Week 2 of the Agility Course

Navigating Turns

Agility obstacles can be 5 to 10 metres apart, so, it’s powerful to be able to get in a central position and handle from a distance; therefore we will teach your dog navigate a circle remotely like a satellite by gradually adding distance between you and your dog and how to go left or right on cue (because steering is certainly needed with dogs as fast as ours!). Where in week 1, your dog could see all the way through a straight tunnel, this week we progressively curve it, building your dog’s confidence to run through on command, despite not being able to see the exit. We conclude by bringing the skills together as a group by running a short sequence.

How week 2’s session works:

Fan work is where four jumps are arranged in a circle. The handler stands in the centre and with the arm closest to the dog out and guide the dog around the fan. This exercise teaches the dogs to follow an outstretched arm, circling loosely left or right. You can see Yogi learning the foundations of ‘fan work’ in the short clip below 👇

 A video of a blue herder doing fan work task 1

According to Kennel Club Agility Rules obstacles are 5-10m apart; this means that on a course the fan can be quite a large circle that can require advanced handling and skill. We break this skill down into smaller steps to set the dogs up to succeed. Helping them rehearse success means they're more likely to succeed as we advance the difficulty of the exercises. In dog training, there's a principle called “The 3-D’s” which means we can progress exercises by changing distance, duration, and distraction

  1. Just jump wings arranged in a small circle, no poles.
  2. Gradually increase the size of the circle (distance).
  3. Add poles to make jumps part of the sequence (distraction).

    How to practice dog agility at home: 

    You can build on the fan work foundations at home. Where in class we use jumps and wings, you can use almost anything! For example, posts in the ground, 4 chairs etc using the 4-stage process outlined in the picture below:

    Lure. Fade lure. Add cue (“left or right”). Add distance (Up to 5-10m)

     4 step process of teaching fan work

    TIP: if using posts, angle the poles inwards towards you, this will encourage the dog to go around the outside as it will be difficult for them to duck underneath to take the inside line! 

    Join the Pack: 

    If you haven’t already, you might like to join our other training members in the Private Facebook Group for Anglian Dog Works. 

    Along with general updates, I will also be using this group to share any photos taken during sessions and would love for you to share your success in the form of stories, photos and videos too. Posts are only visible to other members of the group (The Training Team & I love to see them too!).


    Bonus material: 

    One of the core skills we teach in this lesson is teaching arm out = stay out as an Agility handling move.

    Members can check a bonus visual inside the private Facebook group HERE

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    About the author: Hi 👋 I’m Emma, accredited as a professional dog trainer by the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT). I help owners of energetic dogs achieve the dog-owning life they envisioned by providing robust obedience & agility training for dogs across my two venues in Balsham and Barton, near Cambridge.

    Disclaimer: The content of this article does not include personalised advice and is for information purposes only. If you need individual advice or other enquiries please click here to get in contact or if you're not local to Anglian Dog Works, you can find a trainer in your area by going to the IMDT website: https://www.imdt.uk.com/find-a-qualified-imdt-trainer