Left/Right Tunnel – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Left/Right Tunnel

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  • North Country says:

    This has been a burning question for quite some time for me, so glad it is a topic here. I guess it answers my question, but I have to (ad nauseum), run it through me brain one (or 12) more time(s)……
    If I want the dog to go via the right side in order to go around to the left like maybe in a wrap, or, (as in this lesson’s tunnel ex.), then I tell her LEFT?? Is this the “standard” trend, or, the “norm” in agility training?
    Well….um…I’ve been training my dog with a “Right” verbal instruction (the opposite of what the video shows). So will it make my dog go crazy if I change my verbal instructions now? And wouldn’t it confuse the dog when I do other directional commands, such as, ” look Right”, “look Left,” or “go Right….” (no…….you’re ‘other’ Right!”…) (shrug emoji)

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      I’m not sure I understand how you’re doing it, maybe a video example?

      I believe almost everyone uses the direction relative to the dog. Basically, which way do you want your dog to turn their head (which is the beginning of turning their body).

      • North Country says:

        I’ll try to explain…. I’ve been giving her directional commands the opposite of what this tunnel video shows. I am willing to change my direction commands to be in keeping with how this tunnel vid is showing, but I’m hoping that it won’t totally confuse my dog from the initial way I’ve taught her? Especially when it comes to the other tricks and such that I’ve taught her, like this trick: My standing behind her in a down position, and asking her to turn her head back to me right or left, etc. I’m going to guess that she won’t confuse that trick with my telling her to go left on a tunnel entrance when she has to go right first to get there….. (sorry, I’m coming around to this concept, really… It’s like backing a trailer that you’re pulling: you have to turn your steering wheel left if you want the trailer to turn right……..ack! )

        I think you did answer my one question that the directions in this tunnel video show that this is the standard communication to use with your dog. So, I’ll go with that and maybe my dog won’t be confused that I’m changing things up one her…..?

        • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

          I feel like we’re misunderstanding each other. “My standing behind her in a down position, and asking her to turn her head back to me right or left, etc.” – Yes – this is what I would expect and I think that’s what this tunnel video is showing as well.

          “I’m going to guess that she won’t confuse that trick with my telling her to go left on a tunnel entrance when she has to go right first to get there”
          I think in the video above, it is still in keeping with the dog turning to their left or their right on your verbal.

        • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

          I still don’t see how this video is different than how you use your cue…

          https://youtu.be/AoMMuq3AZY4

          • North Country says:

            OK, got it! So it sounds like she will more than likely adapt to my “new” perspective/understanding/clarity. Thanks for your answer. And a big thanks so much for sticking with me on this one!!

          • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

            No problem!

  • hbrowne@columbus.rr.com says:

    I have read Sarah’s response on Donna’s confusion about which is left and right and i am still not clear! IT seems to me that you are sending the dog to the dog’s left with the right command. When i use left and right with my dogs, it is left and right based on their left or right shoulder.

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      Can you give me a time stamp? I just rewatched the video and believe the dog is always turning correctly. As you say, to their right or their left.

  • Leanne says:

    When standing alongside the dog later in the video the handler continues to use the opposite arm to cue each direction – this makes sense because it maintains consistency however the movement becomes very awkward. Is it best to just keep doing this throughout their career? Perhaps its only awkward when the dog is on the same side of the handler that they need to turn to. What are your thoughts here?

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      I think of this as a “combination” of two cues–the direction plus the tunnel. Eventually, at a very high level, the dog will do it without any arms or even body motion or position requirement, understanding to turn left or right on the verbal alone, and when the tunnel comes into view, taking it on the “tunnel” verbal cue. So in theory, this is a transition step that you won’t spend much time on. In reality, we almost always help our dogs with position and motion (as shown in this video) so we never develop the verbal skill to send the dog away from us to a tunnel as we head in some other direction. So if you want a highly verbal dog, this is a transition step. If your dog won’t require that kind of skill, then this is an exercise that won’t matter much, except it can reinforce the dog turning correctly on the cues “right” or “left” with the tunnel functioning as the immediate reward.

  • Donna McL says:

    I use right and left verbal cues when going over jumps but this cue seems to be “wrong”; left tunnel is really the right side when facing the tunnel and visa versa. I’m confused.

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      Left and right are from the dog’s perspective. So it is the right tunnel for the handler. But since the dog has he back to the tunnel it is a left turn into the tunnel. Does that make sense?


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