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Discussion Starter #1
In our class this week we learned two different methods to teach direction. One is we hold our dog, throw a treat, and then tell them "left," "go," or "right" in the direction the treat went and let them go and they chase the treat.

The other is luring them to turn in a circle either towards the right or left and saying "right" or "left."

I think Delilah's just chasing the treat and doesn't understand that I'm trying to teach her something. We've been practicing both methods for a few days and she doesn't seem to be getting it at all. I'm a little confused myself.

Is there a better method, or are these standard? I kind of wanted to do it the way they're teaching so everything's consistent. But either I'm doing it wrong or we're not getting it.
 

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I'm more dabbling in agility than super serious, but I've taught my guys send outs around poles from both sides of my body. That in time has translated over to sending out over jumps very easily as well as the other obstacles that we have on cue. :)

I use similar exercises in treibball for distance/directionals. Works super. With Dexter I shaped it. With Leggs, I used a hand target. The target faded to just a hand signal and then I worked distance from the object (pole, cone, ball. etc.)

They also have solid targeting behaviors. We often use paw target to jar lid in classes when dealing with jumps in all sorts of variations/contexts.
 

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I, like kmes, taught direction by sending out to a pole. They are taught by body language to know which way I want them to go. My dogs do not know verbal cues for left and right, they do it all with my signaling.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So like, have a pole set up to my left, for example, and then teach her to run around the pole?

Is that exercise specifically to train direction, or is the point to go around the pole and it just happens to teach direction too?

They told me to use verbal cues because the dog might not always be able to see my body language when it's running a course.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh, sorry to double post.

But the reason I ask whether the exercise is to train direction or to train to go around a pole is because we also have to train them to go around a pole/cone/etc and that's supposed to be called "wrap."
 

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It's both...
It's a pretty easy way to teach dogs to leave you, do as cued, and then return. Allows you in agility to send in any direction and have the dog complete a single obstacle or a sequence (poles becomes jumps) without you nearby. Instead handlers take the easy path and get situated where they need to be next. It's also how people I believe train those awesome serpentine like jumping skills. There's a process to it and I'm having trouble really explaining, I think...

Anyway, I start with the pole in front of me and teach circling in both directions/sends from both sides of my body. Next is distance. Then I work different variations with 2 poles (directing in a figure 8). Actually allows for practicing crosses too. Also plenty more exercises out there with this skill including more than 2 poles, you can work woth down the road too. :)
 

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Lol!! Oh my. To answer this would take a book.

First, no, that is really not how you teach "left" and "right." I am packing for the AKC Agility National Championships tonight and cannot write the long article it would take to teach that.

What people are suggesting about going around a "pole" is really not it either. That teaches a "send" or an "out." It does not teach "left" or "right." Unless, of course, you are trying to train a left or right wrap - also called a cik and cap. I call them "digs" and "flips." But the "left" and "right" you are trying to train is not trained with one pole.

What you are talking about is called "directionals." Depending on your team's strengths and weaknesses, you will need more or fewer directionals. I am handicap and run a very fast dog (6 yps plus in JWW), so I have a LOT of directionals. I have taught: back (a rear cross), here, out, straight, go (different from a straight), turn (different from a here), "back straight," flip (left), dig (right), push, around and more. Each of these things means something different to the dog. It takes months to train each of them, and really none of them can be taught successfully by teaching a dog to go around a pole. (Sorry guys). :)

If you're trainer is teaching a "left' and "right" by throwing a treat and calling a command, I suggest you consider looking for another trainer - to be honest. That said, first consider what you want to do in agility. If you don't want to compete, then you really don't need directionals or a very good trainer. You may be happy with where you are. If you want to compete, then you need someone who can AT LEAST teach you "out," "here," "back" (a verbal cue for a rear cross), "go" (simple sends), "wraps," "push," and other simple directionals. If you are as fast as your dog, these may be all you need. Or you may wish to go further with some of the more technical moves like the Jaako, German turn, blind cues, etc.

As you can see, each of these directionals would take a whole book chapter to explain how to train. It's why getting a good trainer is so important. If you truly want to compete, be prepared to travel to get your training.

I am sorry I have to keep this short. Go to youtube and look up how to teach an "out" using the bucket game. Or you can go learn how to teach "shadow handling," also called "flat work." It will start to give you an understanding of directionals. They are all important when it comes to training and handling.

Here are some vids of me working my dogs. Listen to my voice. It - along with my body language - yes you ALWAYS use body language - are giving my dog directionals. You can hear some of the directionals I listed above.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGYbQBrti1A
Lots of "heres' in this one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyTb0ACzzw8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKo_rviVhUQ


Good luck.
 
