“You’re Late!” Tips for improving your agility timing
I think everyone in agility has heard the phrase “You’re late!” For some of us, it becomes a phrase that get’s repeated over and over. I remember years ago joking that anyone could teach my agility class…they just had to repeat “you’re late” over and over again. Of course this is a massive exaggeration, but you get the point as to how often my students were hearing it!
So how do we stop ourselves from being so late with our cues? The issue in my opinion is that we are attempting to react to a very specific moment in time. Realistically if we are looking to be that accurate, there are going to be many times where we miss the mark.
Think of it this way…if we are playing darts and I give you the choice to either get points for hitting the bullseye, or points for just hitting the board, which one do you think will get you more points?
Exactly! Just hitting the board is much easier as it is not as specific of a target. The same goes for your agility timing. If you are trying to time your cue to the moment of commitment for the dog you are attempting to hit bullseyes! This makes it very easy to be late and the consequence of course is the dog dropping the bar, jumping an inefficient line, or even going off course!
So how do we adjust our timing to be less precise and therefore more effective?
Here are a few tips for making this adjustment:
- Start your cue when the dog reaches approximately the halfway point between the two obstacles instead of when your are sure the dog is going to take the jump
- Increase your forward motion cues: using more of a “send arm” will help your dog continue to drive to the correct obstacle even when you are turning earlier than usual
- Keep moving! Make sure that there are no sudden stops that will pull the dog off the obstacle that they should be taking
- Use a verbal “jump” cue or a verbal turning cue if you have one
- Continue to look at the jump your want your dog to take until you see “intent” (the dog looks at the correct obstacle)
By using these methods, you can give yourself more chances to be successful with your timing since you have a much larger area to be on time.
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