Adding Distance to Dog Agility Handling

Adding Distance to Your Dog Agility Handling

In this article you will learn how to add distance to your dog agility handling?  Why is this important?  Because our dogs can run faster than we can. If a dog is racing through a straight tunnel and has to do a backside jump. it can be quite challenging to cue the dog to take the backside jump. 

If we can lead our dog from a distance, we'll be better able to handle various challenging situations. 
Video Tutorial on 
Getting Handling Distance

Here is a good video tutorial from Bad Dog Agility on how to create distance in your dog agility handling.

Watch the video and then check your understanding by taking the Progress Check below. The Progress Check will ensure you are mastering the key take-aways from this article.



Progress Check

True or False?
1. If your dog has good obstacle focus, it is OK if you fall behind your dog.
2. It's important to watch your dog all the way to the final landing ensure it completes an obstacle.
3.It is a good idea to practice cuing your dog to an obstacle when you are off to one side or the other.
4. It is best to run with your dog to the wing of a jump and watch your dog take the jump.
5. It is best to leave when a dog commits to an obstacle.
6. You can tell when a dog commits to an obstacle by watching the dog's eyes. 




Progress Check (Continued)

7. It is possible to train a dog to take an obstacle of its own accord with very little waiving of the arms.
8. One way to get distance is to run with your dog up to an obstacle and then leave quickly when the dog commits to an obstacle.

9. To get lateral distance you can run with your dog but off to the side of the obstacle close to the next obstacle; for this to work your dog must have obstacle focus.

10. A good way to have lateral distance is to teach your dog not to violate your line. 


Answers

1. If your dog has good obstacle focus, it is OK if you fall behind your dog. That's right!

2. It's important to watch your dog all the way to the final landing ensure it completes an obstacle. No way. It's best to see commitment and then leave before your dog finishes the obstacle.

3.It is a good idea to practice cuing your dog to an obstacle when you are off to one side or the other.  Yes, this is sometimes called "lateral distance handling."

4. It is best to run with your dog to the wing of a jump and watch your dog take the jump. You will be left behind if you do that.

5. It is best to leave when a dog commits to an obstacle. Yes!

6. You can tell when a dog commits to an obstacle by watching the dog's eyes.  Yes! When your dog looks at the obstacle, he is committing to it.
Progress Check Answers (Continued)

7. It is possible to train a dog to take an obstacle of its own accord with very little waiving of the arms. Yes! Clicker training and shaping is very helpful in teaching this. We'll publish a separate article on how to do this later. 

8. One way to get distance is to run with your dog up to an obstacle and then leave quickly when the dog commits to an obstacle. Yes. Remember to "Step and Go."

9. To get lateral distance you can run with your dog but off to the side of the obstacle close to the next obstacle; for this to work your dog must have obstacle focus. Yes!

10. A good way to have lateral distance is to teach your dog not to violate your line.  This is not discussed in the video, but it is true! For example, when cuing your dog to take a backside jump from a distance, point your toes just to the side of the wing as you cue the jump with your arm. Your arm and toes will create a line. In practice, teach your dog not to violate this line. If she does, say "oops" and try again.  When she starts to move with your line, reward her immediately with a secondary reinforcer. (More on this in a future article.)


Dog Agility and Obedience Training

This dog related website focus on Dog Agility Training as well as basic obedience training. Please see dog training home page to learn more. 
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