Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chances Are - Part Two

This was a Chances course we ran on Sunday, August 28, 2010, at the Quad Cities Dog Center.  Don Cuda was the judge.
The opening is pretty straightforward and getting your dog to the #6 tunnel is a piece of cake provided, 1) your dog is comfortable moving away from you, and 2) you pace yourself and don't have to stop moving toward the back wall as your dog exits the #3 tunnel because you've come to the distance line.  Running with your dog or just taking a short lead out, will help you with the second consideration.

The next challenge comes when you have to send your dog away from you to the #11 tunnel.  Your dog has to be confident enough to keep going, and you have to pace yourself so that you don't have to abruptly stop and do a balancing act on the distance line.  Flailing your arms while you try to avoid stepping over the line brings your dog into handler focus big time.  

Given the way the distance line is set, you probably will have to stop before your dog reaches the tunnel.  In addition to working with Belle so that she became comfortable working further and further away from me, I also found it useful to train her to move away from me with a big arm motion and relatively little or no forward body motion.  It really helped to increase her willingness to drive away from me, and it also comes in handy when I mess up and find I have run out of real estate in Chances.

In the video, you will see that I made an effort to move back from the line while Belle was in the #11 tunnel, but I quickly ran out of real estate when she exited.  I relied on the big arm and a wide stance to put pressure on her line and get her to the correct jump.  Look at the course map way and notice how the distance line is angling from #11-#13.  You'd have to back up all the way to the 82-85 foot line while your dog is in the tunnel if you want to continue moving toward the back wall while your dog is going from the tunnel to #12.  Even then if you move too quickly, you may find yourself up against the distance line.

The final challenge is the dogwalk/tunnel discrimination.  I always find it much easier to pressure my dog to the outer obstacle.  Some people can achieve the inner obstacle with just a shoulder pull.  Me and mine, not so much.  I opted to face the back wall and bring Belle into sharp handler focus while I moved backwards toward the front of the ring.

What absolutely will not work in this situation is turning toward or looking in the direction of the left wall, as this puts pressure on the dog to move away from you.  An independent dogwalk is not an absolute necessity since the distance line comes in to the end of the dogwalk, but it certainly can't hurt.

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