Clean Run - June 2011 - (Page 47)

Rising Stars Challenges for © AlissA Behn/p This month’s article traces its roots to the “Backyard Dogs” exercises in CR April 2010. That article focused on the basics of handler focus/obstacle focus transitions and their relation to turning. The original setup was known as the “mushroom exercise”—connect the outer rim of jumps and the tunnel and you get a mushroom-shaped outline as shown here. Not only was it good for teaching the basic skills, but it was also good since it did not require a lot of space to set it up. By Stuart Mah et-per sonAl ities.c om While “Backyard Dogs” setups are restricted to a 40' x 50' area and a particular set of equipment, when Clean Run asked me to write this new series of training exercises they allowed me to use any number or types of obstacles that I wanted (more is always better). They also gave me more room to design exercises. Like the original mushroom, this new setup version still features handler focus and obstacle focus transitions, but with more room and more obstacles. The sequences are longer with more space between obstacles, and they are definitely more complex. This morphed mushroom setup is known informally as “Space Invaders” (connect the outer jumps and tunnels and you get a creature similar in shape to the 1970s Bally video game). We use this particular setup for more advanced transition work (more rapid and more frequent changes of focus). At its heart though, is the original mushroom exercise from “Backyard Dogs.” So, despite the more complex nature of the exercise sequence, the skills being practiced are the same as in that “Backyard Dogs” setup. You will notice as you get to the later sequences that they are longer than the typical competition course. The goal here is to practice on focusing for longer periods than what is likely necessary at a trial. By making practice harder, the trial becomes easier. Also, as some of the sequences are on the long side, the goal is not to try to run all of the sequences in one session. Rather, spread them out over several days so you keep both the attitude of the dog and the handler inspired rather than flat. As always, don’t focus on just getting through each sequence in the correct numerical order. Instead you need to focus on the skill underlying the sequence. Consider how you are getting through the sequence. If you end up having to call the dog off multiple times, then you aren’t teaching the dog the skill that you want. Instead, if necessary, change the sequence so that you teach the desired skill. D June 11 | Clean Run 47

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - June 2011

Clean Run - June 2011
Editorializing: When Did Agility Become About Looks?
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Building and Balancing Handler and Obstacle Focus, Part 3
Sharpening Your Snooker Skill: Teach Your Dog to Bypass Obstacles
Lameness in Agility Dogs
Confessions of a Gambling Addict, Part 2: Planning the Opening
AKC’s New Kid on the Block: Time 2 Beat
Challenges for Rising Stars
Intervertebral Disc Disease in the Canine Athlete
Challenges at CR Central
FOCUS and Impulse-control Classes: Week 2
Ready, Set, Trial! Walk, then Run
Tips for Training Running Contacts, Part 1
When is Good Enough Enough?
Agility Bloopers

Clean Run - June 2011