December 5, 2012

Versatile Setup for Small Spaces – Beginner Drills

Versatile Setup for Small Spaces

Here’s a great little three jump setup that allows you to work on many different beginning level skills.


Review the position and timing of your acceleration and deceleration cues, and then work on these with just two jumps.

Acceleration: Race your dog!
Start in decel position.
Run into decel position.

You can test your dog’s understanding of the decel by trying it on the other side.

Test your decel with the third jump as a distraction.

And you can add a front cross wrap as your dog takes off for the 2nd jump.

Add a front cross to your decel work.

Slice Jumps

Many beginners overlook the complexity of jumping. Inexperienced dogs need exposure to jumping from angles other than head on. Using this setup, you can alternate between running with your dog on two straight jumps, and running the jumps on the diagonal. Remember that in both cases, the dog is running a straight line. However, when the jumps are angled, they have to judge the jump differently.

Two Jumps in Line.
Straight Line Angled Jumps

Lateral Distance

Lateral distance exercises are great for dogs that have too much handler focus. Most inexperienced dogs fall into this category. You want to start with your dog very close to the first jump. This will make it unlikely that they will bypass the jump and head to you. Release the dog and move forward, throwing their reward in front of them on their line. The next step is to add a little lateral distance, but keep the dog very close to the jump. Once you dog is confident with you being a little further away, you can start the dog further back from the jump. However, when you do that, you should move closer to the jump so that as you make one variable harder (the distance the dog is from the jump), you make another variable easier (the distance you are from the jump).

Dog Close
Handler Close
Dog Close
Handler Adds Distance
Dog Further Away
Handler Close
Dog Further Away
Handler Adds Distance
Dog Takes 2 Jumps
Handler Close, with Movement
Dog Takes 2 Jumps
Handler Adds Distance

You can add as many small steps as you like, just remember to only change one thing at a time; either the distance the dog is from the jumps, or the distance the handler is from the jumps.

Many More!

There are many other variations you can practice using this small, simple setup including complex handling like a push through, or threadle-rear cross combinations.

This post was written as part of the Dog Agility Blog Action Day where the topic was “Backyard Training”.

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  • Just found your FaceBook web page & joined. Will be trying these moves tomorrow & see how things turn out. I have a very intense dog with NO food or toy drive but will repeat agility runs over & over not wanting to stop to rest. Extremely fast but has issues with collection. I have issues with 66 year old arthritic knees so I work distance since I can not run with her.

  • Just found your site! The explanations and videos are exactly what I need! I first learned by running courses with my dog without any direction about crosses or how tos on handling! This really helps!

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