The Big Arch

This exercise is an ideal “starting point” in Whisker Drills – allowing the dog to first run “with” you and then on later attempts in the future, start running with more distance from you.  Gradually increasing the space between you and your dog is the way to increase the dog’s confidence and independence.  Remember – this is a learning process for both you and your dog.  Not a pass / fail exam, but more of a warm-up exercise for working together!

It is important to NOT direct the dog’s attention to the whiskers.  The whiskers are targets for YOU … not for the dog.  The dog should simply be following the path you are drawing.  If possible, a spray paint or stick-on dot would be better as it is far more subtle and the dog is less likely to focus on it.

Your goal throughout these exercises is for the cleanest and tightest lines around the course.  Clean lines come from steady and clear handler path … tight wraps or turns are the result of excellent timing.  The wider the dog goes around a dot or whisker, the later you are … if the dog “short-cuts” a point, then you cued too soon or didn’t supply enough support.

This map is based on having 50 ft x 50 ft available to put down the whiskers.  The resulting path will have an efficient dog passing a whisker  about every 21 feet.  If you have a smaller space, you can place the whiskers closer together, it will simply mean less time between whiskers.

The “Tight” wrap on a whisker can be done on any whisker and should be changed up frequently so your dog doesn’t get ‘patterned’ in to knowing when the turn will come.  So one session you go to the 3rd whisker, the next you go to the 5th, some time you do the wrap on 2 or 4.  Just work for balance and keep an eye on your timing so your dog doesn’t “slam” the turn or loop way wide.

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