Directionals

Since I am afraid to loose my notebook with my precious notes from Janet’s crash course on directionals, here they are:

1) Right and left turn – no obstacles

First of all, one needs to teach the dog to turn left and right on command, turning meaning to do a complete spin. Janet uses a special tug toy that hangs from a handle, but I taught Krypto the good old fashioned way. Treat in the hand and luring him. AM told me that Greg Derret teaches it “luring” with a tug toy. Whatever works for you.

The right and left spin on command must be independent of the handler-dog relative positions, as it is an absolute directional, that is, the dog turns to his own right or his own left.

2) Adding a jump

Once step 1) is perfect, one can move to step 2) and add a jump. To help the dog turn correctly, the bar is set with one end up, and the other down on the ground. The jump with the part on the ground to the right is used to teach the dog to turn right, and similarly for the left. The jump is winged. A toy is placed behind the wing on the right. The dog is set at least 15 feet from the jump. The handler has the dog on the right when sending to the right and on the left when sending to the left, so that at the beginning “left” and “right” mean “turn away”. Then the dog is told to jump right (or left). The handler does not move, there should’t be any hint from the handler as to where to go.

Jumping left and right should be mixed so as to prevent patterning.

Once the dog is confident the toy can be removed from the ground and thrown.

When the dog masters the jump with the “diagonal bar”, the bar can be set straight, but low, i.e. 10 inches. And one can proceed as above, throwing the toy. Once this part is perfected, the handler can start changing position so that the directional does not always mean “turn away” and becomes independent of the handler’s position.

Then raise the jump bar to full height and repeat to make sure the dog understands.

Allow a maximum of 2 mistakes then modify the exercise so as to help the dog succeed.

When things work out, start fading the command jump from “jump -right” and use only the directional.

3) Adding speed

To add speed, set up two jumps. Jump number 1 at full height and jump number 2 with the bar set diagonally. When this is working fine, straighten the bar of jump 2.

4) Tunnel

Use directionals from a tunnel only when the ones from a jump are working correctly.

In all of the above, it is very important for the handler not to do any movement that could suggest the desired direction. To help the dog just position the toy, when needed.

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