In order for your dog to really understand your handling cues, they must be consistent. Each time you use a particular cue it should look and mean the same thing to your dog. Furthermore, each cue needs to have a very specific and different meaning from the other cues. Example: running forward means extension to your dog. That means you can not and should not stand still and expect your dog to continue moving forward. Your standing still as a cue, conflicts with having your dog move forward. So what are your handling and turning cues for each of the following?
Keep in mind the following:
Where are you positioned?
What lets your dog know that a turn is coming?
How are you moving?
Where are you looking?
When you are cueing, where is your dog’s commitment point to an obstacle?
Analyze each handling cue –
In addition how do you handle the following typical sequences?
270 and 180s
Tunnel opening (closest to you)
Where are your positioned?
When is your dog’s commitment point?
When do you feel it is safe to trust your dog so you can move to your next location?
Video yourself doing the above crosses and sequences. Compare what you wrote down to what you actually did in the the video.
Are they they same?
Are they different?
If they are different in what way are they different? Were your cues consistent, late, early, or at the appropriate time. Comparing specific cues and handling during course runs is another great way to see if you are maintaining a consistent set of handling cues. Remember that each cue should have a different and specific meaning so that your dog can pick up and read the cue quickly and confidently.