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Handling Drill 4.6.20

These sequences work on handling moves with 2 or 3 jumps. You'll see in my video example I only have two jumps, so I skipped jump #1 and #5. You can still accomplish the same skills using just two jumps. The dog can start in a sit stay, or on a platform or table. If you have a tunnel you can also replace the #1 jump with a tunnel.

These drills are good to work on perfecting the timing and position of your handling cues. I really suggest filming your session, you can learn a lot from watch yourself!

Front Cross - Cues a turn and side change. Better to use on sharper turns than a blind cross.

  • Placement - The front cross should happen on the diagonal line between the two jumps. It should be done at least halfway to the jump you're going to next, as close as you can get. This helps tell the dog what direction your're going next, and helps keep you out of the dog's landing zone.

  • Timing - Your cross should be done before the dog lands from #2. This is why filming your training sessions is important. Watch the recording, is your cross done when they land from #2? You should have your right hand presented to the dog and be facing #3 when they land from #2...or even sooner if possible.

  • Signals - Your left hand cues #2. As the dog commits to #2 and you have completed the cross, then use your right hand to cue the next jump. Dropping your left hand or switching to your right hand too early, may cause the dog to pull off of jump #2.

After you finish your FC, you need to cue a tight turn on #3. You can do with with a post turn or a spin.

  • Post turn - there is no side change and you keep your eye on your dog. You slow down to cue decel as the dog approaches #3, use your right hand to point to the jump. You can use your wrap verbal cue. Rotate to your left and finish out.

  • Spin - there is no side change, but you turn your back to the're facing the direction you're going next (turn towards #4 as you cue #3) Cue a wrap by rotating towards the dog. Use your wrap verbal cue and your right hand to signal the jump. Once the dog commits turn to your right and do a blind cross to pick the dog back up on your right side. A Spin is a wrap followed immediately by a blind cross. When the dog round the wing of #3 they should see you looking over your right shoulder. Try to practice a send and go, run towards the finish as soon as you can to practice staying ahead of the dog.

Spins cue more collection and tighter turns that a post turn does. Know your dog - do they need more slow down cues? Use a spin. Do they need more motivation and encouragement to go faster, use a post turn.

You can reward different elements - you can reward out of your right hand after #2 to reward the dog reading the Front Cross turn cue.

You can reward after #3 for the dog reading the wrap cue. I like to drop my toy on the path I want the dog to take, and keep running in the next direction.

Blind Cross - Cues a side change. These are better to use on straight lines and soft turns. Doesn't cue a turn as well as a FC.

  • Placement - The blind cross happens on the same diagonal line as the FC.

  • Timing - The blind cross timing is the same as the front cross. Because you turn your back to your dog, timing is even more important. If you're late, you will lose connection with them and possibly send them off course. Make sure your cross is done before they land.

  • Signal - Your left hand cues #2, as the dog commits keep running forward but look over your right shoulder and bring your right hand up.

After the Blind Cross you can use either a post turn or spin to cue #3.

Rear Cross - Cues a turn and a side change. Handler changes sides behind the dog.

Placement and Timing are tricky with rears, you can't be too far ahead or you will crowd the dog off the jump. You can't be too far behind or the dog won't be able to see the cue. The rear cross happens on the same diagonal line as the FC and BC. The hand closest to the dog pushes forward towards the center of the bar of #3. This signals the dog to go ahead of you to take the jump. As the dog moves ahead of you, move down the diagonal line towards the wing you want the dog to turn around. This convergence behind the dog, cues them to make a left turn.

Leaving a target plate or placed toy and help the dog learn to go ahead of you and turn the correct direction.

Front cross and blind crosses are natural handling moves - if you do them right, the dog will naturally follow. Rear crosses actually require dog training for the dog to learn how to do them. I will do a lesson soon on teaching rear crosses.

Recall -

Placement. Refer to the lesson on Recall To Heel to go over placement.

Lead out with your feet facing the left wing of #3, while looking at the dog over the center of the bar of #2. You right hand points to the dog's nose. Make sure that lifting your hand doesn't make them release. As the dog commits to #2, start to move to #3. You can use a post turn or spin to cue #3.

Wrap -

Turning to the right at #3 is done by cueing a wrap.

Wrap principles -

Decel - Stop your motion when cue the wrap.

Rotation - Face the direction you're going next.

Hands - Hand closest to the dog points to the center of the bar.

Verbal - Use your consistent verbal wrap cue.

For the sequence with #3 on the backside, we can cue it going the to far wing or the inside wing.

Far wing -

Backside slice followed by a Blind Cross.

Send to the backside going no deeper than the center of the bar of #3. If you go too close to the far wing of #3, it will be hard to get out of their landing zone and you risk them colliding with you or hitting the bar.

Send and go! Once they commit to the backside, starting running towards the next jump and do you blind cross. The blind should be done before they land from #3.

Backside slice followed by a Front Cross.

After your backside send, turn towards the dog and do a FC. This can be the slower option because it takes more steps to turn a FC than a BC, but because you keep your eye on your dog it can help connection. Front cross also cue a better turn (because your shoulder rotate towards the dog), so it can help the dog take the jump and not run around it.

Inside wing -

Front cross then backside wrap with a spin

Cue a FC between #2 and #3, note that your diagonal line has changed now that #3 is on the other side. Once dog is on your right side, use your right hand to signal the backside.

Now you can follow through with either post turn (turning to your left and keeping the dog on your right hand), or you can turn to your right then pick the dog up on your right side by doing a spin. That's what I demoed in the video example.

Threadle Rear -

  • Placement - Halfway between #2 and #3. Rotate to face the direction you're going next.

  • Timing - Give your threadle cue as the dog is taking #2.

  • Signal - Your right hand points towards the dog's nose as they land from #2. Draw the line you want the dog to take and follow through to point towards #3. Use your verbal threadle cue and repeat it until you know the dog is committed.

If you're not getting a tight turn over #3 you can lower the bar, take some speed away by having them start after #2, or you can signal a multi wrap. Rewards should be thrown behind the wing of #3 to support a tight turn.


You can also move the #3 jump to the other side and work on all these skills going the opposite direction.

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