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May 3, 2010

A while back, I asked my friend Jeff for his opinion on the suitability of practicing some very tight technical courses from a recent workshop. Being an experienced NADAC person, he provided a very enlightening contrast of what you focus on for training for success in NADAC style courses versus the very technical courses of some of the other venues.

Because his response so clearly pinpointed a handling concept that both helps build distance skills and the team spirit between dog and handler, I decided to share what he said. His principle, “the contract”, is what will be my training method going forward:

Those are AAC courses, aren’t they? I’d never train those if you want to build a dog’s confidence. Every one of them would have Mirha looking over the shoulder after every obstacle … if not while in mid-air.

The adage is rock solid true … train what you want. If you need lots of tight turns and twists – then that’s what you train and the dog will always run ‘collected’. If you need your dog to work with what I call “the contract”, then you can never use a correction in class and everything must be correct, meaning you’ve got a lot of handling drills ahead of you.

[The contract – Your dog has explicit permission to take the obstacle presented in front of them UNLESS you tell them otherwise.
UNLESS you tell them otherwise clearly (meaning the body and mouth must be in sync).
UNLESS you tell them otherwise clearly and in advance (so the dog doesn’t have to twist and ‘Pull YOUR fat out of the fryer’).]

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