Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Handling Dilemma

That darn 'Out' verbal cue, I never was able to teach it to Cody and Lola.  To be honest I never tried all that hard.  Teaching a dog to defy your motion is difficult and tedious and I gave up the task without putting sufficient effort into it.  Cost Lola quite a few gambles but oh well.  It was never a big problem for us on regular courses, seems I could always find some other way.  Didn't even try to teach it to Strummer, trying to keep consistent with the notion of not training him to ignore my motion on the turning obstacles.  But yesterday a handling conundrum came up for the second time and I couldn't find a way to deal with it.

The problem occurs at #4 to #5.  Without an 'Out' cue (or a 'Left' directional) it's nigh on impossible to get there to cue that #5 jump.  I couldn't lead out at the table past the offset jump or he'd take the offset jump and I think that's a handling system violation anyway, ie putting an obstacle between you and the dog that you don't want the dog to take.  I tried a rear cross between 3 and 4 so that he'd be on my right coming out of the tunnel but I was still too far behind and ended up with a spin in front of 5 and when I tried it a second time we almost had a collision in front of the tunnel.  Even with a decent send from 3 to 4 with him on my left I couldn't get past the tunnel entrance before Strum came barreling out.  I don't ever recall encountering this issue on a course but it seems like I could.  Maybe it doesn't happen often enough to make training the verbal worth it.  Or maybe it happened more often than I remember and it wasn't a problem in Lola's vet years when she slowed down quite a bit.

I also discovered a training hole that I knew I had but kept forgetting about and that's the rear cross at a tunnel.  Strum doesn't read them at all as far as coming out of the tunnel on the correct side.  So if I did a rear between 9 and 10 he still came out of the tunnel turning left.  If I put him in with him on my left then he came out and did the right turn to 11 no problem.  No amount of calling while he was in the tunnel made a difference.  So this week we'll practice those rears in the yard.  Can't believe I left out such a basic skill but I remember at some point in his training I reached Information Overload and apparently some stuff fell through the cracks.  It's no matter, I've been looking for some fun little thing to train in my little yard and now the perfect thing has fallen in my lap.


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  2. I'd love more info. on Jim's method. You can even have a guest post here if you want or you can post to your blog and I can put a link here or you can email me privately.

    A verbal send is o.k. as long as it's only to one obstacle ahead because you can support the send with your motion up to a point. But the 'Out' sends the dog away from you on a verbal against your motion. I may have to make an exception at this tunnel scenario though, I can't see any other way to make it work. I suppose it depends on the training involved.

  3. In four years I can only remember one time that I couldn't get to a position on course (this was running Summit on an ugly Ex. A course).

    I personally would never train a verbal cue that I would expect to over-ride my motion. I've never trained an "out" or any distance work and with little effort, Summit earned his Masters Gamblers Championship.

    Actually, Sage has her Masters Gamblers title and her MXF and doesn't have any verbal cues at all ;-)

  4. One other thought...
    If your motion supported #5, even if you were behind. Why don't you just say "jump"?

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  6. Yep, Jim has a pretty easy, straight-forward way of teaching "out" that I've been through a few times and have never written down. So having someone else share it would be a good thing.

    I don't work on the "out" a lot until I start missing gambles where the out would have helped. Then it improves for a while, then goes away. It also works sporadically in odd ways. Like the one gamble where I said "out" to Tika where I apparently didn't need it because she went to some tunnel on the far side of the field that I hadn't ever even thought about, it was so far out. And then a couple of weeks ago when I was behind and trying to push her off the wrong end of a tunnel, it had no effect at all. (But to be fair, I do use it sometimes in gambles and it often works.)

    About the lead-out: If you're looking at the dog over your left shoulder with a string of jumps on your left, the dog shouldn't cut behind you to take the offset jump. That's a blind cross on the dog's part. All perfectly within the derrett system.

    Dog turning out of tunnel on a rear x: I think it's hard with a curved tunnel on a rear cross; most dogs are running at an angle in the tunnel (basically along the back wall) so no matter what their lead was going into the tunnel, it'll be in the same direction as the curve coming out of the tunnel, and I think that they're also busy judging whether to change their lead as they go in and so are less likely to pick up a rear x. It is a teachable thing; I'm just saying that it's a challenge even with training. On that course, I'd definitely have put the front x between 9 &10.

    And not sure why you can't get to the end of the weaves with a send to the tunnel--I've seen your vids and you run pretty fast! Are you sending from about where the circle 8 is on the map and running straight up alongside the weaves? I'm sure it takes hustle; just wondering whether you might have been too close in to the aframe and tunnel, thereby shortchanging yourself on yardage?

  7. I inadvertantly deleted my post. I was trying to update it. Oh well. Wish I could train with you guys. I think it would be fun and I love the discussion at the moment. There are so many ways of doing the same thing. That is what makes agility fun and a real challenge.

  8. Julie-I have your post, blogspot sends me emails of comments. I'll repost it here. Lots of good stuff, I'll respond to it later though, have to go have dinner.


    But you use the verbal cue with motion cue. You don't just stand there not doing anything. It is all in how you train it. It is totally based on your body movement/cue. That is why for somethings people use a left or right because there is no way to cue with your body movement. I personally don't have a left or right. So body motion/movement is involved. For those dogs that don't have much drive the use of a trained "out" is very useful. I can speak from experience with two dogs that I struggled getting Gambles with.

    What I think you need on that course Elayne looking at it is a better "Go".

  9. I think there are some shades of grey to that 'out' cue (well any cue really). Some people will step in a bit to reinforce the verbal, others will send the out and continue in a different direction from the dog. You see that a lot in NADAC. For this course my training partner used a 'left' cue and it worked perfectly. I tried training 'left/right' with Lola and she never did get it even on the flat. I used luring though, might have gotten better results with shaping. There were so few places I needed it that I decided it wasn't worth the time/effort though I can see that it is handy.

  10. As for the lead-out issue, it may be o.k. in Derrett's system to do that but I think in LM's you're not supposed to put an obstacle between you and the dog that you don't want the dog to take. I made that mistake at a seminar but it was a different sort of set-up so I could be wrong about this scenario. In any case, every time I tried to lead out past the offset jump he took it. I can work harder to train that extension recall to heel but still I think that given his understanding of things it was unfair of me to ask him to ignore the jump and I didn't push the point. It's true that he shouldn't cut behind me like that but he doesn't seem to understand that concept. If only I could speak 'Strummer' and explain these things to him.

  11. As for the rear at the tunnel, yeah for sure if this was at a trial I'd put a front cross between 9 and 10. I did it one time and it worked perfectly and he came out of the tunnel turning right even though the bend in the tunnel put him on the wrong lead. But I suspected this was a weakness and I wanted to confirm it.

    I worked on this yesterday at the training field with a straight tunnel all scrunched up so it wasn't very long. If I sent him then did the cross he couldn't get it but if I started moving before releasing him to the tunnel then he read it perfectly. So it's a matter of timing and working on getting him to read the cross sooner I think.