Tunnel Game – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Tunnel Game

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  • Kim D. says:

    Do we really want the dog to ignore clear hand signals and body language indicating the tunnel? Why? I am totally on board about them learning the verbals in case we can’t be there, but I’m scared of teaching them to ignore my handling… Help clarify, please!

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      Great question!

      This course is part of the Shape Up training. So you’re getting some exposure to another elite instructor/competitor and their own philosophy and style.

      Our handling is heavily influenced by Justine and Jessica, but there are some differences in emphasis.

      Justine and Jessica place a high degree of importance on verbal cues. And this makes sense for the level of competition that they are preparing themselves for. And evaluating how they can improve their performance with their own dogs.

      I think each dog handler team needs to evaluate to what degree a lack of verbal control is contributing to their mistakes on course. I believe that the majority of handlers have many other more important training aspects than pure verbals.

      So for me, it’s about having informed choices. Is the absence of this level of verbal control keeping you from achieving your goals in your venues?

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      It is also worth pointing out that a true verbal cue OVERRIDES all other cues. If you’re a handler that is out of position and you need your dog to respond to the verbal, then at best your handling is supporting the correct obstacle. But at worst, your position actively indicates an incorrect obstacle. And in those cases, a verbal that Overrides the physical cues is necessary.

      Pure verbals are hard and most people don’t really have them. Even people who use a lot of verbals. They likely have verbals that help the dog in gray situations. Not verbals that override everything else they are doing.

      So I think this video does lay out the kind of training necessary to proof a pure verbal.

      • Lynne Bockelman says:

        Great answer, Sarah. Even those of us who rely heavily on verbals need our dogs to follow our body cues when our addled brains say the wrong thing while running a course. I’ve said tunnel when I meant table (or forgotten my verbal completely!), and somehow my dogs always figure out what I really needed. I think the only time you need a totally pure verbal is in tight discriminations – tunnel beside a dogwalk or A-frame, etc.
        We also have to make sure our verbals sound distinctly different from each other. I’ve seen people try to call their dog off a tunnel by desperately yelling “come!” But to a dog who has already locked his eyes onto a tunnel, “come-come-COME!” sounds exactly like “tun-tun-TUN!” If you’re verbal for A-frame is “up-up-Up!” you’re going to have a rough time when a tu-tu-tunnel is next to the A-frame. And don’t name your dog Tu-tu-tucker! LOL

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