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Training Exercise: Need a Challenge?

A tricky exercise and suggestions on how to handle it by Steve Schwarz.

I setup this course for my Intermediate and Masters students this week and almost felt bad about working all the moving past tunnels... almost. It had a good selection of handling choices, and it let handlers work on using their motion and cues supporting handler focus to move past multiple tunnel openings.

If you only have a 30' x 40' area, you can set up the two tunnels and three jumps and work sequence #14-#20.

Here are some handling ideas:

  • Wrap jump #2 and handle #2-#5 with dog on right.
  • Front crossing (turning into your dog and changing sides in the process) the approach of the weaves worked nicely, so the dog is on the handler's left through #7.
  • It's easiest to wrap the dog to the handler's left at #9. I had my students use a Ketschker (a jump wrap to blind cross) at #9 so they could work taking their dog to #10 on their right side (you should be able to do it!).
  • The dog should be on the handler's left for #11-#13.
  • Rear cross on the flat to tunnel #14.
  • Scoop, blind cross (cross in front of your dog by turning your back to the dog), or rear cross (cross behind) the exit of tunnel to #15 depending on your speed relative to your dog.
  • The dog should be on the handler's left for #16-#17.
  • Jump wrap or Ketschker #8; again practice moving your dog past the tunnel opening.
  • Rear cross the tunnel exit to set the dog up nicely for the closing serpentine.

I hope you try this. The dog is moving fast throughout the sequence so you have to be on the ball!

Steve Schwarz has been training and competing in agility and flyball since 1997. He focuses on helping handlers improve their communication with their dogs on course in a positive and light-hearted manner. Steve brings an analytical approach from his engineering background to the study and training of agility. In order to stay knowledgeable about current agility training techniques, Steve trains regularly with top agility handlers and attends multiple dog and agility training seminars each year. Steve competes in USDAA, UKI, AKC, and CPE venues and has competed in NADAC and UKC. Steve writes the longest running dog agility blog: AgilityNerd ( with regular entries and videos on agility training, handling, and course analysis.

A version of this article first appeared at and is shared with permission.


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