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Drawing Line in Dog Agility!

PUPS Dog Training School wishes All a Healthy , Wealthy & Abundant New Year 2019!

If there is a World Sport for Dogs, Dog Agility will definitely emerge as the forerunner. No prize for the guess, Dog Agility is one of the greatest Dog Sport. So what is Dog Agility?

Dog Agility, PUPS Dog Training

Dog agility is a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off-leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles. Consequently, the handler's controls are limited to voice, movement, and various body signals, requiring exceptional training of the animal and coordination of the handler.

In its simplest form, an dog agility course consists of a set of standard obstacles laid out by a judge in a design of his or her own choosing in an area of a specified size. The surface may be of grass, dirt, rubber, or special matting. Depending on the type of competition, the obstacles may be marked with numbers indicating the order in which they must be completed. Courses are complicated enough that a dog could not complete them correctly without human direction. In competition, the handler must assess the course, decide on handling strategies, and direct the dog through the course, with precision and speed equally important. Many strategies exist to compensate for the inherent difference in human and dog speeds and the strengths and weaknesses of the various dogs and handlers.

Source: Wikipedia

Dog Agility, PUPS Dog Training

Dog Agility is a spectator sport where the dog & handler teams will race through a time-course. The Team with the shortest time & Zero and/or No fault, win the class! Agility is to demonstrate the speed, agileness, jumping, control & scalability of the dog & the unique bond created from the sport.

Today's focus is on one of the finest technique - LINE DRAWING in Dog Agility. I remember when we went to the United States of America in the Year 2005, THE DRAWING LINE technique is commonly seen in the Trainers, Handlers that handle Border Collies, it looks like 'Tai Chi' in Dog Agility. Top Handlers in the likes of Julie Daniels, Marcus Topps, Linda Mecklenburg, Stacey Peardot Goudy etc, some when ahead and created new handling techniques.

LINE Drawing is like drawing the line or path of the dog through the Dog Agility course. With continuous cues through the line, drawing ensure your dog understands the course clearly thus making it easier for your dog to follow your guide through the course.

The Benefits of Line Drawing;

Continuous cue

The Line Drawing as a continuous cue is so vital and necessary. Continuous Cue can be considered as a reinforcement that your dog can depend as it's constant and provide continuous information.

As you can see Dog Agility is a very fast-paced sport, and the Course is over within 28-38 seconds. You may not have the time to consider options, but by drawing the continuous line provide a timely information for our dog. When there are no ambiguous cues, your dog just needs to trust you and do just what they are learning for.

Form the basis of the path of the dog

The drawing of the line as your handling skill can be used to draw the path of your dog in the dog agility course. By connecting the running sequence numbering, you can determine the Path of the dog.

The Path of the dog can be used as the basis to remember your Dog Agility Course. First, you form the line around the course and you divide the course into 3 or 4 small segments to aid in your memory.

Provide natural handling options

By drawing the path of your dog, it will provide you with hints and options, how you handle this segment effectively. I personally find the Line Drawing take away my problem of thinking of the best options. But the path of the dog, give you the best option in the eyes of your dog.

As the rule of thumb, the first option that comes to your mind will always be the best and precise handling option. Go with your gut feeling and not your head.


Using the Line Drawing Handling System make you consistent in your handling system. If you do not know, dog thrives on consistency as they are the habitual animal.

Keep your guarding hand up and extended, gives your dog a clear signal or cue to follow. If your signal or cue is consistent, it avoids conflicting information, thus your dog gets a clear signal and does just what been told, and you are on the way to the podium.

With the wealth of information on the internet, you will be bombarded with some many handling systems. Choose the one that fit your beliefs and the option that you can uphold can maintain over a period of time.

My take is, whatever Dog Agility System you working with, train hard, keep it consistent, provide continuous cues and let your dog know his path, it will put you in the front feet on this Sport. Don't be too hard on yourself, "You are only human, He is only a dog"

As always, have fun & stay positive!

Dexter Sim, Dog Agility Instructor

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