Clean Run - September 2011 - (Page 24)

------ -------- Sports Vision By Daisy Peel Improving Your Part 1 For several years now, I’ve been instructing others on how to better handle their dogs around an agility course, and for as long as I’ve been instructing, I’ve been telling students to “watch their dog. When I first started learning agility, ” I was told to watch my dog. And, although I’ve been very good about helping handlers perfect their technical skills by telling them to adjust how they move their bodies one way or another, or how they time a reinforcement given for a behavior they’re trying to train, until recently, I haven’t done my best to help handlers learn to better watch their dogs. Keeping visual contact with your dog is perhaps even more important than perfecting how you do a front cross, rear cross, or any other maneuver. After all, if you don’t have your eyes on your dog, how will you know when to cue him? Your role in the team as the handler, or director, is to direct your dog around the course, timing your cues so that the dog sees and hears them when he needs to; and you won’t know when he needs to receive those cues unless you are watching. Keeping your eye on your dog at all times means that you will be better able to be proactive about adjusting your handling to keep small deviations in how you are running the course from turning into large problems and on-course errors. Look at the image of me and my dog running on course. © NINASPHOTOGRAPHY.COM I can clearly remember seeing my dog while on course at this moment; and yet, when I saw this image, it looks like I’m not looking at my dog at all. When I saw this photo I began thinking about what watching your dog really means, and about how you can improve your technical ability to watch your dog. Here we’ll discuss some of the areas in which you can improve your ability to keep your eyes on your dog, without sacrificing your ability to see the obstacles as you navigate through the course. Editors’ Note: The exercises for improving your sports vision were too large to fit in the magazine. They can be found in PDF format on the Magazine Forum section of the Clean Run website. After selecting Magazine Forum, select Articles from the top menu and then Sports Vision (or use the direct link cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=678). Static and Dynamic Visual Acuity When you go to the optometrist to have your vision tested, it is your static visual acuity that is measured. The optometrist measures whether you are nearsighted or farsighted, and may prescribe corrective lenses or contact lenses to correct your vision. Static visual acuity, or your ability to see a certain level of detail from a certain distance, is not the same as dynamic visual acuity. Static visual acuity can only be corrected with LASIK surgery or corrective appliances, but you can improve your dynamic visual acuity with minimal effort. Your eyes have some muscles in them that are involuntary. For example, the muscles that open or close the pupil of your eye, allowing more or less light in depending on lighting conditions, are involuntary and you cannot control or improve their performance directly. However, your eyes also have several muscles that are voluntary, meaning that you can control their movements. For the purposes of agility, and of keeping your eye on your dog, you don’t really need to build strength in these muscles, but your ability to improve the coordination, speed, and endurance of these muscles can help you be able to more easily and clearly focus on your dog. Improved focus will help you make better and timelier handling decisions on course. Clean Run | September 11 24 http://www.NINASPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - September 2011

Clean Run - September 2011
Editorializing: When a “Lifetime” Only Means Five Years
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility
Backyard Dogs
Who’s Premack and What Does He Have to Do with My Start Lines?
Power Paws Drills: Front Side, Back Side
Improving Your Sports Vision, Part 1
Choosing the Most Efficient Path for Your Dog: Decision Making
Dylan’s Story
Teaching FOCUS and Impulse-control Classes: Week 5
Ready, Set, Trial! Should You Move Up?
Agility Bloopers
Training to Your Weakness: Exercises for Dogs with a Straight Front
Building and Balancing Handler and Obstacle Focus, Part 6
Great Expectations
Agility Games to Play with Puppies
Challenges for Rising Stars: Snooker Expanded
Agility Defined by Me

Clean Run - September 2011