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Training Exercises: Twice as Nice

Practice your crosses with these reversible courses. By Deborah Davidson Harpur

Pick a course (the circle numbers or the square ones) and run it. Then, run it in reverse without moving the cones. Do the same for the other course. If your brain won't let you reverse the course in your head without renumbering, try running just 1/2 of a course and then reversing that. This is a great exercise for your memory, and, if you do the reverse without walking it, it's also a good way to practice "thinking on your feet!"

Use these courses to work on different types of crosses. Ask yourself what kind of cross works best at each turn. Where should you put that cross? When should you cross? Do you even need to cross at all? Then, when you do the course in reverse, you'll learn if certain crosses are easier going in one direction for you and your dog than they are on the other. If so, you'll know what you need to practice more!

Deborah Davidson Harpur has been competing in agility since 1999 and is known as a handler of a wide variety of breeds of all shapes and sizes. She offers agility training classes in the Port of Los Angeles area for both recreational and competitive agility students. You can find her on facebook at or read about her dogs at


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