Hello and welcome to week one and two of Threadle Fun!
Threadles used to be one of my most hated handling moves, and now they are my favourite for sure. You will use a threadle when your dog is heading to an obstacle and you want to get them to the other side, but you are bringing them towards you. When working out if you need a threadle, you need to look at the dogs path and where they have landed, from the previous obstacle.
The neat thing about threadles taught this way, is that you can keep your motion the way you are going. No more turning around, stopping and waiting to get your dog before moving on to the next obstacle. We will teach the dogs that when they hear the verbal cue, and see the arm change they just know what you want. Come off the front of that obstacle towards you, and take the back of it.
So based on that, it's very important right from the start that you teach them you will be facing the way you are heading. I see far too many students turning to help their dogs. But in the long run, that only teaches the dogs that you will stop and turn for them in threadles. This will slow you down far too much. We need them to know the cue without that, so show them right from the start. If you need to help the dogs at all just lean out a bit with your arm to get their head and have patience to make sure they are committed to the other side, before moving off.
In the first half of the video I explain it all a bit more, with me demonstrating without the dog.
One Jump Basic Threadles
Now we get to start the basics on one jump, with the dogs. The second half of this video will start you off with the basics of all threadles. Watch the video carefully, paying close attention to how to reward the first three goes. If you need to lure with a toy or food these first times, that's fine. Just make sure to fade it quickly.
You should watch the video a couple of times, before trying anything with your dog. If you find it difficult to coordinate body position, placement of rewards and saying your cue all at the same time, you should definitely practice these without your dog.
In this video, pay particular attention to :-
1. Reward before the jump only a few times. After that ALL rewards come after dog is taking the jump. Pay attention to which arm to use for this.
2. Feet should always be facing where you are heading, once you get past the intial reward stages.
3. Do not use an arm signal to get the dog to take the jump. Just move towards the jump once you have them around the back and wait for them to offer it, then reward straight after.
I know a few of you, already have some experience with threadles, so with this one jump exercise you should be adding more arousal and speed in to the one jump. I show this a little bit with Kwyk at the end of the video but you can add a lot more to it and really test that. Don't be scared to fail, as it's all a part of the process. Make sure you are running in to it more, and starting with yourself on the approach side of the jump. If they are great at that, you can try doing them out of a tunnel or wrapping them around a cone or similar. If wrapping them around a cone, make sure that you send them on a post turn so that they are heading directly at the jump, out of the wrap.
You will also want to start pushing leaving while they take the jump a bit more. You can see I try to do that with Kwyk and she comes with me. Kwyk has been on a long break from agility, so she is about middle of the road with her threadle understanding now. It's why I used her for the early bits :) But it's good, as it shows you what to do when they pull off. Eventually, you want to be able to give that threadle cue and keep moving wherever you are going next.
Another finer point to consider, is to mix up whether you reward them for turning tight out of the threadle or in extension. If you only do it tight, then the dogs will learn to land tight out of them and sometimes you don't want that.
For those new to these, then the above steps are where you want to head over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully by the end of the fortnight, you will all be doing them with speed and arousal :)
Have fun and looking forward to seeing all of your videos!