Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Witbank, South Africa
Above all, your dog has to listen to any command you give, and must respond immediately. For example, we teach our dogs to wait at the contact zones on the A frame, see - saw and dog walk. If they don't touch the zones on both sides, then its not counted as completed, and you can be disqualified. So what we do is imprint the words "touch" and "wait". The more experienced dogs run up the obstacle (touching the first zone), pause extremely briefly at the top until their handler says "touch", at which point they go down to the zone.
Then it depends on where the next obstacle is. If its close, we let them off straight away, if its not, we say "wait", go ahead to gain time, and then loose them.
We teach a lot of words. For example - the tunnel. The dog may be required to go in on the right or left, so we teach "right" and "left", so the dogs know which way to enter.
We teach our dogs the name of the obstacles, so a jump is "jump, A frame is "A frame" etc. Because, as we can demonstrate with the advanced dogs, by all rights, the handler should be able to stand in one spot, and direct the dog over the course simply by voice commands. My pap is still learning this - She has a love affair with the tunnel lol.
On the see - saw, we teach them "tip", as we don't like them to just run to the end and have it slam down, as it can hurt them, they can become fearful, or they could miss the contact zone on their way off. So what we do is we teach them to go up to the middle, tell them "tip" which allows them to tip it themselves, so they're prepared for it and it gives us time to go ahead. This does waste time, but we would rather have those few seconds off to prepare ourselves and them for the quick run to the next, than injure our dogs or risk missing the contact.
We teach them "Go!" "Around" and "Freeze". We teach freeze for the cloth tunnel, so that if it twists and the dog gets stuck, we can yell "Freeze!", the dog will do so, and we can get them out. We teach "Go!" To release them from a contact, to set them off at the start of a course, or to send them ahead to the next obstacle. We also use "Go" with "Around", which we use if the dog must turn around and do the same obstacle from the other way (it happens, its tough lol). We train this over a line of jumps mostly, we send them out - "Jump! Go go go! Around! Jump! Go go go!" Exactly like that.
You can choose your own commands for the obstacles, but you do need to stick to it so your dog imprints on what its for.
So like I said, all you basically need to do is to make sure your dog listens to you at all times. :)
Wow I typed a lot, that was fun lol.
Anything else? Anything? This is so nice to talk agility with someone!
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