Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 64

Training Dogs Physically Limited Handlers to Work with to do agility. Since I want to eliminate as much running on my part as possible, I’m looking for drive and initiative on the part of my canine partner. I develop this in my dogs by making the sport fun at all times. The best part of my dogs’ day is getting to do agility with mom! Some of the most important components of training a dog to work with a physically limited handler include strict directional cues, distance training, and a strong understanding of verbal cues. Here’s how each component helps the dog do the work when the handler can’t be close by. Directional Cues Directional cues include (but may not be limited to) Out, Here, a side switch cue (or Left and Right), and Go On or Straight. Let’s look at each directional cue separately. By Kristin Kaldahl, photos by Megan Magnant Photography Out The Out cue always means “work away from me at a parallel distance.” Pretend you have an elastic arm that could extend hundreds of feet. You know an Out is appropriate if you can extend this elastic arm straight out and across the ring many feet away to touch your dog. At every agility trial, we see handlers running their dogs despite physical limitations. Some handlers struggle against joints that no longer function without pain. Others are fighting cancer. Still others have chronic illnesses like diminished lung function or cardiac problems. While all these handlers are to be applauded for continuing to compete in our sport, there is no doubt some teams meet with greater success than others. Teams where the dog is trained to take over where the human’s abilities leave off tend to be more successful. Trained skills including independent distance work, strict directional cues, and deeper understanding of voice commands help the canine partner navigate a course without the human partner physically close by. I am one of these handlers and have learned how to train my Sheltie Aslan to take over for me where I must physically leave off. When I got Aslan eight years ago, I already knew that the kidney transplant I had for 30 years was beginning to fail. I knew there was a chance that I would begin to lose physical ability during Aslan’s career, so I devised a training strategy for the two of us. As I trained Aslan, I began to study where Aslan could take over for me at a distance so that I could run less (or even trot) and still be successful. Here I’ll outline the system I used with Aslan and with my new puppy, Asher. This system requires not only good handling skills and great timing, but also great training as well. Patience and consistency are a must when training a dog to run independently at distance and to listen for verbal cues instead of relying on a handler’s body for physical cues and guidance to get around a course. Since I cannot always be there to help Aslan through the course, he must learn to negotiate tight turns and obstacle discriminations on his own with little more from me than my verbal cues. It is important to remember to keep your dog as excited about agility as possible. I infuse my training with energy, despite the fact that I may not be moving very much. I use a very excited voice and a sense of urgency in the movements I do use. I find the best motivators I can for my dog, and I use them liberally. My dog must really want The Out cue sends the dog out to perform obstacles at distance, allowing the handler to run a shorter path and the dog to work at greater speed. My hand signal for the Out is a fully extended arm. My dog, over time, can even learn that when my arm is straight out, I mean a farther distance away than when my arm is out from my side at, say, a 45° angle. 64 Clean Run | September 09

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - September 2009

Clean Run Magazine - September 2009
Contents
Editorializing: The Finger of Blame
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
When Pigs Fly: The Ins and Outs of Serpentines, Part 3
Trainer’s Forum
Can You Handle It?
My Favorite Course
Shelter Champs: Auggie
To Stretch or Not To Stretch?
Comparing the Derrett and Mecklenburg Handling Systems, Part 7: Serpentines
Distance Challenge
Power Course Analysis
Foundation Fundamentals : Delegating Distance
Motion Discrimination
Training Dogs to Work with Physically Limited Handlers
Power Paws Drills: Inside/Outside Loop Drills
Hope: Our First Year
Jenny’s Guide to Successful Teamwork: Front and Blind Crosses, Part 1
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Clean Run Magazine - September 2009
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Editorializing: The Finger of Blame
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 11
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - When Pigs Fly: The Ins and Outs of Serpentines, Part 3
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 14
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 17
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 18
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 22
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Can You Handle It?
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 25
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 26
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - My Favorite Course
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Shelter Champs: Auggie
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 29
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 30
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - To Stretch or Not To Stretch?
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 32
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 33
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 34
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Comparing the Derrett and Mecklenburg Handling Systems, Part 7: Serpentines
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 38
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 39
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 42
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Distance Challenge
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 45
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Power Course Analysis
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 49
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 50
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Foundation Fundamentals : Delegating Distance
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 52
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 53
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 54
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 56
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 57
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Motion Discrimination
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 62
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 63
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Training Dogs to Work with Physically Limited Handlers
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 65
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 68
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Power Paws Drills: Inside/Outside Loop Drills
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Hope: Our First Year
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 74
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Jenny’s Guide to Successful Teamwork: Front and Blind Crosses, Part 1
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 76
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 77
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 79
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 80
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 81
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 82
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 83
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 84
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