Clean Run - September 2011 - (Page 60)

This month’s exercises focus on practicing Snooker skills. (See my article in CR June 2011 for an explanation of how to teach the skills.) Why focus on Snooker skills? Because even if you never play the game of Snooker, the skills that are needed to play the game are useful for handling other types of courses. Rising Stars Challenges for © ALISSA BEHN/P ET-PER SONAL ITIES.C OM By Stuart Mah Typically, when we talk about Snooker skills, most handlers tend to think of training the dog to run by an obstacle without taking it. Why would we need that for, say, AKC Excellent Standard? If you look at Figure 1, this mid-course segment requires the handler to get the dog from jump #11 to the #12 tunnel entry without taking the chute or the wrong end of the tunnel. The problem is that some clown put a set of weave poles in the way of what would be the typical handling path, which is shown by the green path. A handler moving along the blue path is much more likely to push the dog either into the chute or the wrong end of the tunnel. Now we could probably try to move the weaves, but most judges take a dim view of competitors moving their obstacles around! So, as handlers, we can either run the green path and be eliminated for crossing the plane of an obstacle (and swear about the judge), or we can run the blue path and push the dog into one of the off-course obstacles and be eliminated (and swear about the judge) Or, we can train the dog to move with the handler without taking an obstacle and get through the sequence cleanly. Once the handler and dog have developed these skills, we need to practice them. This is where the drills illustrated in Figures 2 through 9 come in handy. These drills are used to practice and refine the basic Snooker skills. As always, the sequences start off easy and become progressively harder and longer. As you work on them, remember that the skill is teaching the dog to bypass an obstacle efficiently on a cue from the handler. If you plan a path that takes the dog well away from an off-course obstacle or you attempt to “heel” the dog between obstacles, then you are not teaching the skill, just attempting to get the sequence numerically correct. Instead, if necessary, soften the sequence so that you teach the skill, not the sequence pattern. D 1 12 11 60 Clean Run | September 11

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