Clean Run - November 2017 - 5

Understanding How Vision Problems
Affect Our Agility Dogs
By Nancy Gyes

Early Take Off (ETO): Dog lifting to jump from a point
that is too far from the obstacle.
There is nothing more devastating than to find out your agility
dog has a possible career-changing injury, illness, or physical
ailment. Although first and foremost we have dogs primarily as
treasured companions, we have embraced sharing the sport of
agility with them, and the time we spend training and competing together develops a really strong and special relationship.
While ETOs do not affect our life outside of agility, they can
change what we do with our dog in our sport. ETOs are a symptom of eye disease or vision malfunction, so by their nature they
are not a behavioral problem, but rather a physical problem.
Handlers whose dogs have ETOs can be just as affected or saddened by their dog's visual weakness as others might be by a
dog's injury or illness that precludes them from being able to
participate in agility together.
It is not the fault of the handler or the dog that ETOs occur.
No dog has ever been completely cured of ETOs. If ETOs were
caused by poor training then they would be curable with training and we would see many dogs get better-but we don't. If
ETOs were caused by discomfort or injury then when the dog
recovered from the physical problem, the ETOs would no longer happen-but that's not the case.
Sometimes dogs with ETOs will seem to jump better for a period
of time, depending on their level of confidence or possibly environmental factors which are affecting the dog. For example, a
dog that competes for months in an environment favorable to his
vision might display fewer ETOs. Or, a dog might jump most of a
course without noticeable ETOs and then, after knocking one bar,
revert to measuring the final jumps on that course.
ETOs are not caused by a lack of confidence, but certainly our
dogs' confidence can be greatly challenged if they are worried
about jumping. Crashing through too many jumps, hitting tables hard, or experiencing a slight injury from jumping poorly,
can make ETO symptoms worse. You may see these dogs refusing or running around certain jumps or obstacles or moving
around at the start line to get a different view of the first jump.
As confidence deteriorates, you may see their measuring tendency look more extreme.
I get very frustrated when a handler tells me that someone has
told them their dog with ETOs "just lacks confidence" and that
is why he jumps early or stutter steps. A lack of confidence is a
symptom of ETOs, not the cause.

There are not nearly enough handlers, or even agility instructors, who truly recognize ETOs or know how to counsel handlers who run dogs with ETOs. Hopefully after this issue of
Clean Run that will change and we can start building more support in the agility community for dogs that struggle with ETOs
and the handlers who run them. Over recent years, handlers
and instructors have become much more attuned to physical
problems that commonly occur in agility dogs, and it's time now
to increase awareness about ETOs.
I started researching vision problems in dogs before I recognized that my own dog, 8-year-old Border Collie Scoop, was
affected, so I have personally been affected by ETOs as well as
understanding them from a research and instructor's viewpoint.
Scoop takes off slightly early for jumps but does not have pronounced stutter stepping. I have been immediately brought to
tears or felt like I was gut punched after watching my dog crash
a jump or table. Luckily for my dog those crashes have been few
and far between so far.
Handlers runnings dogs with ETOs have to continually evaluate if our dogs are handling the challenges of agility safely and
well, and if ETOs are interfering with our dogs' or our happiness
while participating in this sport. We have to be ready to make
important decisions for our dogs at different points in their career. We may need to change the dog's jump height, competition environments, or organizations and classes in which we
compete. Because each dog with ETOs is different, you must
experiment to see what improves your dog's performance and
maintains his confidence. Some dogs with ETOs can stay at
Championship height and have fun and compete safely while
other dogs are better moving to the lower jump heights in Performance or Preferred. And still other dogs crash just as many
jumps at lower heights as at Championship heights. So we need
to decide what's right for our particular dog at any point in time.
Normally these decisions are easy to make. If we see our dogs
losing confidence or being at risk of injury because of jumping
challenges then it is time to re-evaluate what we do with them in
our sport. No handler should ever be questioned about moving
to a lower jump height or be made to feel guilty because they
choose Performance or Preferred classes over Championship.
With some dogs, their ETO symptoms can remain stable for
many years of competition rather than progressing. I believe
that my dog Scoop, who has slightly crossed eyes (strabismus or
misalignment of the eyes), has not changed his jumping style for
years. I think this is because his eye alignment has not changed
and he has adapted to it. He jumps early but is still quite comcontinued on next page

