Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 35

If you are fast and athletic and can outrun your dog, a motion-based system is a viable choice for you. If you aren’t as mobile as you’d like and your dog easily runs circles around you, then a more verbal system might be more appropriate. Alternatively, if your dog lacks confidence and needs motivating, a motion-based system is a better choice than a verbal one. If you want flexibility, the system you use can be more equally balanced. Responsibilities in a System © MATTALLISONPHOTOGRAPHY.COM In a handling system it is useful to expect your dog to default to certain behaviors in common course scenarios. This helps your dog predict what is expected in given course situation without waiting for your cues and react even faster. In every system there must be an understanding between the dog and handler as to who is responsible for what in order for the system to succeed. Examples of dog responsibilities: • Your dog should not backjump • Your dog should not to cross behind your back • Your dog should come to your right (left) side if your right (left) hand is used • Your dog should not cross the plane of an obstacle without performing it • Your dog should be in handler or obstacle focus Examples of handler responsibilities: • You should give your cues in a timely manner • You must be sure your dog sees the intended obstacle If you expect your dog to be responsible for these behaviors, to avoid inconsistency you should not: 1. Ask your dog to backjump 2. Ask your dog to go around behind you to realign for an obstacle or ask for blind crosses on the flat 3. Use your right hand when you want your dog on your left 4. Heel your dog past an obstacle To do any of those things would be inconsistent with your dog’s responsibilities and you can’t expect him to respond reliably if you sometimes expect him to do one thing and sometimes expect him to do another. If you want your dog to reliably respond to your cues, no matter whether they are verbal, location, or motion cues, they must be given well ahead of time. They must also not conflict; for example, you cannot run with your dog directly at a tunnel opening and you cannot expect your dog to perform obstacles in his path if he does not see them. In every handling system it should be clear to your dog whether he is expected to always drive ahead until told otherwise (priority given to obstacle Consistency in a System The handling system you use should allow for consistent use of the cues. If you use a motion-based system, then you should never move inappropriately, which means you need to be mobile. If you use a verbal-based system, then you should never be late with your verbal commands. This seems like common sense, but many handlers are inadvertently inconsistent with their cues. For example, when I want my dog to assume he is to extend and go straight over a jump, I run forward. If I am frequently late for a front cross and then abruptly turn my dog back around me as he lands (in effect telling him he was wrong to trust my forward cues), I am being inconsistent. My dog may learn to cope by no longer trusting my forward cues and simply going slower so that he’s “ready” for the late front cross. When I want my dog to turn away from me I might choose to move laterally toward him. If I do a rear cross on the takeoff side of a jump and then, when he starts to turn, verbally redirect him to go straight, in effect saying, “Nope, you were wrong to turn; this time I want you to go straight,” I am being inconsistent. My dog may learn to cope by always going forward after a jump until he hears a verbal command, despite my lateral motion (in effect, ignoring my body language). I may inadvertently train him to be verbally focused when that is not my intention, and wide turns will result. When I want my dog to turn toward me I might choose to decelerate on the approach to the jump. If, on a closing sequence, I start to slow down prematurely while at the same time verbally telling my dog to go ahead (in effect, telling him he should ignore my deceleration cue), I am being inconsistent. My dog may learn to cope by no longer trusting my turning cues. Once again, I may inadvertently train him to be verbally focused. March 08 | Clean Run No matter what level you aspire to compete at, whether you compete just for fun or aspire to make the World Team, bolstering your dog’s confidence in your cues is of utmost importance. A confident dog is a happy dog. Confidence in your cues yields speed and accuracy. Adhering to a system helps clarify each of your responsibilities so that both you and your dog always know what to expect from each other. That knowledge leads to trust, which leads to more confidence. focus) or whether he is expected to wait for direction to take an obstacle (priority given to handler focus). If the system does not favor one or the other as the default behavior, you must be able to consistently cue which mode your dog should be in. Adaptability of a System A handling system needs to be adaptable to many types of dog and handler teams, and it needs to be flexible enough to be modified as course design trends change and the sport continues to evolve. For example, in an early version of my system, my dogs were not supposed to take an obstacle unless directed to do so. That didn’t necessarily mean verbally, but it did mean I had to tell my dogs, in some way, to take each obstacle. They were not to assume they were to take anything. (This is an example of a system with priority given to handler focus.) That put a lot of responsibility on me as the handler, but it did afford me a high degree of accuracy. To keep up with the sport, my system was modified so that my dogs are now trained to assume they are to take what’s in front of them and my cues for each obstacle are much more nonspecific. (This is an example of a system with priority given 35

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - March 2008

Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Contents
Editorializing: An Anthropologist at a Dog Show
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Give Your Dog a Running Start
On Course with Ronda Carter
Trainer’s Forum
How to Get the Most from Your Agility Classes
Foundation Fundamentals: Restrained Recalls and Chase Games
What Is a Handling System?
Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 1
Alternative Medicine for Your Canine Athlete: Navigating the Options
Agility? Deaf-initely!
When Pigs Fly: Agility Success with “Impossible” Dogs
Skill of the Month
Shelter Champs: Sadie
Spy Kids: Goals to Prepare for Competition
Distance Challenge
Focus on Recalls
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Back and Trunk Strengthening
In Cider
Letters
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Editorializing: An Anthropologist at a Dog Show
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Give Your Dog a Running Start
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 12
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 14
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 17
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - On Course with Ronda Carter
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 23
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - How to Get the Most from Your Agility Classes
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 26
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Restrained Recalls and Chase Games
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 30
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 31
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 32
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - What Is a Handling System?
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 34
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 36
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 1
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 39
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 42
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Alternative Medicine for Your Canine Athlete: Navigating the Options
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 45
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Agility? Deaf-initely!
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 49
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - When Pigs Fly: Agility Success with “Impossible” Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 52
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 53
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 54
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 57
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Shelter Champs: Sadie
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 62
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Spy Kids: Goals to Prepare for Competition
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 65
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 68
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Distance Challenge
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Focus on Recalls
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Back and Trunk Strengthening
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 75
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 76
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - In Cider
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 79
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 80
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Letters
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 83
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 84
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