May 12, 2014

Trusting Your Dog and Moving On: A Case Study

In this video, we analyze Rosanne DeMascio’s winning 26″ Challenger Round run with Strafe. Our focus is not on her handling choices, but on how Rosanne effortlessly reaches key positions on course by moving on as soon as her dog is committed to a given obstacle or line, allowing her to run a smooth, flowing course without appearing rushed or frazzled!

This video was created shortly after the 2014 AKC National Agility Championship for our Bad Dog Agility Academy Coaching students.

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  • It’s really good to have this emphasized, to see and hear the benefits of trusting and moving on because it’s one of my biggest faults, waiting for the dog to commit and actually perform the obstacle. I’m still too enthralled by the fact that the dog did ‘it’. My coach is constantly drilling down on me to keep moving and…I’m getting better but by millimeters, not leaps and bounds. I now bring a written reminder in big print to class…KEEP MOVING…

  • I’m still trying to find that fine line between successfully having my dog take the jump as I move to the next obstacle and pulling off too soon causing him to kick a bar as he turns to look at me. This is my first agility dog and we are in Masters but I still have SO MUCH to learn

    • Hi Sandy! If you’re in Masters and it’s your first agility dog, you’re doing a lot of things right!

      You do have to find the line for you and your dog, BUT, (and here’s the key), keep pushing to move that line! So many handlers find what they and their dog are comfortable with (probably watching the dog complete the obstacle) and never push beyond that. If you push to move on, you may occasionally step over that fine line between success and failure for you and your dog. But all the repetitions where you push and are successful will teach your dog to continue their job and then catch up.

      • I too am in the master division but this is my first agility dog and my first time ever doing agility. I am one of those who is too busy watching my dog complete the obstacle before I try to queue to the next one. I continually find myself behind and he will run past the obstacle or we just don’t connect. Watching these videos is so impressive. We aren’t even close to this caliber, I’m surprised we are in the master level. Wow, what I would give for a trainer in South Dakota.
        “Just keep swimming” (Finding Nemo):-))

  • CAVEAT: tried this last night on a 180.. my dog doesn’t adapt well when I accelerate and move on.. she end q’d in Monroe doing this and again last night in practice… My adjustment was to “trust and move on” BUT maintain eye contact with her at the appropriate time. She’s an excellent (good :)) jumper and doesn’t routinely knock bars so I know it’s either the speed CHANGE or not maintaining contact w/ her.

    I’m sure I could teach her over time to do this, but just wanted to point out some dogs may have problems… i

      • Absolutely agree Deb. Doug – Zoe may be sortof panicking to catch up to you. Dogs who are new to the weaves often have trouble when the handler gets too far ahead, in an effort to catch up they pop out of the poles. So you do need to work up to really leaving the dog, maintain your connection. Perhaps start with a light jog as you move away and work up to a full sprint.

  • I participated in a seminar after this run and the theme was well verbalized by Roseann. Move in the proper direction to indicate the new obstacle while keeping contact Keep moving as soon as the dog has comitted and do not watch the dog completing the obstacle. Not only does she do it correctly but she teaches clearly and concisely.

    • Thanks for the insight Michael! Great handlers do some things without even consciously thinking about it, but your post shows that Rosanne is very conscious of the benefits of moving on!

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