting to watch and read what goes into agility training. You did a fabulous job!

  6. Props to you and your pups! When you watch agility it is made to look so easy, like when watching a professional gymnast and you know in your head, “Yeah. I could so do that perfectly!” When in reality, there is no way. Reading through your information and referring to your drawing spells out just actually how intense and in-tune the handler needs to be with the dog. Obviously this takes intense dedication, patience, and talent. Wow!

    • Whenever I watch world-class trainers, everything looks so flawless and as smooth as glass. You are so right – it looks easier than it is! Agility definitely requires the handler and dog to be very in-sync with each other, and that is something that we work on more than the obstacles themselves .. building that solid, positive working relationship.

  7. I didn’t find the previous diagram hard to follow, but I appreciate your effort of clarifying it for everybody. Your passion for your dogs and agility is obvious and very impressive. And we love it!

    Actually, George and I love you so much that we’ve awarded you and your gang the Versatile Blogger Award. You can pick it up at our blog! 😉

  8. I am starting to really love looking at different courses and figuring out my best handling strategy. Of course, it doesn’t always go as planned, but I love the brainwork behind it. Deciding where I would have to be so my dog knows which obstacle to take. It’s challenging.

    I am also very proud of myself for thinking I would have to do a front cross after the tunnel. Go me! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Awesome, thanks!! I am glad that you found this to be helpful/useful. I too enjoy looking at courses and trying to figure out what I would do and where. It’s the handlers that have the figure out how to best complete the course, and as long as we do our part of the job, the dog will do the rest. 🙂

  9. btw,
    I just wanted to let you know that you are a Genuine Blogger. Celebrate your blog, as it is comes across to the reader as heartfelt and genuine. There are no rules with this honor. Accept it and relish in the thought that your blog is “award worthy” without having any strings attached. It is an award that I hope allows recipients to know that their work is appreciated, valued, and noteworthy by a fellow blogger and it does not have the pressure of “rules and requirements” to follow. Receive and value it for the gift and honor in which it is intended. If you choose to give this award to a deserving fellow blogger, please do so with no “rules.” Award it to someone for his or her genuineness in blogging. Free and clear. Here is the post that explains the reasoning behind this award: . Here is your “badge/button” for you to grab your Genuine Blogger Award to post in your sidebar if you would like.

    Just Ramblin’

  10. I’m so smitten with Kylie! Your pictures of her having fun in the doggie pool and video of her completely owning at agility is making her become one of my fast favorites on the blogosphere. 😀

  11. Really interesting – thanks!! The diagrams and the videos work nicely together. Great post.

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