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Left and Right Directionals (for distance work)


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Have any of you ever trained left and right directionals on a fast dog for distance work? (Not really for wraps, but to indicate a direction of flow on the course)

 

I will say that I have been trained on handling systems that rely primarily on body language, using verbals as only secondary support.

 

But . . . it seems that with a fast dog, it would be good to have "insurance" directional cues in case he is way out ahead and I need to try to cue a turn when perhaps I might not be in the picture so much.

 

If so, how did you train them? In particular the foundation.

 

I think I am going to attempt this, even though I have never done it before. In the past I haven't really needed this, but I am thinking that I might with Bandit and want to start foundation training for it, so I am starting to educate myself on options.

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I've done it successfully with one of my two current dogs (the boy!). My current girl - well, it's a work in progress; she barely has it on the flat/still, so I haven't tried on course - and she's not the fastest thing out there.

 

I just started right in front of my - dog facing me, luring around in a circle. Gradually faded the lure (down to a flick of a finger last!), then started it on either side of me, facing away from me, etc. When I took it to "equipment," I started with a hoop, so we didn't have to think about the jumping/bar part of it. He is SUPERB at these directionals! That said, if I happen to give the wrong command, it's body language that overrides it every time (though this hasn't happened often).

 

The previous dog had a superb "switch" - either just verbal or just body language. (Meaning: turn away from me.) She was super-fast, and that worked when a pull towards me wasn't the course.

 

Good luck - it's great when it works! And oh, I've had so many people say, "I can't give that command, because I'll get it mixed up." I don't use it THAT often - and usually only when planned, not "on the fly."

 

diane

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I've done it successfully with one of my two current dogs (the boy!). My current girl - well, it's a work in progress; she barely has it on the flat/still, so I haven't tried on course - and she's not the fastest thing out there.

 

I just started right in front of my - dog facing me, luring around in a circle. Gradually faded the lure (down to a flick of a finger last!), then started it on either side of me, facing away from me, etc. When I took it to "equipment," I started with a hoop, so we didn't have to think about the jumping/bar part of it. He is SUPERB at these directionals! That said, if I happen to give the wrong command, it's body language that overrides it every time (though this hasn't happened often).

 

Thank you for the input!!

 

This is cool because Bandit can already do those things on verbal. He learned for Freestyle. I would just have to replace "spin" and "twirl" with whatever I want to be the directional and add in the equipment.

 

 

Good luck - it's great when it works! And oh, I've had so many people say, "I can't give that command, because I'll get it mixed up." I don't use it THAT often - and usually only when planned, not "on the fly."

 

I always thought the same thing, but figured I would plan it, just like I plan my other cues.

 

Besides, I don't usually mix up "spin" and "twirl". As long as I use words other than "right" and "left", I should be fine!

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I mostly use a cue to turn away from me and a cue to come in. (Turn and Here... always original!)

 

To train left/right directionals, I'd probably add the cue to a left & right spin, then fade the full spin and proof it on a course with obstacles, as suggested. Also using different cues than proper, full spins will be important. :P

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I have a 'Switch' command which is used when I am behind and tells the dog to change direction (change leads). For example, if the dog is on his right lead (turning to the right), 'Switch' means to turn left. 'Switch' also means to turn right if he is circling left. Very useful when used appropriately.

 

As far as left and right: I agree with you that body movement is my primary, but I like to back it up with a verbal (which is also sometimes/often? used as a desperation directional :) ).

 

I don't really have a left and right command. I do have commands for wrap tightly left and wrap tightly right. I have considered trying to train a L and R, but just never got around to it and now that Torque is nearing the last year or two of playing agility, I'm not sure that I want to introduce more commands.

 

For me, the degree of collection is as important for Left and Right or the wrap tightly commands as the direction. For wraps, I want the dog to really collect to wrap as tightly around the upright as possible. For L and R, the dog does not have to collect as much.

 

A few years ago, I did play around with teaching a L and R by placing or throwing the reward/toy to the L or R after the jump - and, in the beginning, would also introduce some body movement to support the direction.

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I have done it successfully with two dogs. I used a method very similar to Diane's. I start with them in front facing me and I use my right hand to turn the dog to his left and my left hand to turn the dog to his right. Once they are turning readily I add the cue (right or left) as they turn and begin fading the lure. Once the lure is faded I work on true understanding of the direction- mixing up L vs R with verbal only. Then, I work on it from my sides and at a distance and take it to equipment.

 

The first time I taught both directions at the same time. The second I taught Left first, then right. I didn't see a huge advantage either way.

 

The angle of the turn can be sharper or more gentle and they seem to read it well, either from the context of the course or based on my distance behind them. Also, I tend to repeat, as in "left, left, left" for a tighter angle vs a softer "left" for a gentle curve.

 

It has definitely come in handy when I've found myself further behind than I planned. I do try to plan what direction I want to be calling as I walk the course - being mindful of those spots I might find myself eating dust :rolleyes: . The advantage to using R and L is that if I'm behind the dog's R/L and mine are the same so it is possible to wing it if necessary :)

 

Have fun with it - it really can be quite handy!

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I started Kieran with just spinning left and right, using gestures and voice. Then I just used verbal commands to see if he got that. After that, we moved on to going around a cone. We worked up to jumps, but then it turned into a mess, lol. He started taking the commands as a general turn without heed to the direction. We're still working on it on the side, but we haven't gotten to the point where we could use it on an actual course. The trainer we're about to take lessons from stresses directionals, so maybe he'll understand it better under her guidance. And I really need directionals because I'm too slow for him.

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In addition to the spins (which he already knows), I am thinking about teaching him directionals - just as a trick - to two foot targets. See how he picks up on that, and see how he processes the information when I cue him.

 

If we don't end up using that bit for Agility, that is something I could easily incorporate into our Freestyle cue repertoire.

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