Clean Run - November 2017 - 55

Talking About ETOs
By Nancy Kemna

Talking about ETOs (early takeoffs) can be a difficult and charged topic-no one
wants their dog to be labeled, and it is upsetting to discover that your agility team's
potential may be capped. When is it appropriate to bring up the topic with a handler?
The answer is exceedingly individual. So instead I would like to present some general guidelines for how not to talk about ETOs with a handler. These suggestions may
seem obvious, but I think they are worth mentioning because they have all happened
to people who have dogs with ETOs.
* Do not comment on someone's social media post of their dog jumping that it
"looks like he has ETOs." This includes private messaging.
* Do not approach a handler you don't know to tell them their dog is taking off early.
* Do not stand ringside and talk about a dog's ETOs; your comments will be
overheard and get back to the handler.
* Do not approach an "agility friend" and tell them their dog is taking off early
(an agility friend is someone you are friendly with in agility but have no further
relationship with).
* Do not approach a friend or student at a trial to discuss their dog's jumping.
When should you bring up a dog's early takeoffs with the dog's handler? The answer
is when you must, and only if it breaks your heart to do it. If you are approaching the
issue with the attitude of "well, it's true so it's all right to say it," recall that cruelty
may go in the guise of honesty. This is not a topic for acquaintances and casual wellwishers to bring up; it best belongs in the hands of instructors.

Instructors
If you have a dog in class that has a somewhat shifted jumping arc, is knocking no
more bars than a typical young dog, and appears to be confident and happy in general, it may be tempting to say nothing since the dog's safety and mental state aren't
in danger. However, it is important for the handler to understand that their dog's
occasional knocked bars are not the results of a training problem. At this early stage
you don't know whether the problems will progress, and the handler needs to know
sooner rather than later that they should not be marking bars and that they need to
learn how to keep the dog's confidence up. They also need to understand why you
are suggesting handling options that are different from the rest of the class.
It is not necessary or helpful refer to the dog as "an ETO dog." Explain that you
believe the dog is having a difficult time finding an appropriate takeoff location
despite his best efforts, and that some handling and training advice for this dog
may be different than other dogs in the class.
November 17 | Clean Run

If a dog is crashing bars, avoiding
jumps, stressed, stuttering in front of
jumps, hurling himself into the air apexing early and barely clearing the bar,
then the topic needs to be addressed with
the student as soon as possible. The dog
is in danger of an injury and the handler
may be unaware that the dog is doing his
best and may be frustrated, and frustration is difficult to hide from a dog.
If you have any doubts, before saying anything to your student, consider
consulting with another professional
yourself.
Your student is paying for your expert
opinion. Not all of your observations
will be pleasant for the student to hear.
* Be sure to speak to your student privately, with kindness and empathy.
* Skip the label. Instead of saying
"your dog has early takeoffs or
ETOs" (as if it's a disease itself),
tell the handler you think their
dog is having trouble judging his
takeoff distance, most likely due
to a vision problem. You can liken
it to needing glasses.
* Remind the handler that many dogs
that take off early go on to have successful and long agility careers.
* Refer the handler to resources that
will them understand ETOs better
and how to manage them. Start with
Linda Mecklenburg's article in this
issue on page 7.

55



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
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