Posted Date: March 24, 2015
Ring Around the Tunnel; Pocket Full of Kibble is a fun exercise that works obstacle discriminations, weave entries, and handling skills in a small space. By Alicia Nicholas.
Here are some fun exercises to test your handling skills and your dog's discrimination skills, as well as weave entries. There are two course layouts for these exercises: one involves two jumps and a 15' tunnel and the other substitutes weave poles for the tunnel.
The first exercise is to see how many jumps your dog can take while you run around the tunnel in 15 seconds. You would be surprised at the wide turns and off-course tunnels that may occur! If your dog is going wide, stop and reward him at your side a few times after each jump and then try again. If your dog takes the off-course tunnel, make sure you are clearly indicating the jump and saying jump. Then try the sequence in the other direction!
Try the same drill with weave poles (and, no you can't run through the weaves!). Again, work in both directions.
The second exercise is a bit more complicated. This sequence includes a front cross (changing sides by turning in to your dog), send, blind cross (changing sides by turning away from your dog), and a rear cross (changing sides while behind your dog). The dog is doing a figure eight: jump, tunnel, jump, tunnel, and so on.
- Start with the dog on your left.
- Front cross the approach side of the #2 tunnel.
- Send the dog to #4 tunnel.
- Blind cross before the dog exits #4 tunnel.
- Blind cross again at the entrance to #6 tunnel.
- Rear cross on the approach side of #8 tunnel.
You can reverse this drill and go the other direction.
Try this second exercise with the weave poles. It is a great test of weave entries and exits!
If you struggle with the handling portion of this game, break it up and reward more frequently (that's why you have a pocket full of kibble). Use a food or toy reward that you can toss on the ground along the path you want your dog to take. For example, if your dog isn't getting the send to #4, start at jump #3 and toss the reward on a path towards #4 as your dog takes jump #3. This will encourage him to travel out and the motion of tossing the reward is the same as the handling movement for the send.
The weave pole portion of this game can be very challenging for young dogs! Break it up into smaller sections. Try getting the reward off the handler (give it to a helper), or use a Manners Minder/Treat N Train (a remote treat delivery device) to reward the dog for completing the weaves regardless of handler motion.
This article is part of USDAA's Training Tuesday series that is appearing on USDAA's facebook page. We encourage you to discuss this exercise on our facebook and to upload videos of your class or training group playing this game. If you have a facebook account, please join in the fun here: https://www.facebook.com/USDAA.
Alicia Nicholas has been doing agility since 2001 and has been teaching the sport since 2004. She started her agility journey with two Corgis, and since then she has run Border Collies, a Swedish Vallhund and a Papillion. Alicia believes that dog training is a very important aspect of dog agility and encourages a strong foundation for dogs that do agility. Alicia teaches all levels of agility handling, from foundation to international level classes. She also teaches competition obedience, focus and relationship, puppy classes, how to coach yourself classes, tricks classes, and more. Alicia says, "Agility is a sport which requires mental toughness and goal setting while keeping in mind that your canine partner is in it for fun! Goals are an important part of the journey; it's how you attain them that matters!" Alicia can be reached via email at email@example.com or through her website (www.journeyagility.com) and you can read her blog at ffluffy.com