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Handling Drill 5.17.20

The drill this week uses 3 jumps and a tunnel. It was an opening of a USDAA course that provides lots of different handling options and combinations. If you don't have a tunnel, it's not really necessary, you could replace #4 with jump (or another obstacle like weaves or a table) or you can just run in that direction to reward after #3.

All the options explore different handling options and wrap vs. slice paths. For most dogs a slice is always faster and easier on the body than a wrap is. Dogs put in less strides and stay in extension when they are slicing. They have to put in more strides to wrap (more strides = slower), and collect and decelerate to make the tight turn.

The only time a wrap will be faster is if the distance is longer to go the slice route. But what I've found with Chip is even if the slice route is 1-2 steps longer than the wrap route, it will still be a little faster, or about the same as the wrap. If the slice route becomes more like 3-4 steps longer, the shorter wrap route will be faster.

A lot of variable's will decide why I choose one path versus another. Am I going for a fast time? I will want to choose the fastest paths possible. Do I want to give myself a head start to get ahead of the dog? Maybe I send the dog the slower path so I can get ahead. Maybe I know I can't get ahead of the dog so I choose the easiest path to handle from behind. Know your dog...wraps can be super demotivating and slow some dogs down. Ideally you and your dog will know how to do all the options, then figure out which ones you both favor.





Option #1 - Backside Slice to Forced Throwback


Option #1 gives the dog two slice jumps. There are two options of how to handle this path, the first one is handling #2 from the landing side and doing backside slice with dog on your left side. This is a good option if you don't have a start line stay or can't lead out very far.

Note where the dog is lined up - if doing a sit stay, line your dog up so they are on a straight line facing the left refusal plane of #2.

Remember when sending to a backside slice, you want to go no deeper than the center of the bar. This will help you stay ahead to handler #3. Another thing that will help you stay ahead is doing a "send & go". As soon as your dog is committed to the backside send start to move towards three. The stronger the commitment, the earlier you can leave...you don't want to have to wait for them to start jumping #2 before you can leave....you will never beat them to #3!

Cue #3 as a forced throwback. The term "forced" means you are ahead of the dog bringing them to the backside of a jump. When the dog lands from #2, they see the incorrect side of #3...keep moving towards the take off side of #3 while looking at the dog over you left shoulder and connecting with your left hand...this signals the dog to stay on your left side and not cut behind you to take the wrong side of #3. You can use a verbal cue of calling their name or your threadle verbal cue, as this is technically a threadle from the dog's perspective.

Once you are on the take off side of #3 and past the first wing, then you can rotate towards the dog and bring both hands up to cue #3. Keep your back to the jump and when the dog takes off, do a blind cross and look over your right shoulder.

If you or your dog is unfamiliar with throwbacks, there will be a training video at the end of this post.


Option #2 - Backside Slice to Wrap


Option #2 combines the faster/easier slice path over #2 and the slower (but maybe easier to handle) path of a wrap at #3.

Cue jump 2 the same as the option #1, still keep connected with the dog on your left side as you move towards #3 and get into wrap position. Remember your wrap fundamentals - get to the take off side of the jump, decelerate, rotate to face the next obstacle, use your verbal cue and your hand to cue the jump. Once the dog commits to #3, FC to get dog on your right side and run towards #4.


Option #3 - Forced FC to Threadle


Option three takes the dog on the same path as option 1, but the handler is handling from the take off side of jump #2.

You must be able to lead out for this move. Leave the dog in a stay on an angle facing the path you want them to take to #2. It is important to lead out with the dog on the side you're going to release them to (the left side). You want to walk the path you want the dog to take, follow the line that's drawn above and watch how I lead out in the video. These are giving the dogs a clue where they are going next before you even release them.

Tuck in behind the wing (close to the wing, no more than an arm's length away) and put your left hand down outside the wing of #2 so the dog can see it from their stay. It is important to put your hand down BEFORE you release the dog. Make sure they don't self release off the hand movement.

Release the dog and do a little "shakey shakey" with your hand...you can say the dogs name or give your threadle verbal cue (because from the dog's perspective this is very threadle like). When you feel the dog is committed to going to the correct side of #2, you can start your front cross and start moving to #3. Once the dog in jumping #2, start to give your threadle cue for #3.

If you or your dog are unfamiliar with forced front crosses, there will be a training video at the end of this post.


Option 4 - Backside Wrap to Throwback


Option 4 combines one slower path (the backside wrap) and one faster path (throwback slice).

Notice the different starting position of the dog now, they should be lined up straight on #1 so they are looking at the right refusal plane of #2. '

When cueing a backside wrap, you want to be behind the wing so you don't block the dog's path or view of the wing. Using your right hand to signal the backside, wait for the dog to commit then FC and pick the dog up on your left side to move to #3. Just as in option #1, keep connection on your left hand as you move to the throwback.


Option #5 - Backside Wrap to Wrap


This option take the dog on both of the slower paths. Cue the backside wrap on #2 the same as option 4, then move to the take off side of #3 and cue the wrap the same as in option #2.


I timed all the options with Chip and you can see they are all very similar! But the two slices is faster!



Forced FC and Throwback Training -


Start with training the Forced Front Cross then add in the Throwback once the dog has the idea.

1. Leave the dog in a sit stay, fairly close to the jump. Tuck in behind the wing and put your hand low outside the wing. Release the dog and bring them to your hand to reward. We want to train the dog to predict going to the backside of the jump when they see you in this position. Only do this reward a few times, then start giving the reward and then turning to do the jump...this will help the dogs learn to predict going to the jump next.

2. Make sure they are not releasing off your hand movement. I did a bad job of this is the first few clips. You will see me put my hand down and release Chip at the same time in the first attempt. Then the second attempt he starts to move when he sees my hand. ALWAYS put your hand down and wait a second before you release them. Always separate the hand from the release. Sometimes show the signal, then run back to reward them.

3. Once the dog is committing to the correct side of the jump well, stop rewarding before the jump and just reward after. You can leave the dog in a stay farther away from the jump to add more speed in, then eventually add in a previous jump.

4. Make sure to practice this on both sides.

5. To practice the throwback, the cue starts exactly the same as the FC. When the dog gets to the take off side of the jump, keep your back to the jump and use both arms to point to the jump bar. I like to use the opposite arm as well as the arm closest to the dog because it rotates your shoulders more and helps the dog read the turn better. As the dog starts to jump, do a blind cross and look over your new shoulder. Make sure to do this soon enough, by the time the dog lands you should be looking over your new shoulder. If you are late doing this you may accidentally cue the dog to back jump. Toss the reward near the wing.


Backside Slice and Threadle Training

The other skills that are necessary for this drill are backside and threadles. If your dog needs more work on those review the training videos in this post - https://www.heatheroneillagility.com/post/2-jumps-6-cues






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© 2020 By Heather O'Neill