I couldn't remember how I taught Belle to serpentine, so I did a web search and found and this on Bud Houston's blog and this on Bad Dog Agility. Bud's method seemed rather out-dated and the method shown on BDA was a little too advanced for young Willie (although now that we have a little serpentine training under our collars, I think I'll give it a go) .
I started searching through my library of articles but couldn't find anything. Then I remembered Nancy Gyes had written a two-part series on serpentines in Clean Run (06 & 07/2013). We worked on the foundation exercises in the first article and then last week, I built a setup very similar to this for Belle, so I decided to work Willie on it. (The distances between obstacles are a little wider than I'd really like, but I figured what the heck I'll expose him to speed and distance right off the bat.)
Since the tunnel on the left was actually a set of weaves, my goal was to do 1-6. I quickly discovered this exercise depended upon a number of skills:
- Willie has to send to the tunnel in order for me to get into position at 4.
- He has to learn to take 4 even if I'm at the far wing/standard or entering the gap between 4 and 5.
- Then he has to take the middle jump moving away from me and the direction I'm headed.
- Finally, he has to come back over the third jump in the serp, which also requires him to ignore the direction I'm moving in. (If he doesn't he will run by the jump on the backside.)