One Method, Two Ways Of Handling

Leading OneMind Dogs Coaches Mikko Aaltonen & Mari Kaplas never have a dull moment when they are practicing agility with their dogs. These two handlers rarely pick the same handling options, and their choices often end up to be completely different from each other.

Here you can see Mikko & Mari doing a sequence where they came up with two extreme handling options: "run as much as you can" and "handle the whole sequence from one spot, moving as little as possible". Mikko & Border Collie Yks did the running version of the sequence, while Mari & Australian Kelpie Hu got to do some distance work.

When young, these two dogs have aqcuired their skills from thorough foundation training. The great thing about foundation training is that you can do most of it anywhere: in your living room, yard or in a forest; you don’t need agility obstacles to prepare your dog for the future challenges. Since OneMind Dogs method is based on dogs’ natural behavior, most of the handling techniques require no training for the dog. The techniques simply make sense to them!

We have been able to follow the progress of Hu in Hu's Training Video Blog, which has inspired many people in the foundation training of their puppies.



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Laura Bussinglast year

Mari is the bomb!!

Kim Manuelides2 years ago

so for both dog and handler teams, how much of the handling "style" is determined by the dog's running style? My female dog, Bonnie, runs courses with the attitude of "I'm running with my human, yay!" so her speed is largely dependent on my own. But, my male dog, Atari, is more like "run, human!" he seems to prefer me to be on time and on point, but he might also appreciate less footwork from me. What is the theory here?

Niki Dragelast year

Hi Kim, Most handlers do adapt their handling to suit each dog, although you can also improve some things like with Bonnie you could work on obstacle commitment and forward focus so that she has more value for the obstacles and wants to run ahead of you. But as an example, I have an English Toy Terrier and a Border Collie x Staffy and I handle the two dogs differently on the one course. The less driven dog gets more moving techniques where I don't face him (such as Japanese for example) and the other one gets handling that cues more decal to help her get the best lines (such as Forced Front Cross for example).

Lori Kline2 years ago

Why the change for the dog's line when handling without motion? I'd like to see the same lines for the dog in both videos, or is that something that can't be accomplished without moving with speed?

Niki Dragelast year

Hi Lori, different dogs suit different lines, and some handlers pick different lines to allow them to get to their critical points on time. For example my high drive dog might be faster on a wrap if the line is much shorter whereas my lower drive, motion oriented dog would be faster on the slice even if the line is longer.

Denise Fleming3 years ago

Wow is right!!

Rachel Blackmer4 years ago


Catherine Thomas4 years ago

A beautiful example of the POWER of building a fantastic, clear language between handler and dog :) THANK YOU very inspirational

Sabine Westhäußer4 years ago

super wow !!!

Neno Pessoa4 years ago

super!!!! )

Elizabeth Ampleford4 years ago

wow .... just wow!!!