Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 26

CAUTION COMFORT ZONE Do You Have a Preferred Handling Speed? By Allison Bryant In November 2006, I brought several of my Aussies to an ASCA agility trial. Four of them are in Elite. They all range in experience from one year to seven years of agility. They are very different dogs in their running style and experience. After our Elite Jumpers run, I was surprised to see that the two dogs I ran in that class had the same course time of 23.06 seconds. It was the first Jumpers run of the weekend and I just laughed it off as a strange coincidence. As the weekend progressed, it became obvious that when my dogs went clean, their course times were very close together. I thought this was strange since I consider all my dogs to be very different. For example, Hank runs tighter and more efficiently. Gigi has a long stride and can turn pretty wide if she misses a cue. Out of curiosity, I started looking at times for other handlers with multiple dogs. I noticed an interesting trend. People running multiple dogs typically had very similar course times for each dog. This even held true for some people who had multiple dogs of different breeds. I wrote down a list of the handlers who fit the pattern. As the weekend progressed, I tried to watch them run their dogs. As I watched, I developed a theory. Some handlers have a speed comfort zone, or a “preferred handling speed.” I call them Preferred Handling Speed (PHS) handlers. When running multiple dogs, PHS handlers move at the same speed and give commands and cues at the same time. It seems like they have a comfortable pace on the course and the same reaction time regardless of the dog. The result is that PHS handlers have very similar course times with different dogs. Some dogs adjust to their handler’s PHS. For example, we all have seen the dog that lopes along at a steady pace. You know he runs faster when chasing a tennis ball, but not in agility. Sometimes, the handler is late with a command or doesn’t move as fast as the dog runs, so in order not to make a mistake, the dog runs slow enough that he can compensate for the late commands or slow handler. Some dogs don’t adjust to their handler’s PHS and make mistakes on course. A very fast dog may overshoot turns or miss obstacles 26 because of late commands or a handler who isn’t in the right place. The net result is a slower course time, even though the dog actually runs fast. He has to backtrack or goes off course, which costs seconds. How do you know if you are a PHS handler? Take a look at your dogs’ times. Are they similar? Have a friend use a stopwatch to time where you are at certain places on the course. Are you at the same point in the course with all your dogs? Have a friend videotape your runs. Before watching the video, get a picture in your mind of how fast you run. Watch the video. Does the handler in your mind run much faster than the person in the video? If so, you might be a PHS handler. I discovered that weekend that I am a PHS handler. I’m sure this isn’t a shock to anyone who has seen me run my dogs. But it was to me. I am often told to Run! “But I am running!” I insist. “Just look at how my chest heaves up and down from exertion!” But alas, the video shows me trotting along. And the funny thing is, I move at the same pace with all my dogs. They all have similar course times. My dogs have adjusted to my speed and my reaction time. How do you overcome being a PHS handler? If you are a PHS handler, there are two things that need fixing. First is your handling speed comfort zone. The second piece to fix is your dog’s speed. Even if you could handle faster, if your dog isn’t running faster, you will still get the same course times. Pushing Your Handling Speed Comfort Zone A fun way to push your comfort zone is to handle a fast dog. Ask a friend with a fast dog to let you run him in practice. Run the dog and try to move faster as well as give your commands/cues in a timely fashion. If the dog starts slowing down or misses cues, ask the owner what you are doing to cause the slow down. Try to increase your speed and change your handling style to allow the dog to run as fast as he does with his owner. For those of us who don’t move that fast, one way to compensate is to handle your dog from a distance. Running right beside Clean Run | February 08

Clean Run Magazine - February 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - February 2008

Clean Run Magazine - February 2008
Contents
Editorializing: Barbarians at the Gate?
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
On Course with Annie Lehman
Basic Turns
Trainer’s Forum
Do You Have a Preferred Handling Speed?
Foundation Fundamentals: Dealing with Distractions, Part 2
Case Study: The King of the Off-course
Conquering Ring Nerves: How Do I Stop Shaking When I Step to the Line?
Sports Retraining for Agility Athletes
When Pigs Fly: What Is an Operant Dog? Why Should I Care?
Power Paws Patterns: Number Three
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Increasing Challenges on the Ball
Spy Kids: Balance in Training
Skill of the Month
When the Click Doesn’t End the Behavior: Conditioning a Release Signal
Shelter Champs: Dunk
Distance Challenge
Letters
Agility Organization Update
Nested Courses for Mardi Gras
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - February 2008
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Editorializing: Barbarians at the Gate?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 11
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 12
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - On Course with Annie Lehman
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Basic Turns
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 18
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 23
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 25
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Do You Have a Preferred Handling Speed?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Dealing with Distractions, Part 2
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 30
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 31
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Case Study: The King of the Off-course
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 33
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 34
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Conquering Ring Nerves: How Do I Stop Shaking When I Step to the Line?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 38
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Sports Retraining for Agility Athletes
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 42
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - When Pigs Fly: What Is an Operant Dog? Why Should I Care?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 45
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 46
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Power Paws Patterns: Number Three
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 50
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Increasing Challenges on the Ball
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 53
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 54
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 56
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Spy Kids: Balance in Training
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 59
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 63
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - When the Click Doesn’t End the Behavior: Conditioning a Release Signal
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 68
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Shelter Champs: Dunk
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Distance Challenge
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 74
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 75
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 76
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Letters
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Agility Organization Update
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 80
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 81
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 83
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 84
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