Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 72

© www.mattallisonphotography.com By Debbie Sacerich Looking for a reliable method of walking an agility course that will help you be as successful as possible in handling the course challenges? Here it is: Walk the course backward! Often exhibitors prepare for their runs by walking the course and planning their handling strategy from the first obstacle. There is a much better way that prepares you for success—work backward. Decide which obstacles or course challenges will be the most difficult for you and your dog. Next determine the spot where you need to be on the course to best handle that challenge successfully. Now work your way backward in the course to plan the strategy to get to that spot when you need to be there. Knowing exactly where you want to be for the hard part helps solidify your choice to do a front cross or rear cross, or whether to lead out at an earlier, easier part. As an instructor, I make an effort to help my students develop this skill. I have a game we play called “Hard Part First,” in which each handler walks the assigned course in class. I then ask them, “Which part will be hard for you and where do you need to be to manage it?” Each student is different. Students do their own particular hard part three times and reward their dogs. This exercise goes very quickly because they are only doing three to five obstacles. Students can practice and reward just the skill or obstacle where they anticipate difficulty. Then everyone runs the full course. When we do this, the success rate is much higher, and students appreciate a chance to reward and repeat the course segment they were unsure of. Study the Course Map My method for walking a course always starts with a quick study of the printed course map. I want to be familiar with the layout before my walk-through. I close my eyes and picture the obstacles and the numbers before the walk. If you try to learn the layout and the numbers during the walk, there are often so many people that walk-through time is more than halfway up before you are ready to plan your handling strategy. Walking the Course to Form a Handling Strategy I often remind students to walk a realistic course, not a theoretical course. Walk where you will be in relation to your dog’s speed and skill, not where you want to be. Slow handlers who walk the course as though they are ahead of the dog are setting themselves up for trouble in the run. This happens quite often and is important to consider if you frequently find yourself out of your planned position. Videotaping is an excellent tool to help you. Have someone record your last minute of the walk-through and then your run so you can compare whether your walk reflected your run. It is also a great time to see if you were actually in your chosen spot when you handled the hard part of the course. The video will allow you to honestly see whether you moved confidently into position or were hesitant, and whether you were realistic in your plan or completely off the mark. Your decision about a course plan is based not only on the challenge presented on course, but also on both your and your dog’s strengths and weaknesses. Although qualifying is nice, it is not always best to choose the safest route to a Q. Often it is to your long-term advantage to be daring and push a little harder, to drive with purpose as you attempt a skill you want to master. Walking the Course for Flow When it’s time for the walk-through, I walk the course twice to get the flow and decide which obstacle or area will pose the biggest challenge. During these two passes, I don’t decide on handling. I concentrate on my personal strengths and weaknesses as well as those of my dog, and identify the part of the course that is likely to be difficult for us as a team. Now I’m ready to continue walking the course to form my handling strategy. I decide where I want to be to manage the challenge and then I work backward and plan how to be there. 72 Clean Run | December 08
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - December 2008

Clean Run Magazine - December 2008
Think Outside the Box (and the Ring)
Editorializing: Just One More Run
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Trainer’s Forum
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Treadmill Walking
Handling Your Dog in Awesome Style, Part 9: Common Sequences
Agility Class Etiquette
K9 Kudos: Seeing Spots
Foundation Fundamentals: Flatwork Skills Wrap-up
So You Want to Raise an Agility Star
Canine Health Care: FAQs
Conquering Ring Nerves: Feeling Overwhelmed by Big Goals?
Retraining Agility Skills
Skill of the Month
Walking the Course…Backward?
Agility Organization Update
Using Silent Running to Improve Body Language
Letter to the Editor
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - December 2008
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 3
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Editorializing: Just One More Run
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 11
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 14
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Treadmill Walking
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 17
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 18
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Handling Your Dog in Awesome Style, Part 9: Common Sequences
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 23
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 25
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 26
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 29
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 30
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Agility Class Etiquette
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 32
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 33
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 34
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 36
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 38
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 39
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - K9 Kudos: Seeing Spots
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 43
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Flatwork Skills Wrap-up
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 46
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 49
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 50
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - So You Want to Raise an Agility Star
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 53
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 54
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 56
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Canine Health Care: FAQs
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Conquering Ring Nerves: Feeling Overwhelmed by Big Goals?
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 62
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 63
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Retraining Agility Skills
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 69
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Walking the Course…Backward?
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 73
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 74
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Agility Organization Update
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 76
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 77
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Using Silent Running to Improve Body Language
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 80
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 81
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 83
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 84
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