What to call the obstacles

When you introduce your dog for the very first time to an obstacle, it is not necessary, or even recommended, to call it anything right at first.  If your dog is shy of going in the tunnel, for example, you don’t want him to associate the word “tunnel” with something he is afraid of.  But AS SOON as your dog successfully goes through the tunnel, you can greet him on the other end with treats and ecstatic praise “good tunnel!”.  From then on, it is important to use consistent words for each obstacle.  We suggest you print this list and highlight your choice of call words.  Pick ones that sort of come natural to you and your thinking, but are easy to say and won’t get confused by your dog with another obstacle or command he is used to.  Here are the most common suggestions:

  • Bar Jump:  Jump, Over, Up, Hup, get up
  • Tire Jump:  Tire, Hoop, Ring, Through
  • Other Jumps:   Usually same as for the regular jumps
  • Weave Poles:  Weave, Poles, snake, wiggle, zip-zag, in-out
  • Tunnel:  Tunnel, Through, Zoom
  • Closed Tunnel:  Chute, Tunnel, Zoom, push, through, gogogo
  • Pause Table:  Table, Up, box, get on, load-up, place, rest
  • Teeter Totter:  Teeter, See-saw, Tip-it
  • Dog Walk: Walk it, Plank, Dogwalk, walk on, climb
  • A-frame:  Scramble, Climb, Mountain, charge, Frame, Wall, chute..
  • Contact Zones:   Wait, Easy, Get it, bottom, spot, touch

DIFFERENT WORD FOR THE OPEN TUNNEL AND CLOSED TUNNEL?  There is some controversy whether you should have the same word, or a different word for these two obstacles.   From the front the opening looks the same to the dog.  But then again, so does the Teeter and the DogWalk, but we advise having a separate word for each of these so the dog can treat the Teeter with the caution it requires, pausing at the tip point.   The same argument can apply to the Open and Closed Tunnel.  Though they look the same from the front, the dog should treat each one differently.  The chute we want them to charge straight into, and straight through.  The tunnel they must discern a curve.  So they are different – as soon as they are entered into.  So in my opinion, a different word should be used.  However, some may disagree and that is okay too 🙂

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1 Comment on “What to call the obstacles

  1. A blog member (a trainer) recently asked me if she could print this out and give it to her agility class members, and give me credit. No problem! However, I have something done up ‘pretty’ in a Word format that you can print. In fact, I have more than one ‘hand-out’ you might like! Contact me (link is at top of this page) and I’ll email them to you. If you don’t get an email back from me that same day, give me a call. Don’t want spam filters coming inbetween our good relationship!