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One of the best things owning a deaf dogs tell me is that you communicate a lot more to your dogs than you realize you do, and words really, really don't matter to them. Dogs are good at picking up body language - it's the primary way they communicate, anyway. They figure out how to read body language and physical signals a whole lot faster than words.

 

Think about teaching a dog at all - how long does it take to get the dog to do it with a gesture vs. how long it takes the dog to respond to JUST a verbal?

 

My deaf dog has done just as well in the agility that she has done (which is very little, but that's me - not her) as the hearing dog. In fact, she won the little end of foundations class contest which was all about sending and moving your dog around. In amongst not just hearing dogs but border collies and aussies. She surprised everyone but the instructor and REALLY ticked off the corgi owner. You don't need verbals to do it.

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Curiousone if you are interested in distance handling focus on finding NADAC focused trainers. Google Amanda Nelson, she is the founders daughter and has lots of videos up and offers online training. What some of the Nadac focused handlers can do from a distance is really impressive, it is not my flavor of agility, I like the physicality of running with my dog but I really respect what they can acheive.

What is interesting is that they still use motion, but do it from behind, often in a fixed spot, if you google NADAC champs you will find some very very impressive rear handling.

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Curiousone if you are interested in distance handling focus on finding NADAC focused trainers. Google Amanda Nelson, she is the founders daughter and has lots of videos up and offers online training. What some of the Nadac focused handlers can do from a distance is really impressive, it is not my flavor of agility, I like the physicality of running with my dog but I really respect what they can acheive.

What is interesting is that they still use motion, but do it from behind, often in a fixed spot, if you google NADAC champs you will find some very very impressive rear handling.

This video gets me every time.
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Impressive handling (in the video). We have a couple of excellent NADAC handlers in this area. It is fun to see them handle at a distance.

 

As alligande says, not my preferred running style. I like to push the envelope more and see a faster dog with tighter turns (not that I can always keep up ;) ).

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I personally believe a good border should be able to run the course like this.

 

 

You need to understand that not all border collies are the same. When you get one, if you want to succeed in any activity you have to spend time getting to know him / her and identifying strengths and weaknesses (your dog's and your own) rather than forming preconceived notions of what a dog ought to be able to do.

 

NADAC style isn't what most agility competitors throughout the world would recognise as the same sport that they participate in. Some distance work is useful in mainstream agility but extreme distance control as in that video is only really necessary if a handler is mobility impaired and rarely if ever achieves the precision and time shaving necessary.

 

In her younger day my mongrel would work at a great distance and I appreciated it because I am slow and lazy, but as she rose up the grades and courses became more complex I had to hand her over to my daughter because she could keep in contact and tighten up her lines. I can work my daughter's border collie at a distance using verbals but nowhere near as tightly as she can working closer much of the time.

 

As a contrast compare some FCI World Championship runs and see whether you think you could run those courses directing from the sidelines.

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I only really DO NADAC (it's what's around here), and even in NADAC that kind of thing is rare. Pretty sure it's a chances run, even, where the whole point is staying behind that red line/inside that box. It's an extreme game and ONE of the games/course types offered. It's not a standard course. Most trials, at least around me, don't include it. It's on par with jumpers, tunnlers, and touch 'n go.


It's cool, it's neat, I LOVE watching it and would like to do it, but it's really specialized even within NADAC, where more distance handling and discrimination are part of the game. You really can't expect to run like that in most courses. They're just not designed for it.

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Other really good examples of using directionals (by mobility-challenged handlers) can be found on Youtube. Check out Gene and Versace (Gene runs Versace from a wheelchair) and/or Sabine Westhauser and Kate (there should be an umlaut over the a in Westhauser, but I can't figure out how to get my keyboard to produce it.) -- Sabine also has an active Facebook page. Sabine and Kate compete in Germany, and do all the "international" moves. As do Gene and Versace, when the judges set the appropriate course.

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I recall one guy that came to agility training with a nice collie that initially enjoyed it.

 

However, he had got it into his head that he would get his dog to work "invisible sheep" and had been working hard on directional commands at a distance.

 

Unfortunately the dog got thoroughly confused as to whether it should be taking the obstacles or just going right or left when told and became reluctant to jump.

 

We couldn't persuade the guy to make a clear distinction for his dog between the directional work he was doing outside agility and the instructions he was giving in agility. If the dog got confused his default response was to throw in some directionals that he knew the dog would respond to which just made matters worse.

 

It wasn't what he had taught his dog that was the issue, it was the inappropriate use of commands and the failure to communicate clearly with the dog that was the problem.

