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Directional Cues (Left, Rights)


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I use left and right, particularly in gamble work - but my left is always my dog's left and the same with my right, so I don't worry about confusion. It works for me and my dogs.

 

I also use "get out" for lateral distance and to kick the dog out from me. THe more emphasis I put on that command kicks my dogs out further. For coming in close I just say my dog's name. For a strong call off and into me and particularly running around a snooker course or the main gamble, I rely on the good old 'that'll do" from my stock work. I use the get out and "there" command to indicate which tunnel mouth I want when doing multiple tunnel mouths, i.e. 6 tunnel mouths staring you in the face (gives me an idea for a gamble course!!!!)

 

I don't use any handling system - I have a tool box to draw on. I use what works to get my dogs around the course. I also use obstacle discrimination which very few people train anymore, and when I start firing out verbal commands, my dogs know to go off of that and not my body language - again useful tools if you are out of position or in gambles and snooker. Get stuck in any particular system and they are "rules" - things you aren't supposed to do, which of course can screw up a lot of handlers when you design courses that "go against the rules" and then they can't qualify on that course and then complain that that course was not right because it "broke" their handling system rules!!! :rolleyes:

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I know that I don't need them. I disagree with your first statement, if you are consistent with your handling you should be able to direct the dog with just that. Also the general out and here command but the left and right doesn't really need to be used. Perhaps some people don't have a way of handling their dog that is very consistent but I try to maintain a particular method that the dog will always be familiar with and it works at a distance. Change of arm means turn so it makes sense that a straight one means keep going, if your dog can understand that there is no need for a left or right. As for obstacle discrimination that goes back to basic training, just simply teaching your dog the name of the obstacle coupled with your handling will get you and your dog through a discrimination. I am not saying generic agility commands are not useful just the left and right tends to be a last resort when you can't be in the right place to tell your dog where to go. I'm sure I would get told I was lazy by numerous instructors if I used Left and Right instead of working to get in the right positional cue. I'm not saying they don't work for some but they sure aren't a necessity. I could direct my dog through a serp on the other side of a course if I needed to with just my arm changes. Why would I trade that for a left or right command?

 

"Left" and "Right" are not the only directional commands out there. As I stated previously, I do not use or teach a specific left/right because I couldn't keep them straight if my life depended on it. I use "Switch," which is also considered a directional command.

 

I guarantee you that you will never be successful at the Elite level of NADAC Chances if you do not have some sort of directional commands in your tool bag. Now, not everyone wishes to aspire to NADAC or the type of distance necessary to be successful there and that is fine -- But for those of us who do, directional commands of one type or another are necessary.

 

I would love to some day get one of my dogs to what is known as "Superstakes" level. These handlers are absolutely amazing, essentially handling entire courses from behind the start line, over 100' away from their dogs. Believe me, these handlers rely very heavily on verbal directionals along with pretty clear body language.

 

I'm sure there are plenty of people who like the hardcore "rules" of following a handling system like Greg Derrett or Linda Mecklenberg -- But personally, those rules don't work well for NADAC, so those handling systems aren't for me. That said, my dogs can negotiate an AKC or USDAA course without a problem, so my personal "handling system" must get the job done.

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I know that I don't need them. I disagree with your first statement, if you are consistent with your handling you should be able to direct the dog with just that. Also the general out and here command but the left and right doesn't really need to be used. Perhaps some people don't have a way of handling their dog that is very consistent but I try to maintain a particular method that the dog will always be familiar with and it works at a distance. Change of arm means turn so it makes sense that a straight one means keep going, if your dog can understand that there is no need for a left or right. As for obstacle discrimination that goes back to basic training, just simply teaching your dog the name of the obstacle coupled with your handling will get you and your dog through a discrimination. I am not saying generic agility commands are not useful just the left and right tends to be a last resort when you can't be in the right place to tell your dog where to go. I'm sure I would get told I was lazy by numerous instructors if I used Left and Right instead of working to get in the right positional cue. I'm not saying they don't work for some but they sure aren't a necessity. I could direct my dog through a serp on the other side of a course if I needed to with just my arm changes. Why would I trade that for a left or right command?

 

I think it depends on the type of agility courses you are running. I don't know of you guys play gamblers and snooker in Australia. I haven't looked at what the ANKC courses are like for a few years. You can definitely be at a disadvantage in AAC without some kind of verbal cuing.

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"Left" and "Right" are not the only directional commands out there. As I stated previously, I do not use or teach a specific left/right because I couldn't keep them straight if my life depended on it. I use "Switch," which is also considered a directional command.

 

I guarantee you that you will never be successful at the Elite level of NADAC Chances if you do not have some sort of directional commands in your tool bag. Now, not everyone wishes to aspire to NADAC or the type of distance necessary to be successful there and that is fine -- But for those of us who do, directional commands of one type or another are necessary.

 

I would love to some day get one of my dogs to what is known as "Superstakes" level. These handlers are absolutely amazing, essentially handling entire courses from behind the start line, over 100' away from their dogs. Believe me, these handlers rely very heavily on verbal directionals along with pretty clear body language.