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I hope I didn't come off too harsh. When I am in a huge hurry like tonight, I have a tendency to be pretty blunt to get the point across quickly. Sorry. Good for you for realizing the method you are being taught is a little "wonky." :)
 

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It's interesting to me that you say that directional cues can't be taught with poles!:)

Def agree a single pole, probably not. But what about when working with multiples spaced out and sending/directing the dog around the field between them? Dog can be sent laterally, out, and brought in closer.
 

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I wish I could teach this in person. :) It is hard to write, and my time is so limited tonight.

But as I said, you can teach a simple send (just one pole - which is only so helpful) and an out with a pole. However, we don't jump dogs over poles. We do it over jumps. There are cone classes that teach some simple directionals - and indeed are helpful for some of the international moves. But what if you want the dog to go "out" over multiple jumps - each with two stanchions (ie poles)? Pole training is just too limited, IMHO, especially for advanced distance work and advanced directionals.

In short - let me just say that going from one pole to a jump with two poles (ie: two stanchions) is a big "jump" (pun intended) for the dog to make. All of the sudden, instead of being asked to chose between one pole, there are two close together. Then ask the dog to go "out" over three jumps in a straight line while you remain back at jump one. Which of the six "poles" does the dog take? How does the dog know to send on over jumps 2 and 3?

Yes. The bucket game (ie poles or even cones) is a way to start training outs. It can even be a way to start the back - although there are better methods. I wish I had the time to give a full explanation. But the pole method would be the very beginning of teaching a very few directionals. I use it to teach outs (for about five puppy training sessions only before moving on to a jump with no bar) and digs and flips myself. However, I move quickly to real obstacles as I don't want the dog to confuse the extra jump stanchions with extra "poles." I am pretty sure I am not making sense. Sorry I don't have time to explain further. :)
 

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Oh, and as you said in your earlier post, you were explain how to send "outs." As I said, I use the pole method for the beginning of that. The OP wasn't asking about "outs," but "lefts" and "rights." Using one pole can be done to train "left" and "right" wraps (as I have said), but for training a dog to make a soft turn left and right, one pole would be a hindrance. You would want to use the "here" training and transfer it to "left" and "right" instead.

A "left" wrap and a "right" wrap are very different from a "left" turn and a "right" turn.

Clear as mud, I know. I am sorry I can't go into how to train a softer turn "left" and "right." :)
 
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Oh, and as you said in your earlier post, you were explain how to send "outs." As I said, I use the pole method for the beginning of that. The OP wasn't asking about "outs," but "lefts" and "rights." Using one pole can be done to train "left" and "right" wraps (as I have said), but for training a dog to make a soft turn left and right, one pole would be a hindrance. You would want to use the "here" training and transfer it to "left" and "right" instead.

A "left" wrap and a "right" wrap are very different from a "left" turn and a "right" turn.

Clear as mud, I know. I am sorry I can't go into how to train a softer turn "left" and "right." :)
Makes sense, really!
Def all a process and hard to explain everything.

I spend the majority of my time training in Treibball and Rally FrEe. Different contexts. I spend a lot of time in a goal area directing my dog to move around between or from one target (ball, mat, prop, etc) to another (left, right, out, closer, diagonally). Our left/right is sending my dog to the ball to the left/right of the one he was at. Wrapping/circling the balls rather than stopping at each helps his speed. Automatically thought left/right more as movement away from the handler's side to take obstacles on the handler's right/left as they pass, not turns. My bad! :p

Good news to me is that what you've said isn't really all that different from the agility classes we have taken. We have learned some directional stuff via poles/cones. More the wraps, sends, and lateral movement away from me. I haven't taught verbal left/right turns. Get it with body language and ''here'' right now. Sequences are normally done with a paw target at the end (we cue each jump and are sending the dog to the target at the end) .
 

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I think Trieball is way cool. If I weren't into agility, I would be into that. :)
 
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Discussion Starter #16
Hey guys, thanks for the suggestions! I'll look into those other ideas and see if they help. The barrel racing and the last video k9agilitytrainer posted (in slow motion) were pretty interesting.

I emailed the trainer asking about the exercises so I'll see what I hear back. We'll see where we go with this. I want to compete, but "just for fun." Like when I showed horses as a kid, the ribbons were nice, but the actual event was what I enjoyed the most, even if I didn't win.

I just want to say, this facility is probably the best in the state for training agility. I've personally met several of their students that compete successfully and these trainers do themselves. So obviously we're going to learn the more complicated stuff, but I think this is just a very basic course (and it's only the second class!)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Okay, the trainer clarified for me and it makes a lot more sense now and I don't think it contradicts what you guys were saying.

The turning in a circle, it's basically supposed to be the very first step of a turn we're going to learn. It's like the wrap too. The full thing is we send them over a jump or around an obstacle, tell them left or right and they'll turn around in a circle while we turn around so that then we'll be going in the same direction. That's probably not a very good description but it makes much more sense to me now, and I'm not as worried.
 

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Actually, it is. And, yes, it is the first step in teaching left and right. :)
 
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