Using Verbal Directional Cues in Dog Agility

Below: Momo Makes a Sharp Left Turn in AKC Masters Course

Start with Luring or Tug Play
Luring has a bad name in dog agility training. It's even called "bribing" by some well-meaning dog trainers. Come on!  Bribing is "...valuable consideration given or promised with a view to corrupting the behavior of a person.." OK, some people use bribing in the sense of promising a reward for desired behavior, but in my book, luring is not bribing because bribing has such a negative connotation. 

There is nothing wrong with luring a dog to get a behavior started. Once the behavior happens, you can label it and the dog will eventually learn to respond to a verbal cue of the behavior.
To lure with a tug toy, first get into a tugging game and then flip the tug toy in a circle to the left or right and label the behavior with whatever key word your want to use.  Just be consistent. . 
Using Directional Verbal Cues
Teaching your dog to respond to verbal directional cues can be a lot of work. Some expert trainers snub their noses at this approach, saying, "It takes a long time to teach a dog "directionality" based on verbals. I don't have time for that, and don't need it. My dogs understand my silent language immediately. 

However, I love it that Magic Momo understands and responds so well to right and left verbal cues.  In the image, here, you can see Momo take a diving jump and turning sharply left. 
There a lot more to teaching a dog to turn left or right then just tugging and labeling the behavior as you turn the dog. But that will get your started.  In future articles, I will go into more detail. 

In the video titled "AKC Dog Agility..."  you can see how well Momo responded to left and right cues along with rear crosses.  Yes, I was also using rear crosses and Momo has eye's in the back of her head.   But I'm convinced that the combination of the verbal and non-verbal cues helped Momo to be certain which way to turn after taking a jump.

More to Come.

Please check back later, because a lot more details will be offered about this topic.
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