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I would approach this cautiously. Yes, agility can be taught with all verbals and the handler not using movement. I guess the question to seriously consider is why would a new agility handler want to go that route when the vast majority of the masters in the sport choose to go with the more traditional (and more competitive not to mention simpler) method of using motion. You need to take into consideration you're taking the much more difficult approach as far as much more training needed, and therefore needing to wait a lot longer before the dog can trial, and going into this knowing that the end result, competitively speaking, will be inferior to a more traditional approach. Most people using an extreme distance/verbal based style do so because they either have a physical condition that prevents the handler from handling in a more traditional manner, or because they participate in a particular class or organization whose rules require it.

 

There is definitely a place in the traditional handling style for distance work. However, this typically consists of the dog learning commitment to where he was originally sent (for example, handler motion cues next jump 20 feet ahead, as soon as dog shows commitment, handler may head off elsewhere, leaving the dog to cover the last 15 or 20 feet on his own) and the dog's natural tendency to parallel the handler's line (if dog is 30 feet out and handler moves straight alongside the dog's current path, the dog will follow the same line and maintain the 30 foot separation, a deceleration or collection/convergence cue would be needed to pull the dog off that line). All of that tends to be very natural for BCs - they still are following motion even when working at a distance. So the handler still needs to understand the natural motion cues as that is the dog's default. To untrain that natural method of communication and go to all verbals can take quite a bit of work. BCs are smart and can certainly learn it. Again, it just comes back to making sure that's what you really want to do. Because once you decondition the dog's natural responsive to body language, that may be a hard thing to fix later if you change your mind.

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  • 2 years later...
  • 3 weeks later...

A lot of my friends have took her foundation class. they said "its not a handling class, you need to know what shes talking about".

Terms. I need to know terms, Like serpentines, threadles, back sides of jumps. "You need to fully grasp these terms to do best in her foundations class"?

Maybe I am wrong? Or maybe they don't want me to take her class :P.

 

 

Talked to an instructor today. She said "you push the dog out with your body language beside the correct side of the jump,

to get the dog to jump the backside."

This is not what I mean. I KNOW how to use my body language to guide a dog that's running beside me. Who doesn't?

 

Its VERBAL directional and crosses and such, that are tough for novice handlers to teach their dog and themselves about.

 

What I am interested is learning these terms and how they work. And how to correctly and safely teach to my dog.

 

For an example, I was going to teach my future dog how to find backside of jump himself.

Then while googling it, I came across this video that saved my life.

Now I know better, I am going to teach my dog "split", or avoidance of the jump, so I can guide him to the backside...

Hold on I will post the video.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehSBLE6UeZU

 

I need more videos like this explaining things like teaching "left and right" and also teaching wraps that go left and right".

Example, if I want my dog to turn right and head to a jump on his right. I do not want my dog to do a full wrap around the right wing of the jump he was at. Then he would be in the complete wrong direction...

 

That stuff confuses me.

 

I do not want to screw this dog up.

 

 

Here are some basics:

 

Front Cross - changing the side that your dog is on by making a 180 degree turn (towards the dog), thereby getting the dog to "switch sides" and convey to them a change in direction

 

Shoulder pull or post turn - dog turns with you and maintains the same direction - can be a wrap or an open turn like a 180

 

Push or Backside - Dog takes backside of jump

 

Rear Cross - the dog is on your left taking a jump in front of you, you diagonally cross behind your dog, switching sides to cue a change in direction.

 

Flick Away - is what happens when your dog is on your right as you are moving in a circle counterclockwise and then takes a piece of equipment that is also on your right. The dog is flicking away from the direction that you are going...generally not a good thing unless you are threadling..

 

Wrap - the dog wraps the wing of a jump tightly and comes back to handler - this can be done on either side of the wing (backside or frontside of jump)

 

Threadle - the dog takes the "inobvious side of the object" For instance, if your dog is on your right and you are standing at the middle of a curved tunnel, the dog should go in the right side. A threadle cue directs the dog to the "off" side - can be used on jumps, weaves, etc...this is a trained "flick away"

 

Serpentine - replaces TWO front crosses (or two changes of direction) - most often seen in a line of three jumps placed end to end about 10 feet apart.

 

Blind Cross - you change sides of your dog when your dog is behind you (hence the term blind), by moving over the dog's path.

 

180 - two jumps placed side by side. dog takes front side of first jump and back side of second jump while staying on the same side of you...always on left or always on right

 

270 - two jumps placed at 90 degrees to eachother with a "corner" - dog takes front side of first jump and back side of second jump

 

Verbal cues do make a difference. Shape Up Dogs does a great on-line foundation class to help teach and proof verbal cues.

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