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Training Exercises: Yep, I Did it Again, Part 1

Work on handling and skills in group classes or on your own with this exercise by Deborah Davidson Harpur.

I recently set this course up for students in my classes to work on:

This course was designed so that it could be broken down into stations for multiple dogs to work on at once. The sections were not broken up in exact "course order." Section 1 had a serpentine (three jumps done in an S-pattern), a panel jump, the tire and the A-frame. Section 2 had a broad jump, the chute, weave poles and three jumps. Section 3 had two tunnels, a jump and a teeter (or all the rest of the obstacles if you wanted to include them). If you don't have a lot of students, you could break the course down into just two sections: the dogwalk and above and everything else. 

When I used this course in my class, for section 1, I asked my students to find all the different ways to handle the three winged jumps. Will you serpentine that portion (handling it all from one side, pushing and pulling your dog over the jumps)? Will you front cross (cross in front of your dog in between the first two jumps) and then handle the rest as a 180? Will you front cross twice?

For section 2, many handlers focused on practicing the chute, while others worked on getting good weave entries and exits. On both sides of that set of weaves, you could handle the weave entry all on one side, with a rear cross (changing sides behind the dog as he enters the weave poles), with a front cross, and there are other options too. Those were the most popular choices 

In section 3 we worked on different entries to the teeter. Also, we focused on how to let your dog know which way the students were heading out of that straight tunnel. Do you use a signal to let your dog know where to go after a tunnel? If not, how do they know what you mean? How did what you do at the entrance of the tunnel affect what your dog did at the exit?

Then we ran the course. In some classes in, we broke the course down into parts. In others, the students just "went for it" and ran the course in its entirety.  

Later, I reversed the teeter and renumbered the course to work on some skills that come in handy at trials. Check back later for more exercises based on this course. 

This article is part of USDAA's Training Tuesday series that is appearing on USDAA's facebook page. We encourage you to discuss this course on our facebook and to upload videos of you and your dog trying out one of the segments or the whole course. If you have a facebook account, please join in the fun here: 

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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