Layering Tips

“Layering is an advanced skill and can come in handy at trials providing you practice it often at home. At a trial in Columbia I had a nice opportunity to do the very exercise I set up this week for class, the judge tucked the jumps and tunnels in the corner of the ring, very difficult to run to the jumps with your dog, but alas, we had just started in Open and Ruger did not have the skill set to handle it, so I had to wedge myself between the tunnel and jumps and get Ruger where I needed him to be. I was not alone. But there were several folks who layered it, and it was beautiful!

Basically, layering is where you will have an obstacle between you and another obstacle or sequence of obstacles your dog must perform. You need speed/drive and distance control in order to master this skill.
When beginning to teach this skill its a good idea to back-chain the sequence your dog will be handling. Once your dog patterns the sequence, you can move yourself away from him and get in a nice layered run.

Below is a picture of a handler layered with a tunnel between her dog, “pushing out” her dog over a jump.”


~ Thanks to Linda Freed at for the above entry~

4 Comments on “Layering Tips

  1. Well, it really helped that Mulligan is fast and driven. When we were first training Mulligan any obstacle I then started teaching him small sends. When I could start sending him ten feet or more to an obstacle I would add a jump between us and the obstacle. At first the jump was perpendicular to the other obstacle, I hope this makes sense. So instead of a five foot bar between us it was just a few feet. It also helped take the layering obstacle out of play because it was turned. Then I slowly turned the jump so it was parrallel so you would have all five feet of the jump between you. You definitely need a strong push out. You should have a push trained before trying to do this or some dogs may melt. You want them to be successful. If my body language for a push is weak at this point Mulligan will take the obstacle closest to me. At this point we can layer jumps, tunnels, and DW. We are currently training sending to and layer the teeter. It seems like there are more and more teeters in the gambles. I think we really need a good independant teeter to be successful in USDAA.

    Layer also makes getting around the course so much easier. The dog goes and does his job so you can get to the next control point before your dog does. Some people can run their dogs from driving from behind and that is great. But for those of us who have dogs who will make their own courses up if they are not behind the hanlder layering is a great tool.

    • Well said Flying Bichon. Thanks for your detailed explanation, I’m sure our readers will enjoy hearing how you introduced Mulligan to layering concepts.

  2. Layering is a great tool if your dog is fast and you need to better position yourself down field. Even though Mulligan is a small dog he is very fast and driven and I need to use everything I can to get an advantage down field. Mulligan likes to chase the Mumma LOL!!

    • Hi Flying Bichon,

      I’m curious how you began doing it. Did it just come natural to you, or were you taught how to do it? Definitely faster dogs makes it more challenging, but faster is good! Keep up the good work with Mulligan, and always nice to hear from you.