Contact & Directional Questions Answered

Posted on 09/07/09 No Comments

Over the past couple of weeks I have had a few questions come in about my contacts, so here are some answers for you all

1) My “Swing ” cue means “turn away from me” it does not necessarily mean turn left. As a matter of fact if you review the video from the post “Swinging with My Dogs” the first turn off the dogwalk was a right turn.

2) I have 5 directional cues for my dogs; “Go” (for run straight on the line you are one), “left” for take a 90 degree turn to the left). “Right” which is a 90 degree turn to the right, S-w-i-n-g” –turn tight turn away from me and “check, check, check” –collect your stride for a tight turn back towards me.  Left and right are discreet directionals (telling the dog to turn 90 degree on his left or right)  and check and swing are relative to me (turn back or away from me).

Yes one set is relative to the dog and the other relative to the me. I don’t know why , sometimes you innately do stuff but don’t know why at the time, but it turns out being a good thing. I have no reasoning other than that. Just like I don’t know why people in Florida go to tanning salons, or why pineapple is composed of neither pine nor apple or why your feet smell but your nose runs. Sometimes stuff just is, if you have a better reason for why I use my directionals the way I do please send this logical reason on to me so I can sound more intelligent when people ask me in the future.DSC_24100_smaller

3) All of my dogs now are taught a running A Frame. No I do not use any of the popular methods out there.  No, I am not ready to share what I do as I don’t see it as being repeatable by everyone just yet. Still working on it. I pride myself on putting out information that can be used successful (when properly applied) by anyone.  So until I can get my running contact method to that place I feel the need to continue to tinker.

 4)On the dog walk I have both a running and stopped contact with  some of my dogs. I started this with my JRT mix “DeCaff” and since then have taught Encore (will eventually teach Feature but so far she only has a stopped). I use each as the course dictates. For example at last year’s FCI World Championships I only used Encore’s stopped contact on the DW since the run gave me no advantage, yet at a local trial, if the course calls for it, I may use the run in order to keep it fresh but mostly I will stop the dog. I just am not fast enough a runner to exclusively go with a run.

5). Someone asked why I just don’t use a single directional “left” or “right” for both the tight wrap turn away or a 90 degree turn. I used to do that with my Jacks, both DeCaff and Twister but sometimes judges put courses up there that will mess with that.swing-vs-left  The course I have posted here was from my memory of a course at the Canadian Nationals this year. Many handlers who ran with dog on the left to the A Frame and said “left-tunnel” to get their dog’s to curl away from them into the tunnel #13 had their dog’s go into the left hand side of the # 15 tunnel.

This really was the reason I started using left & right and swing & check, check cues (rather than just left & right)

I think that about covers all of the questions you sent me on contacts & directionals.

Today I am grateful for the 2 Italian agility enthusiast we have had visiting with us during puppy and skills camp the last 10 days. They even set up a courses for me to work Encore on while they were here. Gotta love that, getting courses set for you!

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