Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 23

Handling Your Dog in Awesome Style By Linda Mecklenburg © JT PAWPRINTS Direction Cues Last month I discussed the merits of having a generic handling system. This month I will begin a series that features the specifics of the handling system that I use and teach at Awesome Paws. Using a handling system helps me maintain consistency in my cues. Consistent cueing helps my dog understand what I am asking and enables him to run with confidence, which helps us perform our best on the agility course. This system depends on my determining and delivering, in a timely manner, the best combination of cues for my dog. For any one handling sequence, the most effective combination of cues may not be the same from dog to dog. It is up to me to decide what I feel is the appropriate balance of cues to use to communicate what I want my individual dog to do. Dog agility is both a science and an art. Yes, technical skill is required, but in this system I must have artistic talent as well. Imagine the selection of cues as colors on an artist’s palette; it is up to me to be the artist and decide just how much of each color, and just how to perform the strokes, to produce the masterpiece on the canvas. What makes this system successful is how I blend the cues together to create the desired effect. Overview of Cues The most effective way to communicate with my dog is for me to use the language he understands the best. Rather than using learned cues, which I must train my dog to understand, I emphasize the use of body language. Using body language results in natural cues that my dog responds to intuitively. For me to be successful, I must learn to speak my dog’s language and understand how he interprets my natural cues. Once I do, I can use that knowledge to my advantage because my dog will respond instinctively to my cues without having to think about what his response should be. Of course my dog is also trained to respond to certain learned cues, but ideally those are intended to complement the natural cues, not override them. I use combinations of six different cues to guide my dog: motion, shoulders, location, hands, verbal, and eye contact. The cues that my dog will respond to most naturally are my motion, my shoulder direction, my location relative to my dog and the obstacles, and my eye contact. Thus, I focus on these April 08 | Clean Run cues in my system with particular emphasis on my motion cues. To a lesser extent, I also use learned skills as well such as hand signals and verbal commands, which I must train my dog to understand. It is important to realize that it is not possible for me to isolate my cues so that my dog is only influenced by a single cue. And, whether I intend it or not, my dog is always being cued in some way by the natural cues. I am always in motion or not, facing some direction, located somewhere relative to the obstacle and my dog, and making eye contact or not. So even if I am not intentionally cueing my dog, I am still cueing him to do something. Of the six cues I use, most are dual-function in that they can be used both as direction cues and as side cues. This month I will introduce the direction cues and briefly describe each as it applies to my system. In cases where the cue is commonly used, how the use of that cue is unique to my system will be the focus. 23

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

Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Contents
Editorializing: Dog Friends Are the Best Friends
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Starting Your Pup Off on the “Right” Foot for Jumping
Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 2
Handling Your Dog in Awesome Style: Direction Cues
Trainer’s Forum
Tent Ownership Dos and Don’ts
Foundation Fundamentals: Teaching Agility Cues
Skill of the Month
Say Yes to the Learning Curve: Starting as a Team, Part 1
Classes Gone Wild
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Powering Up the Rear Legs
Spy Kids: Rules for Access and Off-Leash Control
When Pigs Fly: How to Use Your Dog’s Natural Behaviors to Train Him
Shelter Champs: Reno
The Art of Electronic Timing
Power Paws Patterns: Number Four
Jump Down Syndrome Traumatic fragmented Medial
Conquering Ring Nerves: Want to Remember the Course? Focus!
In Cider
Agility Organization Update
Letter to the Editor
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Editorializing: Dog Friends Are the Best Friends
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 11
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 12
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Starting Your Pup Off on the “Right” Foot for Jumping
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 17
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 2
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 22
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Handling Your Dog in Awesome Style: Direction Cues
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 25
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 26
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 29
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 31
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 32
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 33
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Tent Ownership Dos and Don’ts
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 36
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Teaching Agility Cues
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 39
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 43
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Say Yes to the Learning Curve: Starting as a Team, Part 1
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 46
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 49
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Classes Gone Wild
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 52
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Powering Up the Rear Legs
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Spy Kids: Rules for Access and Off-Leash Control
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 56
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 57
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - When Pigs Fly: How to Use Your Dog’s Natural Behaviors to Train Him
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 62
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 63
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Shelter Champs: Reno
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - The Art of Electronic Timing
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 69
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Power Paws Patterns: Number Four
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 74
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 75
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Jump Down Syndrome Traumatic fragmented Medial
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 77
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 79
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Conquering Ring Nerves: Want to Remember the Course? Focus!
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 81
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 82
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - In Cider
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 84
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 85
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 86
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Agility Organization Update
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 88
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 89
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 91
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 92
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