Report from Vero Beach Camp

Posted on 01/14/10 7 Comments

Today is day three of our first camp here in Florida. I think everyone is enjoying themselves, even though the weather is atypical for Florida at this time of year. I feel a bit sorry for all of my Canadian students who made the long trip south to get away from the freezing temperatures! Oh well, I can always turn up the heat when they are working in my session if at all required 😈

My first topic at camp was on rear cross execution, my next was on lead out options. I might have thrown a curve ball yesterday when I included a snooker opening for one of their lead outs.  A lot of wailing to start, but in the end everyone recovered and handled it well.

One of the biggest rear cross weaknesses I saw was students not knowing to drive deep to set a line for the cross. As you can see in this first diagram as a handler you can “cut” the corner on your handling path from 2-3-4, allowing the dog to do the pinwheel on his own while you move ahead. But if you do that before  5-6-7 (before the rear cross) you end up too far up the line towards jump 8 in an effort to allow the dog to catch up and pass you so you can set up the rear cross. The resultant poor handling path ends up, pulling the dog off of jump 9.

You can see in this next diagram if the handler would only run deeper into the “pocket” supporting 5-6-7 it would allow the dog to drive ahead enough that they (the handler) could now run a nice diagonal line towards the left upright of 8, thus having the dog confidently power to obstacle 9.

It is those little finesses that help to make agility more enjoyable for both dog and handler!

Today I am grateful for Greg and Laura and the great in depth handling discussions we have after camp.


  1. Jennifer & Juneau:) says:
    Monday, January 18, 2010 at 10:38am

    Thanks to you, Laura and Greg for putting up with a baby momma and baby dog! We learned so much. Look forward to seeing you all next year:) Lots of things to work on b/w now and then.


  2. Jane Harding says:
    Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 9:17pm

    BOY, I loved camp.. I learned so much – again!… I needed all the help I got, and now to do the homework – learning lead outs. perfecting weave pole entries and contacts (gotta go back again!).. and of course I pulled all my stomach muscles on the last day so am resting and trying not to lift things and going to learn more AB exercises since clearly I’ve not been doing enough. BUT.. I did it running like h*ll to do a serpentine – it was huge fun!
    I’ll be coming to camp again soon!


  3. Wendy Atkinson says:
    Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 4:59pm

    ugh. just how timely can you be SG? (pun intended)…
    While Ollie Q’d his last run this weekend (our POA was to trial this month!), I was a really bad momma. think M-flicker in bold letters. and it was all about timing on a rear cross. Now mind you, this was only our second “real” agility run ever together, but not really. And I do know better.

    Here’s the section of the course ( for everyone out there to work on….we were dog on left (DOL) through 9, front crossed 9-10,DOR 10-11, then early (bad, bad mama) reared 11-12 by about quarter stride to committment, causing Ollie to zig one step right (great circle work dog), see me hesitate in mid-stride, then zag back left a half step (hence the M-flicker) leaping athletically over the jump without incurring a refusal. Ugly, with lots of “dog saved your ass” comments from my friends in the crowd. My pushing for the front cross, left me in high gear with too much speed a jump later for the rear. Gotta watch out for that accel-decel thing.
    Video on youtube at

    Wendy A
    owned and trained by Mikey (finally out of rehab), CocoaPuff (thinks too hard) and the Ollie-man (life is just a game!)


  4. Mary M says:
    Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 9:31pm

    Funny that you posted this as I just handled a similar sequence at my last trial (pinwheel to a rear cross single jump) and did exactly what you cautioned about….my oh so honest boy pulled right off that single jump (because that’s what my position told him to do!).

    “Great dog shame about the handler” ran through my mind 😉


  5. Barbara C says:
    Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 8:21pm

    I wanted to let you know how much Mystery and I enjoyed camp this year. It was worth every penny and worth every cold body part! We learned so much from all 3 of you and had a good time finding out where our holes lie in our training. The best part is leaving with the tools to fix them all and hopefully next time you see us you will see the difference. My students are also grateful for the knowledge you send me home with to pass onto them. Keep putting on great camps!


  6. Trudie says:
    Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 8:17am

    Thanks for the lesson, this is something I can set up and work on.

    The scale of the diagrams is in feet, right?
    I couldn’t figure out why, in Greg Derrett’s DvDs, the booklet says “please note diagrams are not to scale”. It took a bit of savy setting up my first exercices in”the winning combination” – (not wanting to consider myself clumsier than anyone else I did wonder if I was cheating and adjusting the course to suit me…)
    If you can pass on to Greg and Laura: what I really appreciate is being able to watch 2 people do the same exercice ! Laura has such a pleasing fluid, calm style, which my goal is to imitate.


  7. Jan V says:
    Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 7:21am

    A great lesson. One of my tendencies is to rush to position, always feeling like I need to race my dog. An effective rear cross requires patience, timing and trusting your dog; a beautiful thing when executed correctly.

    Thanks for the reminder and diagrams.


Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

slide one
slide two