Posted Date: September 22, 2015
Steve Schwarz from Agility Nerd provides tips on handling the two jump 360 obstacle.
I don't recall seeing this course element on a physical course myself; but a handler sent me video for an online coaching session and asked about alternate handling options. Here's a diagram showing the dog's path:
The main challenge handlers face is staying moving through sequence. Most handler's first instinct is to get into the middle of the jumps and Shoulder Pull [LearningPostTurn, PostTurn] their dog through the jumps. That can work, but tends not to motivate slower dogs and for large striding dogs can cause the dog to take very wide turns through the sequence (or even send the dog past the jump).
The difficulty of this sequence also depends on the spacing between the jumps; the further apart they are the more handling options are available. Once the jumps get far apart the 360 just turns into two Jump Wraps [[JumpWrapNotes, JumpWrapHandling, JumpWrap, 360JumpWrapHandling].
My advice for handling this sequence is basically the same as I give handlers for Pin Wheels: look for a place to put a Front Cross [Front Cross, LearningFrontCross] or a Blind Cross. For this sequence the only place a cross might make sense would be over the last jump. Either cross gets the handler moving across the final jump and that motion will put energy into the dog. The cross also tightens the turn for long striding dogs as then turn on the final jump.
In the diagram below I would Front Cross between jumps 3 and 4 while the dog is still on the take off side of jump 3. Similarly I would drive from jump 5 to 6 so I could Front Cross Wrap the right (bottom) jump standard of jump 6; cuing a tighter turn at both jumps 5 and 6 and putting my dog on my right on the way to jump 7.
Yes, you could consider shoulder pulling your way through jumps one-three and then Rear Crossing [RearCross, LearningRearCross] three-four. But, depending on the distance between three, four and five and you and your dog's speed, you might not be able to get to jump five to control the turn.
But what if you can't cross or wrap on the final jump or it doesn't make sense for the rest of the course? For large dogs, and dogs that tend to extend, I'd look for ways to show lateral motion and handle at least one of the jumps as a jump wrap. You just don't want to show motion away from the plane of the jumps or you'll create a wider/longer path for the dog.
For small dogs, and dogs that need to keep up their speed, I'd go with the shoulder pull and try to show as much motion moving to each jump as possible. You want to cue extension by using your motion to speed/motivate the dog.
Flyer and I put together a quick video of some different cue combinations you might try:
Here's a more common Two Jump 360 where you come out of it and can handle it like a Serpentine [SerpentineHandling, Serpentine].
Here's video of Flyer and I demonstrating a few additional handling approaches:
They aren't all possible approaches, by any means, but should give you some ideas to play around with! Enjoy and let me know your thoughts!
This article was reprinted with permission from Steve Schwarz's AgilityNerd blog.
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 AKC, USDAA, UKI, and CPE venues and has competed in NADAC and UKC.
Steve also writes the longest running dog agility blog: AgilityNerd (http://agilitynerd.com/) with regular articles and videos on agility training, handling, and course analysis.