Saturday afternoon I audited the Discrimination seminar. Debi started by saying she feels that discrimination is a combination of body language, pressure, and verbal cues. You need to teach your dog what an “Out + Tunnel” or a “Here + Dogwalk” physically looks like.
To start Debi had the handlers sit their dog in front of the jump facing the dogwalk/tunnel, the handlers stood on the other side of the jump. Debi asked the handlers to release their dogs and step into their space and turn toward the tunnel. The goal is to “bounce” the dog off the handler’s pressure as they lift and change the dog’s path-of-travel. (Sounds like herding talk, no?)
It was pretty amazing to watch. There were one or two dogs that were not at all affected by the pressure and would land very straight and then turn. The goal is to teach the dog when they see that body motion they shift out as they lift, then the obstacle name reinforces the correct choice.
Eventually Debi had a few of the teams try this from behind the tunnel. She said the further back you go, the longer you need to face forward. This is because your dog is supposed to turn when you turn – if you turn too soon you risk pulling them onto the dog walk.
Debi stressed watching the path you want your dog to take and not watching your dog. She said when you visually lock onto your dog you draw them to you.
When she had the handlers continue the course she used a lunge line to illustrate an interesting point. Essentially she talked about how you establish lateral distance with your dog fairly on in a course. By pulling in you can change your dog’s p-o-t and by pushing out you can push your dog out. She had Nancy (with AS Remy) play dog and hold the other end of the lunge line. Nancy was to hold the line taut. As Debi changed her p-o-t you could see her pull Nancy off the jump before the bi-directional tunnel. Very cool.
Debi had the teams work on getting the “out” tunnel on that end and the “in” tunnel. Then she worked a bit on having them start at the beginning and take the dogwalk over the tunnel. I must have been tired or zoning out because I don’t remember that-that clearly. I do recall that she said for her dogs their cue to take the dogwalk is they see her back. I believe that makes sense because her “line” would be continuing forward – the same path of travel as the dog walk.
This was the first time I had heard so much talk of “lines” and I must admit it made a lot of sense to me!