Here is a glossary of typical words and terms that are used when talking about agility. These descriptions help you to undestand better the OneMind Dogs methodology and agility over all.
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OneMind Dogs methodology is based on the idea that we are not handling individual obstacles as such; we are handling the dog's running lines. Handler’s task is to plan his own running lines and positioning on the course so that the dog can run the course smoothly and fast. We use the techniques to give the dog as much information as early as possible. This allows the dog to perform the right obstacle with correct speed for the situation in question and the dog can move on an ideal running line all the time.
While you walk the course you should imagine your virtual dog is running the course with you. As you’re walking and planning your handling strategy, be strictly aware of where on course your dog is running in comparison to your own position. Completing the course walk with your virtual dog will give you a better understanding for your course plan. Eventually you should be able to use your virtual dog to basically walk the outcome of your real dog.
(A good way to match your real and virtual dogs’ running lines and speed is to simply practice with both during training. You can do the runs with your virtual and real dog and clock the course times. When your virtual and real dogs have matching times, you’ll be able to walk competition courses with a fairly realistic idea of the outcome. This ultimately will make it easier for you to create your handling strategies on any course.)
In every agility course there are a couple of points we refer as critical points. Those points are places where you have to be on the course to be able to negotiate the sequence in question perfectly. Different techniques are like tools that help you to be on those points on time, even though you were not the fastest runner.
Contact / Contact with the dog / Eye contact
As a handling element, the importance of the connection and the direction of handler´s head is very high. The contact doesn’t always necessarily mean straight eye contact with the dog. For the dog being in contact with hander consists of seeing the side profile of handlers face. So when the handler wants to take contact to the dog, he needs to turn the head toward the side he wants the dog to proceed next.
Occasionally the handler doesn’t even actually see the dog, he only knows where the dog is and creates the connection between them by turning his head.
In some occasions the handler actually watches the dog so carefully he can see the dog´s eyes, because the handler needs to predict where the dog´s attention has been focused.
Only after the connection the dog can commit and proceed towards next obstacle. Earlier the commitment to next obstacle has been established, more fluently and faster the dog can advance on the course. After the dog has committed the obstacle the handler wants the dog to proceed handler can move on to telling the dog what is going to happen next. We want to teach our dogs to stay committed to the obstacle despite of the handler’s actions after the commitment.
When dog has the information where to continue from the obstacle, she can start to prepare to do adjustments needed. We use the techniques to give the dog as much information as early as possible. This allows the dog to perform the right obstacle with correct speed for the situation in question and the dog doesn’t fall because she has had time to do adjustments needed to perform the obstacle. We always try to handle so that dog has the right obstacle in her sight as soon as possible. The dog can proceed smoothly and faster in the course when she is landing in the right direction and doesn’t have to correct her line and speed up again to the next obstacle.