November 17 | Clean Run

5



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - November 2017

Contents
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover1
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover2
Clean Run - November 2017 - Contents
Clean Run - November 2017 - 4
Clean Run - November 2017 - 5
Clean Run - November 2017 - 6
Clean Run - November 2017 - 7
Clean Run - November 2017 - 8
Clean Run - November 2017 - 9
Clean Run - November 2017 - 10
Clean Run - November 2017 - 11
Clean Run - November 2017 - 12
Clean Run - November 2017 - 13
Clean Run - November 2017 - 14
Clean Run - November 2017 - 15
Clean Run - November 2017 - 16
Clean Run - November 2017 - 17
Clean Run - November 2017 - 18
Clean Run - November 2017 - 19
Clean Run - November 2017 - 20
Clean Run - November 2017 - 21
Clean Run - November 2017 - 22
Clean Run - November 2017 - 23
Clean Run - November 2017 - 24
Clean Run - November 2017 - 25
Clean Run - November 2017 - 26
Clean Run - November 2017 - 27
Clean Run - November 2017 - 28
Clean Run - November 2017 - 29
Clean Run - November 2017 - 30
Clean Run - November 2017 - 31
Clean Run - November 2017 - 32
Clean Run - November 2017 - 33
Clean Run - November 2017 - 34
Clean Run - November 2017 - 35
Clean Run - November 2017 - 36
Clean Run - November 2017 - 37
Clean Run - November 2017 - 38
Clean Run - November 2017 - 39
Clean Run - November 2017 - 40
Clean Run - November 2017 - 41
Clean Run - November 2017 - 42
Clean Run - November 2017 - 43
Clean Run - November 2017 - 44
Clean Run - November 2017 - 45
Clean Run - November 2017 - 46
Clean Run - November 2017 - 47
Clean Run - November 2017 - 48
Clean Run - November 2017 - 49
Clean Run - November 2017 - 50
Clean Run - November 2017 - 51
Clean Run - November 2017 - 52
Clean Run - November 2017 - 53
Clean Run - November 2017 - 54
Clean Run - November 2017 - 55
Clean Run - November 2017 - 56
Clean Run - November 2017 - 57
Clean Run - November 2017 - 58
Clean Run - November 2017 - 59
Clean Run - November 2017 - 60
Clean Run - November 2017 - 61
Clean Run - November 2017 - 62
Clean Run - November 2017 - 63
Clean Run - November 2017 - 64
Clean Run - November 2017 - 65
Clean Run - November 2017 - 66
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover3
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1219
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1119
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0919
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0819
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0719
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0619
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0519
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0419
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0319
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0219
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0119
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1218
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1118
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0918
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0818
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0718
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0618
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0518
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0418
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0318
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0218
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0118
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1217
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1117
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0917
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0817
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0717
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0617
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0517
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0417
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0317
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0217
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0117
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1216
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1116
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0916
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0816
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0716
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0616
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0516
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0416
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0316
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0216
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0116
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1215
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1115
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0915
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0815
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0715
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0615
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0515
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0415
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0315
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0215
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0115
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1214
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1114
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1014
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0914
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0814
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0714
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0614
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0514
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0414
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0314
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0214
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0114
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1213
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1113
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1013
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0913
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0813
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0713
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0613
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0513
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0413
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0313
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0213
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0113
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1012
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0912
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0812
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0712
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0612
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0512
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1111
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1011
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0911
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0811
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0711
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0611
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0511
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0111
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1210
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1110
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1010
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0810
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0710
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0610
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0510
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0410
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0310
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0210
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0110
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1209
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1109
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1009
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0909
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0809
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0709
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/comp-demo
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0609
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0509
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0409
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0309
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0209
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0109
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1208
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1108
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1008
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0908
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0808
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0608
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0508
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0408
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0308
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0208
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0108
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1207
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1107
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1007
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0907
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0807
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0707
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0607
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0507
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0407
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0307
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0207
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0107
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1206
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1106
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/1006
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0906
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0806
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0706
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0606
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0406
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0306
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0206
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cleanrun/0106
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com