With the standard of the sport constantly improving, it is no secret that agility course are undoubtedly getting harder, and offering more and more challenges for both dog and handler.
In this DVD, Silvia Trkman , the three times world champion, shows us how to get to grips with extreme challenges such as; verbal discrimination, come to hand, threadles, pushes, obstacles discrimination, tunnel traps and weaves. Focusing on those who want to compete at a higher level, or slower handlers that need to increase their dog’s independence, this DVD will equip you with the skills to successfully negotiate any issues you may find on course.
Trkman begins by comparing championship courses from 2003 and 2015, commenting on how much the difficulty has increased. The idea of the Xtreme Skills taught in this DVD are to help you successfully tackle these more challenging courses, by teaching your dog independence and the ability to work away from you.
We start with verbal discrimination. Trkman uses the Cik and Cap exercise (her method of teaching wing wraps) to show us to teach the dogs to recognise and respond to different verbal cues. She initially helps the dog by prompting them with handler cues and treat placement, before gradually fading these and testing understanding by varying handler position. She then progresses to a full height jump, adding in other obstacles as distractions, replacing treats with a toy and adding in a ‘Go On’ cue. Finally she demonstrates a new cue she has recently begun teaching called ‘In In’ giving us some real life examples of when to use this.
Trkman moves on to the Come to Hand cue. This essentially involves getting the dogs attention on course, which allows the handler to redirect or call them off another obstacle. She advises not to start too much work on this until the dogs forward focus is well established as beginner dogs tend to fall into the habit of watching the handler too much. After showing us how to teach this, she provides 10 different variations over two exercises of where we can practising applying this cue. Trkman herself uses the dog’s name as her come to hand cue, but explains why it can be sometimes be better to use another word all together. She then shows us where on course this comes in handy, explaining that it is most important in scenarios where you cannot support the dog with body language because of another obstacle in the way.
We then look at threadles, otherwise known as pull ins. Trkman shows us the different obstacles, angles and approaches to threadles, before showing us how to teach a basic one. She then considers threadle variations, as well as showing us how to apply the ‘In In’ cue, as taught above. We are also shown how to recognise when to use a threadle or a come to hand cue.
Trkman next looks at pushes, showing us how to add in blind crosses, as well as increasing the dog’s independence. She also shows us how to make it more difficult by changing the position of the jump, as well as increasing your distance back away from the dog.
We move on to obstacle discrimination. Trkman stresses that she tries to add this into training from day one when teaching the foundations, so that the dog sees it more as multitasking rather than a specific skill alone to learn. However, if your dog is not familiar with this already, she shows us how she would begin to teach it.
The next skill we focus on is tunnel traps. Trkman again reiterates the importance of training in a sea of obstacles, allowing the dog to be constantly working and improving on obstacle discrimination, which in term allows you to focus on handling. She shows us an exercises with 6 different tunnel entries, and how to negotiate it, also adding that it is a great way to practise switching between handler and obstacle focus.
Finally, we look at weave entries, Trkman explains that the Fun, Fast and Fabulous Weaves DVD covers this in more detail, but she provides us with a checklist of proofing exercises, and explains why she opts for the channel method.
Also included is a link to a PDF download which includes 10 pages of course maps and exercises.
Running Time- 50 minutes