These "speed circle" exercises use only a simple set of equipment (two tunnels and six jumps), yet one course layout can provide a variety of exercises to build many different skills. Last week, we used this set up to build speed and confidence.
This week, we'll be using it to move from extension into collection, as well as to work backsides (taking a jump from the "back side") at speed.
I love this set-up because there is something for everyone. It is so versatile that, regardless of your level of expertise, you can find sequences to be successful on and sequences to challenge you. You can also play around with the angles of the jumps to increase difficulty. This is a fun design that I like to bring out for my students from time to time. If you set this up, be sure to get your running shoes on! It is important to note that until the dog is moving at full speed through one sequence, I do not progress through the levels. Full speed or bust!
Course #3 is designed to work on changing from full speed extension into a tight collection/wrap. This exercise really helps fine tune the timing of cues, including understanding at just what point the collection cue for the wrap needs to be given. Ending by taking the jump and going back to the tunnel then rewards the dog for a nice tight wrap with the chance to "get up and go!" Powering out of turns and wraps is just as important a piece of executing the wrap as keeping the bar up.
Course #4 is an introduction to backside execution at speed. Each presentation of the backside of a jump is an option to thread the needle and execute the backside as a tight wrap (turning the dog 360 degrees around the jump standard), or send to the backside and handle the series as a serpentine instead (with a looser turn). The "thread the needle" option is shown below in black. The serpentine is shown in red.
Which way is faster for you? Experiment and let us know! (Send us the video too! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.) Having the skills to go either way is important as this is only one training exercise; when presented on course, what comes before and after may dictate which of these options makes the most sense.
If you and your dog conquer these exercises easily, don't forget to increase the difficulty by angling the jumps different ways to challenge your dog's jumping skills and to help them see the line of jumps even if they aren't straight on. Work these exercises this week and check back next week for the last two exercises in the speed circle series.
Not enough room for the full exercises? Try these:
This article is part of a new Training Tuesday series that is appearing on USDAA's facebook page. We encourage you to discuss these exercises on our facebook, and to upload videos of you and your dog trying one of them out. If you have a facebook account, please join in the fun here: https://www.facebook.com/USDAA.
Emily Hurt lives in Allen, Texas with her husband and their 6.5 dogs. She teaches classes at All FUR Fun Training & Event Center in Addison, Texas and also offers online coaching and consultations through her website www.EmDogs.com. At 18,700 square feet, Emily's training center is the largest indoor, climate controlled agility facility in Texas. Emily is a Masters Judge and has been involved in agility for 12 years. Her dogs' motto is "If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough" - Mario Andretti.