Positional Cue

So, I’m jumping ahead a bit since I’m currently working on more advanced foundation stuff with Ticket. I hope to go back and give more details about other training aspects on the way to where we are now, and then hopefully be able to put it in order. It’s definitely not exact, since so many things are done together. The synopsis for how I trained certain things–did Susan Salo grids for jumping, running aframe with stride regulators, channel weave poles, and am currently trying 2x2s combined with “around the clock” to see how that teaches weave entrances. If you have a specific question about how I taught something, just ask.

I’m trying to develop a consistent handling system with Ticket, and am using Greg Derrett’s system. Greg has DVDs out there explaining everything, and I’m not going to go into every detail except as it relates to what I’m doing.

One aspect of Greg’s system is the positional cue. Basically, this means that when executing a front cross, it should be done when the dog makes a turn, and when doing that cross, you should finish it at the far wing of the next jump the dog is taking. You do not start your rotation for the front cross until your dog starts to take off for the jump–anything else is early.  Your position at that jump is a cue to the dog that THAT is where they are going next. Greg has a nice illustration of the different places for front crosses, and why when done in the incorrect position, they can all look the same, and ultimately end up creating a slower, more uncertain dog, vs. a dog that knows exactly where it’s going. I’m not good with Clean Run Course Designer, but I will do my best to illustrate.

This is the basic sequence:

Jumps 1-4 are the same each time–the location of #5 differs, and therefore, the positional cue for the front cross.  If we start with 5a, the front cross should be between jumps 4 and 5, at the far wing of jump #5a.

For 5b, the front cross should be done between 3 and 4, at the far wing of #4.  When you finish your rotation, you should be driving towards 5b.  If you chose to cross between 4 and 5b, you would be crossing on a straight line, not at the turn.

For 5c, you are running across the box, and doing the front cross all the way at jump 5c, at the far wing.  You want to cut across the imaginary diagonal line that runs from the near wing to the far wing.

5d is a special case, the serpentine.  By definition, a serpentine is a place where you could perform two front crosses–in this case between 3 and 4, and 4 and 5d.  Because we are human and slow(er then our dogs), instead of doing this, we instead use our second arm to indicate the dog to take the middle jump, and then return to the original arm.  This second arm should occur at the far wing of the middle jump.

So, we said we do this so that we don’t confuse our dog on where our front cross means to go next.  So, let’s say we decide to do the front cross “in the box,” regardless of where we’re going next.  Hopefully you can see how the picture can become muddied for your dog, and create more hesitation, and therefore slower times.

Now, I’m certainly no guru, but when you see it in action on video, you can definitely see how clear the positional cue makes the dog’s choice about where they are going next.

So, this is what I worked on with Ticket.  Really, it’s very natural for her, it’s me that has to keep an eye on my timing so I don’t rotate too early.  Here are the exercises in action:

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