The game of dog agility is all about pressure, applying pressure to increase distance or to create a turn, or relieving pressure to bring the dog into to you.
In my TEAM Training system I talk a lot about pressure and how to teach your dog how to read the various kinds of pressure, in daily life and in agility.
When I apply pressure on the agility course I am increasing the distance between me and the dog or preparing for a turn away from me. Applying pressure means I would be moving towards my dog, whether that is 3 steps toward the dog or just 1 depending on the situation.
When I relieve pressure I am bringing the dog in towards me, directing them to the inside obstacle of a discrimination or bringing them in for a turn.
When I walk a course I look at all the pressure points of the course, where do I need to apply pressure to create an efficient turn? Where do I need to relieve pressure to bring the dog into a closer line?
By breaking the course up into pressure points it makes it easier for me to see my key handling positions, the best positions to apply or relieve the pressure.
I will be going deeper into this subject in later blog posts, but the diagram below shows some examples of various pressure points in a sequence.
Also below is a Youtube clip from my TEAM Training Overview series that talks a little bit about how to use Space Games to teach dogs to respond to pressure.
Amanda Nelson is well known for her distance handling skills, and she has been traveling the country and teaching seminars for 20+ years. She has traveled around the world to Australia, Japan, Netherlands, England, Switzerland and the Philippines teaching all levels of agility, with nearly all dog breeds. Amanda focuses on teaching teamwork as well as how to create a strong connection between dog and handler. She works with all styles of handling, from running with your dog to distance handling. Amanda tailors each training session, large or small, to the dog and handler to help bring out the best in the team. Her training techniques consist of a large amounts of targeting, food rewards, and toy rewards. Creating a fun learning environment for the dog encourages a fast, fun, and motivated dog in the agility ring. Amanda uses a combination of Upper Body Cues, Lower Body Cues, and Verbal Cues. This system was derived from the natural cues that most dogs read and pick up quickly. Handlers are taught how to use all of these cues, together, to create a customized handling system that can be tailored to their unique dog. All of these techniques have resulted in Amanda earning numerous titles with her dogs including the MOD SQUAD award, Purple Achievement Cup, and over 40 NADAC Championship titles. She has won the NADAC Championships multiple times, including winning the Super Stakes and Starter Stakes division. She has also been Top Bonus Dog, Top Purple Dog, and Top Dog of the Year several times in NADAC.
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