 

I'm sure there are plenty of people who like the hardcore "rules" of following a handling system like Greg Derrett or Linda Mecklenberg -- But personally, those rules don't work well for NADAC, so those handling systems aren't for me. That said, my dogs can negotiate an AKC or USDAA course without a problem, so my personal "handling system" must get the job done.

 

^^^^Agreed! I can't imagine running Boots in elite chances and not having solid directional commands, there's no way we would be successful. I have a recent obsession w/ bonus lines in jumpers, I've found a new thrill...but again, it would be nearly impossible without some sort of directional command. Boots was my first agility dog, and I didn't teach directionals until we were in open/elite classes, and I don't think we would have progressed to the point we have had I not gone back to teach them.

 

After I brought Renoir home and began working on flat work, directionals were one of the first exercises that I started with, knowing that since we run NADAC and how much quicker he is than Boots that I would be lost without them.

 

This is not saything that I don't prefer to throw front crosses in, as I feel as though they motivate my dogs better then a directional, but when you get to the point that you are having to layer multiple obstacles, a front cross isn't going to do much.

 

In hindsight, I would much would have rather used the term 'turn' or 'switch' to mean, change your lead going away from me, but didn't know about those terms when I taught Boots and I tried changing the term w/ Renoir, but found that my mouth reverts back to 'left/right' and I was confusing the poor little guy. I do use a hand signal too, but find that I get a better response when working distance to use the commands together versus just relying on verbal or physical.

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I don't use any handling system - I have a tool box to draw on. I use what works to get my dogs around the course. I also use obstacle discrimination which very few people train anymore, and when I start firing out verbal commands, my dogs know to go off of that and not my body language - again useful tools if you are out of position or in gambles and snooker. Get stuck in any particular system and they are "rules" - things you aren't supposed to do, which of course can screw up a lot of handlers when you design courses that "go against the rules" and then they can't qualify on that course and then complain that that course was not right because it "broke" their handling system rules!!! :rolleyes:

 

Right there with you! I don't have a handling system either. I'm prob closer to Derrett than Meck. but I don't follow all the rules, never watched the dvds. I have trained with people who are strictly Derrett handlers, and I learned some very useful things for our toolbox, BUT lol, they could get caught up discussing one handling option for a good 20-30 min, just to make sure the rules were followed!!! lol! but it works well for their digs :D

 

Anyways, With my dog we just generally do more rear crossing than front, etc. etc. I just use what works for me and my dog BUT I do try my hardest to be consistent. I think thats the most important thing. It doesn't matter what handling (system or not) you use as long as it is working well for your dog and you are consistent with your handling and cues you use. :D

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"Left" and "Right" are not the only directional commands out there. As I stated previously, I do not use or teach a specific left/right because I couldn't keep them straight if my life depended on it. I use "Switch," which is also considered a directional command.

 

I guarantee you that you will never be successful at the Elite level of NADAC Chances if you do not have some sort of directional commands in your tool bag. Now, not everyone wishes to aspire to NADAC or the type of distance necessary to be successful there and that is fine -- But for those of us who do, directional commands of one type or another are necessary.

 

I would love to some day get one of my dogs to what is known as "Superstakes" level. These handlers are absolutely amazing, essentially handling entire courses from behind the start line, over 100' away from their dogs. Believe me, these handlers rely very heavily on verbal directionals along with pretty clear body language.

 

I'm sure there are plenty of people who like the hardcore "rules" of following a handling system like Greg Derrett or Linda Mecklenberg -- But personally, those rules don't work well for NADAC, so those handling systems aren't for me. That said, my dogs can negotiate an AKC or USDAA course without a problem, so my personal "handling system" must get the job done.

 

I agree with using directionals, I just found I have never needed to use in particular left and rights, don't get me wrong I have trained with them and they work fine. I had toyed with a "flip" cue especially for independent contact obstacles and a fast dog it would be fantastic. But I just don't see the need to a left or right. If I am in the wrong place then I am a bad handler and to fix it I would simply get her attention then redirect her but that rarely happens as I always strive to get to the right place so she has the right information. We do have Gamblers and Snooker but even for that I don't see the need for a left or right. Sure your generic get out and here commands are almost a necessity but if my dog undertsnads my arm changes she will know to come into me when I change arms or to keep going out when it is straight. I just like the idea more that my dog can understand what I want from her without having to use left or right. All the runs I have seen where let and right is used is generally as a last minute resort because the handler is in the wrong place. I don't know anyone who goes out on course and uses it frequently in their planning of a course. I train with and am close to a couple of the people who represented Australia on the WAC 2010 team and I will ask them if they use left and rights. As far as I know they don't but it sure is interesting. :rolleyes: I know I would get my butt kicked for being lazy if I used a left and right to tell my dog where to go :D If it works for you great but we compete at a high level without it just fine. I think we should have a thread for videos I would love to see how people handle their fast dogs in particular outside of Australia.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's quite possible to run your dog at a far distance w/o directionals. I do it all the time and am successful in USDAA, AAC, NADAC and CPE. I use speed changes and verbals for turning into me and away from me. Basically I usually handle the same as if the dog was right beside me. Works for me and for my students (back when I taught years ago).

 

I'd be very cautious claiming you "can't" do something in the agility because inevitably someone will prove you wrong. ;-) There are so many different ways to handle successfully - do what works for you and your dog.

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