Agility Discrimination Seminar with Debi Hutchinson

Today was the first of the 2 half day seminars our agility club sponsored taught by Debi Hutchinson. Debi is a well known agility handler, instructor and seminar presenter from Maryland. Today’s focus was discriminations. Zora and I participated in the afternoon advanced session which consisted of 3 different set ups

The majority of the seminar we worked on a set up that was 2 straight jumps into a discrimination composed up 2 side by side u shaped tunnels. Making 4 openings and you had to direct your dog into the correct opening.

My personal take always from this exercise with Zora were:

Use my lead out position to my best advantage in communicating the clearest line and path

Mark a couple of jump bars in 4ths and practice directional skills into this type of set up with me in various places working to be able to cue her what part of the bar to jump over making the next obstacle then clear. This is in prep for the idea that at some point a distance line may restrict my movement in some way

We then did a bit of work on a simple dog walk tunnel discrimination sequence. Zora and I have a rather solid clear communication system for such sequences so Debi gave us more to work by really having me practice my pace and speed at further lateral distance and to create the most efficient line and speed for Zora, which was helpful.

The final exercise of the afternoon was a sequence with a tunnel a frame discrimination in a sequence of jumps. Zora and I did it from 3 different handling positions: me lateral distance to the right layering the jumps, me to the left of the a frame/tunnel, and me in the middle. The lateral distance layering position was my most comfortable, but not as efficient a line and therefore speed, as when I was in the middle and Debi had me really pay attention to where Zora was when she was in the tunnel and timing my movement to coincide with Zora exiting the tunnel, which really tightened up her line very nicely. I shall have to remember that.

All in all an excellent seminar. Tomorrow afternoon we return for the advanced distance seminar.

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