Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A stork, the threadle, and the pleasure zone

From the fantastic web universe, there have been some attempts to describe threadles:
Basically the handler pulls the dog through the gap instead of the dog following the natural path to take a jump. A traditional threadle is shown below. The threadle is between 6 and 7. As the dog commits to 6, she has three options. Go straight to the tunnel (Fin's preference), make a left turn to backside of 7, or come in between the jumps. The handler determines the dog path at take off.

Now, what does a stork and pleasure zone have to do with threadles?

Last night at class with Laura Derrett (as described quite well by Team Small Dog), the topic was threadles. I arrived, saw the set up, and knew. I hate threadles. I'm terrible at threadles, but after last night, I might have a new appreciation for the threadle. We ran a few courses and confused hysterics dominated our agility field.

We all were having trouble so as a class we started to come up with things to help us define what we were doing. The Stork Pose seemed to help everyone, but it got a little crazy after that.

First some definitions. These definitions are NOT the Derrett system definitions. These definitions are our classes interpretation and might get Laura in trouble if Greg ever reads this...so don't tell Greg.

  • Pleasure zone = reinforcement zone = where you reward your dog
  • The stork pose = plant outside leg, point with inside arm, causing your inside leg to lift in anticipation of stepping backward.

The key to the threadle seems to be timing and footwork.

  • As dog commits to the jump prior to the threadle,
  • handler moves to position (next to jump standard prior to take off for next jump),
  • handler plants outside leg,
  • lifts inside leg in anticipation of step,
  • points with inside arm, and
  • keeps outside arm out of the picture causing the dog to drive toward the pleasure zone, er, the reinforcement zone.
  • Once dog is committed to driving to the "pleasure zone"
  • continue the step with your inside leg,
  • step around with your outside leg,
  • drop your inside arm,
  • bring up your outside arm, and
  • get to the next position on course.

Simple. Yeah right.

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