The snow finally melted on my doggie luge, so I got to see how well Jake and Lil understand my new ways of handling GET OUTS and TURNS.
Above is a video from Day 1.
This following text is from an email I sent to a friend who has been helping me understand how and why NADAC-style handling and training differs from USDAA / AKC-style handling. I’m finding it all very interesting and fun to incorporate. Plus Jake and Lil are responding beautifully and quickly to my new way of doing things, which makes me think this style of handling is easy and natural for dogs to follow.
I am starting to get the feel for using more dramatic body movements, like stepping forward to push my dog’s line, or pulling my dog towards me by rotating my body and shoulders away and stepping away from the line to increase the strength of the pull when necessary for discriminations. Its starting to feel a lot more natural and I can see how well it works for pre-cueing TURNs and GET OUTs when my dogs are out in front of me with forward sends.
Lil seems to have totally figured out when I pre-cue a turn before she gets to the obstacle, it no longer means to turn NOW but rather to turn after taking the next obstacle.. and to not necessarily turn tight.. but to base the tightness of the turn on my motion…. and to look for the next obstacle in the direction I am supporting. Jake is also figuring all of this out… but not quite as fast as Lil is, which is totally fine with me. The biggest improvements I’ve seen with Jake since adding hoops to the Doggie Luge this season, is that he is driving well though hoops and rarely jumps them like they are 8″ jumps anymore. GO JAKE!
Above is a video from Day 2: I think both dogs are doing a super job running through various hoop sequences without snow barriers to help them stay on course.
In my opinion, the biggest difference between NADAC-style handling and USDAA / AKC style handling (and training) is that in NADAC you want to be able to pre-cue much earlier, especially when working at a distance. And earlier cues appear to increase a dog’s speed and fluidity of motion since the dog know where he/she is going with enough time to take more gradual turns, which has to be easier on a dog’s body. I think it was pretty clear when I was late with a couple of cues, that my dogs changed directions abruptly rather than turning in a natural and fluid manner.
I think this year’s addition of hoops to the doggie luge really helped with training both dogs (and the human) by allowing me to pre-cue earlier than I knew I could without pulling my dogs off the next obstacle…while the dogs continued running on the grass path towards the next hoop. It didn’t take long for them to begin to shift from what they were originally trained to do, which was when I cue a turn, to turn NOW. That was a necessary skill to have for USDAA and AKC courses, since what looks to be the next logical obstacle to the dog is often NOT the correct obstacle. Plus the ability of a dog to turn NOW comes in very handy for playing Snooker, since success is often based on a dog’s ability to bypass numerous obstacles while running fast.
Below is a link to the January 19 post with a video of Jake and Lil running the 2013 Doggie Luge:
A note to subscribers: WordPress emails no longer contain links to videos for some strange reason. Click on the Title to go to the blog site if you want to watch the videos.