Clean Run - March 2013 - (Page 38)

© TERI AND JACKIE PHOTOGRAPHY/DOUG DUKANE OUT SPOT OUT! Five Required Skills Successful for Distance Work By Lorrie Reynolds Distance work—the ability of a dog and handler to correctly navigate obstacles on a course while separated from each other—is achievable by any dog, of any size. Like consistent contact performances or proficient weave poles, working at a distance must be trained and practiced. With an understanding of which cues are a priority to the dog (see my article in CR February 2013), the five skills discussed here, and practice, any team can expand its repertoire to include successful distance work. 1. INDEPENDENT OBSTACLE PERFORMANCE Working at a distance is completely dependent upon the dog’s ability to perform an obstacle and maintain the criteria for that obstacle, regardless of your position. It is your job to direct the dog to the correct obstacle on course. It is the dog’s job to complete the obstacle correctly. Unfortunately, we frequently train dogs to consider us part of the “picture” for obstacle performance. For example, many dogs cannot complete a contact obstacle unless we are next to or slightly ahead of them. When faced with a gamble like the one in Figure 1, the team does not succeed because the dog has not been trained to perform the A-frame independently. Dogs must be able to find weave pole entries, navigate the opening to the tire, locate tunnel entrances, and maintain contact 38 criteria without relying on you to be in a specific location. 1 2 2. OBSTACLE DISCRIMINATION Discrimination between two obstacles in close proximity does not require the dog to understand the verbal cues for specific obstacles. It requires communication with the dog to tell him whether to take the obstacle closer to you or the obstacle farther away. This communication involves a combination of the cues discussed in last month’s article. These cues, once trained, are effective for any obstacle discrimination at any distance. The combination of cues to indicate the closer, or “inside,” obstacle include maintaining motion on a path parallel to the obstacle, facing forward along the path to the next obstacle, shoulders forward or turned slightly away from the 3 1 Contact performance away from the gamble line With practice, you can communicate exactly where your dog should go, and the dog can independently perform the obstacles, creating a team that can face any challenge in agility. Clean Run | March 13

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - March 2013

Clean Run - March 2013
Editorializing: Would You Treat a Dog Like That?
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Knowledge Equals Speed! Teaching Verbal Directional Commands, Part 1
Power Paws Drills: Gnarly Rears
Ultimate Instructors: What Makes a Really Good Instructor?
Can You Handle It?
Head-Turning Turns, Part 3
The 10-Minute Trainer
Busting the Myths: Set Goals? Or Just Enjoy the Moment?
Out Spot Out! Five Required Skills for Successful Distance Work
Living Room Agility: Front & Rear Crosses
Nutrition for the Canine Athlete, Part 2
Puppy Agility Games, Part 1
Training with the Stars: Greg Derrett
The Judge’s Debriefing
Foundation Jumping, Part 1

Clean Run - March 2013