My Personal Agility Handling Method.

So February has been the month to put the polish on our training ready for the new season to really begin. I decided to go back to basics and whilst training my dogs I started to really analyse my agility handling methods, which I have developed over the years, to become what it is today. I came up with some very interesting answers and thought I would share them with you.

I like to put my verbal agility commands into three categories. Firstly there is the obstacle name which tells my dogs which obstacle to take. For me these include, Frame, Walk, See, Stretch (for the long jump and spread), Tyre, Weave, Wall (for the wall and wishing well), Tunnel (for any type of tunnel). You will notice that I don’t use a command for the single jumps, more on this later. When I first started off many years ago these were all the commands I thought I needed, oh boy how I was wrong!

The next set of commands I use are what I call the directional. These tell my dogs which direction to turn. I use Left, Right, In (to run closer to me or perform a pull through), With Me (for a run past an obstacle not to be taken), Round (to take the back of an obstacle) and Out (to stay further away from me, combined with an obstacle name if I want the dog to take it and when layering).

The last set of commands and the most important I think are what I like to call the Action Commands. These tell my dogs how to run the course. I use Wait (for a start line wait when needed), Go (for acceleration), Check (for deceleration and stride check), Steady (for a tricky contact entry that may be off set), Touch (for the action of touching the contact points).

Of course these are just the verbal commands, which are often combined together for example Check-In, or Out-Stretch. There are also all the body language and signals that go along with these, and I often run my dogs silently to proof the body language signals, just in case we find ourselves running a course in a very noisy venue where my dogs maybe can’t hear me as well.

Then off course there are the emergency panic commands that I’m sure we all use. I try not to use these where ever possible but occasionally the odd ‘This’ command or my dogs name get used to rescue an off course situation, which inevitably occurred because I didn’t use the correct commands in the first place.

The Ribble Premier Show with Olympia Qualifier was a nice relaxed show. We had some lovely clear rounds with some nice layering and nudges practiced and were just out of the placings. Our other club members did fantastic at the Hare and Hounds and it was great to share all of their Rosettes and Trophies on the Cleverpawz Agility Club Facebook Page. Keep up the good work guys I thinks 2016 is going to be the year for the Cleverpawzians!

I hope to be able to get to these shows next month in between my residential training, Crooked Oak UKA, Phase Purple, Adams and Wyre Champs.

See you all soon.

Lucy and the gang :)